Hodak relatively pleased to have avoided Japan and Korea

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Bojan Hodak, Malaysia U19
The Malaysia U19 head coach considers his side the underdogs for the upcoming AFC U19 Championship in October and will be looking to create surprises.

Malaysia were drawn together with China, Saudi Arabia and Tajikistan in Group D of the AFC U19 Championshp that will be held in Indonesia later this year.

Three national training camps are expected to be held from now until then and the first one is already on-going with a batch of 27 players reporting for duty on Sunday.

With the fasting month in full effect, head coach Bojan Hodak will have to spend time adapting the players to a new time routine before flying off for a set of friendly matches in Thailand.

"On one side, I'm happy I didn't get Japan or (South) Korea. Teams that I think are the best in Asia. But then again we will have difficulties with Saudi (Arabia) who are also one of the top teams. There are no teams that are bad. Maybe one or two teams from Pot 4 but we couldn't get them because we are in there as well."

"The preparations is to peak during AFC. Even now I have problem because I don't have full squad for AFF. In October, I will have everybody. Overall we will have three camps until then, and hopefully we will be fully prepared," said Hodak before the first training session.

In Thailand, Malaysia will play against their Thai counterpart before going up against Chonburi FC B team and finishing up the tour with a yet to be confirmed team from the Thai third division.

Hodak also revealed that there are 6-7 new faces in the team this time around due to the Super League and Premier League matches that continues to be played during this fasting month.

The players that are called up to the squad this time around are those that are not involved with their respective teams in the league and the tour is meant to be used to gauge alternative players as well as to keep their fitness up to mark.

"This will help with weather but some of the team will get there earlier. Some even asked to play matches here. So we will see. It's all top teams. We are underdogs and we won't be under pressure. Hopefully we can give them a tough time," explained Hodak on the advantages of familiar surroundings in Indonesia helping the Malaysian team.

The last time Malaysia participated in the finals of the AFC U19 Championship was back in 2006 when India was the host. Then Malaysia finished last in the group stage after losing all three matches to Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. 

Hodak and his players will have the first chance to familiarise themselves with the conditions in Indonesia as the country will also be hosting the AFF U19 Championship in July.