Matches against PJ City FC and Selangor II will be used as first yardsticks to measure the readiness of the Malaysia Under-19 squad.
No messing around, that’s the big message from Brad Maloney to his players as they prepare for the first friendly match after five weeks worth of training in July and August. And to properly measure his players, Maloney will not be pitting his players against those from the same age-groups.
PJ City FC (Aug 12) and Selangor II (Aug 19) have been selected as the opponents, two teams who play their competitive football in the Super League and Premier League respectively. Teams with not only players who are considerably older and more experienced but as well complete with foreign players.
A difficult task for these youngsters considering this will be their first proper match in any shape or form since March, prior to the Movement Control Order (MCO) enforced by the Malaysian government because of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Maloney is definitely throwing the gauntlet at his players to prove their worth.
“We wanted tough opponents and both PJ City and Selangor II are very good teams with senior players, so that will be a good test for our boys to see what level we’re at. It’s always in the back of your mind (possibility of injuries against older and more experienced opponents), but if you afraid of going onto the pitch to play football, something is not right either.
“What we’re really looking at is to get our players their first test and see how long they can last. It’ll be good to see how they can gel and see some combination play amongst the team, see what information they have been able to absord in these last two call-ups and put that into play out there on the pitch.
“So it will be a good test for us. It might be physically challenging but I think for what we’re aiming for, it’s not a bad thing at the moment,” said Maloney before Tuesday’s training session.