SINGAPORE, Nov 24 (Bernama) — Harimau Malaya (national squad) coach, Dollah Salleh believes the team can beat Thailand in the second match of Group B of the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup Championship at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday.
The Melaka-born coach admitted that Thailand, coached by their former international, Kiatisuk Senamuang, would not be easy to beat based on their fast game in defeating Singapore 2-1 in the opening match of Group B at the National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub yesterday.
“Thailand can be said to be a choice team in the group and I notice their performance was more orderly at midfield and attack but their defence was quite wobbly when facing Singapore,” Dollah told reporters after the squad’s training session at the Serangoon Stadium, here, today.
He, however, stressed that he had yet to decide on the first 11 against Thailand because several players had picked up yellow cards other than having to forget the service of midfielder Gary Steven Robbat, who is on a one-match suspension.
Gary, who is a national Harimau Muda A (Under-23 squad) player, collected the red card during the Malaysia-Myanmar match at the Jalan Besar Stadium Sunday which ended in a scoreless draw.
“I have my plans too but I have to discuss first with the coaches before deciding on the first eleven. We have to tweak all areas, but God willing, I am quite satisfied with the defence and midfield, which still needs sprucing up further though,” said Dollah.
In the meantime, Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said the morale of the players to face Thailand was very high although the national squad only reaped one point against Myanmar yesterday.
However, he was confident the Harimau Malaya would rise to beat Thailand if the players fully focused.
Malaysia must record a win against Thailand, and beat Singapore in the final group match to advance to the semi-final.
Based on the format of the championship, the two best teams from Group A and B qualify for the semi-final. Vietnam is hosting Group A action which also involves Indonesia, Philippines and Laos.