AFF CUP: Keep cool, stay disciplined against Indonesia – Coach

Khairulazhan Khalid, Faisal Halim and Quentin Cheng are back with the Harimau Malaya team. FAM FB photo.
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KUALA LUMPUR – Harimau Malaya head coach Tan Cheng Hoe wants his men to keep cool and stay disciplined when they take on arch-rivals Indonesia in their final Group B tie of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup in Singapore this Sunday (Dec 19).

The coach, who is expecting an explosive affair, advised his players to keep a cool head during tense moments and not to react to provocations by the opponents or when dealing with the referee.

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“Every time the referee blows for a foul against you, you will be upset and start arguing with him. Sometimes, you will lose concentration and the worst part is you might get sent off (for dissent).

“I always tell my players that I don’t like to see them arguing with referee or an opponent. Whatever it is, just focus on our own game and try to play entertaining football,” he told a virtual press conference today.

The 53-year-old also warned his men to tread with caution as the Indonesian team have players with great pace, before reiterating the need for the Harimau Malaysia players to focus on transition play if they are to stand a chance of overcoming the Garuda team coached by South Korean Shin Tae-yong.

Cheng Hoe, the former Kedah coach, hopes that his team can rediscover their attacking intent, as was evident in the 3-1 win over Cambodia and 4-0 triumph over Laos, and to make every chance count.

“If we look at their first two matches, Indonesia definitely have certain strengths but we will be able to further assess their capabilities when they play Vietnam (later) today,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cheng Hoe confirmed that three players – goalkeeper Muhammad Khairulazhan Mohd Khalid, winger Muhammad Faisal Abdul Halim and defender Quentin Cheng – will resume training today.

The trio, who were among the four players who tested positive for COVID-19, have been given the nod to rejoin training ahead of the team’s final Group B match this Sunday after receiving their release letters from the Singapore Ministry of Health yesterday.

The fourth player, Muhammad Akhyar Abdul Rashid, has yet to complete the 10-day isolation order.

Malaysia lost their third group match when they went down 3-0 to defending champions Vietnam on Sunday (Dec 12).

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