Loads of self-belief, and not too much respect for UAE, says Afandi


THE Harimau Malaya squad may be up against a current Asian giant in their 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil today, but that is no excuse to troop into the pitch feeling inferior.

Former national player Afandi Yusof said the national players, for 90 minutes, must set aside world rankings and previous results when they play the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today.

“If ranking was a factor, Malaysia, being ranked 159th, and so far behind 65th-ranked UAE, should already concede defeat. But, that’s the thing with rankings…we should not read into them too much.

“The players must believe in their abilities and use their abilities to hunt for a historic win tomorrow night,” he said when contacted by Bernama in Kota Baru yesterday.

Afandi believes national head coach Tan Cheng Hoe has already cooked up his own tactical plans for the game.

“All coaches will have their own tactical plan, but how well they are executed will depend on the players.

“Our boys, from what I have observed, have self-belief, like how they demonstrated in the game against Indonesia at their own den last week…and that is why our players must not show too much respect against UAE tomorrow,” he said.

Afandi, who donned national colours in the 1970s, said players such as Brendan Gan, Matthew Davies and Mohamadou Sumareh must be used in the best possible way for the game.

“Their presence brings balance to the team, and my hope is that our players have the lion’s share of possession tomorrow to create more attacking opportunities,” he added.