In­ex­pe­ri­enced Malaysia against Asia’s best

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MALAYSIA will take on the best in Asia to vie for one of three places in the beach soc­cer World Cup in the Ba­hamas, next month.

It will be a daunt­ing task for Malaysia as they bat­tle 11 other teams in the AFC Beach Soc­cer Cham­pi­onship 2017 at the Batu Burok beach in Kuala Tereng­ganu, from today.

Malaysia are drawn in Group A with favourites Iran, Bahrain, China and Afghanistan, against who they open their cam­paign today.

Oman, Le­banon and Thai­land make up Group B, af­ter Uzbek­istan pulled out.

Group C has an­other hot favourite Ja­pan, the United Arab Emi­rates, Iraq and Qatar.

The beach soc­cer World Cup will be played among 16 teams at the Ba­hamas cap­i­tal Nas­sau on April 27-May 7.

The AFC tour­na­ment is the Asian qual­i­fier for the World Cup.

Malaysian coach Is­mail Zakaria was mod­est of the team’s chances.

“We are rel­a­tively in­ex­pe­ri­enced and view our group matches as a great op­por­tu­nity to gain ex­po­sure.

“There is a lot of de­vel­op­ment needed for the team, as could be seen from the se­ries of friendlies we had with Ja­pan and Thai­land,” he said.

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