Bern­hardt to name Sea Games squad af­ter warm-up tour­na­ments

New Straits Times - - Sport -

THE Un­der-23 Dubai Cup (March 20-28) and AFC Un­der-23 qual­i­fiers (July 15-23) will give na­tional youth coach Frank Bern­hardt an in­di­ca­tion of his team’s chances in the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games.

Both tour­na­ments will be used as warm-ups be­fore Bern­hardt, who was ap­pointed on Dec 9, 2015, se­lects his team for the Sea Games, where the tar­get is to re­gain the ti­tle last won in 2011 in Jakarta.

Since his ap­point­ment, the Ger­man has not been able to gather his trainees reg­u­larly due to the hec­tic do­mes­tic sched­ule.

His pro­posal to have his reg­u­lars full-time from May on­wards will only be de­cided af­ter the FA of Malaysia (FAM) elec­tion on March 25.

Yes­ter­day, his trainees gath­ered for the first time since early last month to pre­pare for the Dubai Cup.

“The Dubai Cup is very im­por­tant to the team’s prepa­ra­tion for the Sea Games. In or­der to get bet­ter, play­ers need to get used to the in­ten­sity of play­ing in tour­na­ments,” said Bern­hardt af­ter con­duct­ing train­ing in Bukit Jalil yes­ter­day.

“We will be play­ing against really strong teams from the Mid­dle East and China and these matches will be a good test for my play­ers.

“It is an op­por­tu­nity for me to gauge the strength of the play­ers and the team. I want to see how my play­ers deal with pres­sure sit­u­a­tions against top teams,”

Malaysia are in Group B, where they will open against China on March 20, fol­lowed by Saudi Ara­bia (March 23) and Jor­dan (March 26) with the clas­si­fi­ca­tion matches sched­uled on March 28.

“We want to win some matches in Dubai. In foot­ball, we play to win and if we head for an event with no goals then it is bet­ter not to go.

“As for the Sea Games, we will see how the team fare in the Dubai Cup and the AFC Qual­i­fiers be­fore I make an assess­ment,” said Bern­hardt.

Bern­hardt dis­closed that Kedah’s Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik, Pe­nang’s S. Ku­maahran and Ke­lan­tan’s Shahrul Hakim Rahim are doubt­ful for the Dubai Cup.

“Amirul re­ported in­jured and he is def­i­nitely not go­ing. Ku­maahran and Shahrul are not 100 per cent. With in­juries at the mo­ment, we will see how it goes be­fore we leave for Dubai on March 18,” Bern­hardt added.

Se­lan­gor’s Pres­i­dent Cup goal­keeper Damien Lim has also been called up to re­place the in­jured Ameirul Hakimi Awang of Tereng­ganu.

The coach will drop seven play­ers from his 30-mem­ber squad for the Dubai Cup.


Na­tional play­ers train at Wisma FAM in Ke­lana Jaya yes­ter­day.

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