Thursday, 30 January 2014 | MYT 8:08 PM
Road to Chile begins for Balachandran's boys
A file picture of national Under-16 coach S. Balachandaran (left) with the FAM secretary general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin (centre) and team manager of the national Under-16 team Datuk Junid Mohd Noor. The Under-16 boys will play in the Mintal Cup in Slovakia and the Asian Champions Trophy before participating in the Asian Final in Bangkok from Sept 6-20, 2014.
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will leave no stone unturned as they seek to qualify for the Under-17 World Cup in Chile next year.
The national Under-16 boys, training under coach S. Balachandran, will play in a series of international competitions prior to the Asian Finals in Bangkok from Sept 6-20.
Balachandran said that work to prepare the team has begun and “our aim is to win a ticket to the Under-17 World Cup by finishing as one of the top four teams”.
“We have to believe in ourselves ... with the right kind of preparations, we should realise our goals,” said Balachandran yesterday.
Since Malaysia won the ticket to the Asian Finals last September – including beating South Korea 2-0 en route to topping the qualifiers – the squad have played in the Frenz International Cup (FIC), hosted by Malaysia, and are currently playing in the President’s Cup (Under-21) tournament.
In the President’s Cup, the Under-16 boys won their opening group match against Penang 1-0 but lost the following game to Pahang 3-0. The President’s Cup competition ends on April 24.
“I’m satisfied with the team’s progress. We have a couple of international assignments lined up, including playing in the Mintal Cup in Slovakia and the Asian Champions Trophy, which will be played on a home-and-away basis,” said Balachandran.
The Mintal Cup is scheduled for June while the Asian Champions Trophy, organised by Frenz United, will be held from May to August.
The boys’ final tune-up is in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-16 tournament in Solo. The AFF competition, scheduled from Aug 9-15, will also involve Australia, Thailand and host Indonesia.