Malaysia football team head coach Dollah Salleh (right) with new team manager Datuk Sudarsono Osman after a press conference at Wisma FAM on Wednesday. - MOHD SYAFIQ IKHWAN/ The Star
PETALING JAYA: The national team have a tall order to fill at the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.
Newly-appointed head coach Dollah Salleh has been set a target to reach the final of the regional tournament, which is co-hosted by Singapore and Vietnam from Nov 22-Dec 20.
Team manager Datuk Sudarsono Osman said the target was set by Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
“The expectations are high, but I love challenges. Some people thrive on challenges because they are passionate about the game. Let’s be realistic. We are not the best team in this region, but rest assured we’ll do our best to meet the target,” said Sudarsono on Wednesday.
Malaysia last won the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2010. Then, Datuk K. Rajagopal was the coach. In the 2010 edition, Malaysia crashed out of the semi-finals.
For Dollah, he will be racing against time to come up with a decent team.
“It’s the fasting month now and then we have the Malaysia Cup next month. On top of that, the back-up squad’s Harimau Muda A will be involved in the Asian Games in September.
“I have only a short period to work with the players before the Suzuki Cup. It takes time for the players to gel as a team. But I am determined not to let down the faith the FAM have in me,” said Dollah, whose first assignment is a friendly against Tajikistan on Aug 8.
Besides Tajikistan, Malaysia will also play friendlies against Jordan (Oct 11) and Singapore (Sept 8).