Frenz United Malaysia team captain Adam Zairi Fitri Zaini (right), Harimau Muda U-16 captain, Muhammad Shahrul Akmal Adnan (centre) dan PVF Vietnam skipper, Le Van Diep pose with the Asian Champions Trophy at a press conference in KL on Tuesday. - BERNAMA
PETALING JAYA: Harimau Muda Under-16 coach S. Balachandran is confident his experienced players will clinch their ticket to the Asia Champions Trophy 2014 final.
Harimau Muda Under-16 will host title-holders Chonburi FC of Thailand at the Frenz Stadium, Janda Baik in the first-leg semi-finals on Saturday. In the other match-up, Frenz United Malaysia will travel to Ho Chi Minh City to play against tournament favourites PVF Vietnam on Sunday.
Balachandran said his players know what they are up against and have proved themselves so far in the tournament.
“We have trained the same boys for quite some time now and they have grown tremendously as an individual and a player.
“They have played in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Youth Championships last year so the experience is there for us,” he said.
“We will have to improve on our teamwork and increase our attacking flow.”
Balachandran added this tournament will serve as a platform for the Malaysians ahead of their AFC Under-16 Championship campaign in Bangkok on Sept 6 and their target of qualifying for the Under-17 World Cup in Chile next year.
Meanwhile, Frenz United Malaysia’s team manager Ahmad Fairuz is proud his boys have made it this far in the competition.
“We have worked hard and our players gave their best in every game. We definitely deserve to be in the last four and we look forward to book our spot in the final,” he said.
Fairuz believes his team have the upper hand against the Vietnamese.
“Our Under-17 boys had been to Vietnam and we know their strength and weaknesses.”
The Black Dragons will play Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) FC Under-19 squad today to prepare for Sunday’s clash.