Thursday, 7 August 2014 | MYT 5:32 PM
Dollah to rely on regulars against Tajikistan
Dollah Salleh only spent five days to prepare Harimau Malaya for the assignment against the 127th world-ranked Tajikistan. — Bernama
PETALING JAYA: National coach Dollah Salleh will be fielding an experienced side in the friendly against Tajikistan in Dushanbe on Friday night.
It is Dollah’s first match in charge since being appointed to the hot-seat last month. He only spent five days to prepare the team for the assignment against the 127th world-ranked Tajikistan.
The 50-year-old coach is banking on regulars – skipper Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak, Safiq Rahim, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Mohd Amri Yahyah and Mohd Safee Sali – to rise to the occasion.
“We had a short time to prepare for this match, so I have to bank on the experienced players to get a result,” said Dollah, who arrived with the team in Dushanbe on Tuesday.
“I’m still undecided on the other starters. But everyone has been working hard in training and that’s a good sign for the team,” he added.
Malaysia, who are ranked at 151st in the world, will be the underdogs, but the Persian Lions’ recent dip of form has given the Harimau Malaya a glimmer of hope for an upset.
Tajikistan, who failed to qualify for the AFC Challenge Cup for the first time this year, were beaten 2-1 by Estonia in a friendly in June.
In contrast, Malaysia have been unbeaten in their last three matches. Under interim coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee in March, Malaysia held the Philippines to goalless draws in two friendlies and beaten Yemen 2-1 in the Asian Cup qualifier.
“We will be playing on an artificial pitch and under the hot summer sun. I hope the players can adapt to the conditions here fast,” said Dollah. “It will be a hard game. We want a positive result,” he added.