Bernhardt sets semi-final target in AFF U-19 meet


New national Under-22 team coach Frank Bernhardt (first from left)at the team selection at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya on January 4, 2016. ROHAIZAT MD DARUS/STAR.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia have set themselves a modest target for the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-19 Championship in Hanoi, Vietnam, next month.

German coach Frank Bernhardt has only set a semi-final target for the team, comprising players from the President’s Cup (Under-21) and Youth Cup (Under-19) squads.

“I have about six or seven players from the national Under-22 squad (2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games trainees) and they will play key roles in the team’s progress in the competition,” said Bernhardt.

Among the notable names – who feature in the Super League – are Muhd Jafri Firdaus Chew (Pen); M. Kogileswaran Raj, R. Dinseh (Pah); Dominic Tan Jun Jin (JDT); Muhd Haziq Nadzli, Muhd Haziq Nadzli (Police); and Muhd Safawi Rasid (T’ganu FC II).

Bernhardt has only three days to prepare the team for the tournament, scheduled from Sept 11-24. The team will report for duty at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya on Sept 6 and leave for Hanoi on Sept 9.

Malaysia are in Group A with hosts Vietnam, Timor Leste, Singapore and the Philippines. Group B comprises defending champions Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Australia, Cambodia and Indonesia.

Malaysia will open their campaign against the Philippines on Sept 13, followed by matches against Singapore (Sept 15), Timor Leste (Sept 17 and Vietnam (Sept 19).

Last year, Malaysia crashed out in the semi-finals after losing 5-0 to Thailand.

THE MALAYSIA SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Damien Lim Chien Khai (Sel); Muhd Hazrul Hafiz Zulkifly (Pen); Muhd Haziq Nadzli (Pol).
Defenders: R. Dinesh (Pah); Dominic Tan Jun Jin (JDT); Mohd Hariz Kamarudin (JDT II); Mohd Ramadhan Jalil (Kul); C. Suwarnaraj (Prk); Muhd Danish Haziq Saipul Hisham (Nse); Muhd Al Mustaqim Rizuan (Mal).
Midfielders: M. Kogileswaran Raj, Nik Muhd Sharif Haseefy, Mohd Faisal Abdul Halim, Muhd Shah Amirul Zamri (Pah); Muhd Syahmi Safari, Muhd Rizalul Azuwan Supandri (Sel); Muhd Hafiy Haikal Ismail (JDT II); Mohd Zarulizwan Mazlan (T’ganu FC II); Muhd Amir Safuan Zubir (Prk).
Strikers: Mohd Syamer Kutty Abba, Muhd Jafri Firdaus Chew (Pen); Muhd Safawi Rasid (T’ganu FC II); Muhd Danial Ashraf Abdullah (Kel).

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