KELANA JAYA: The National Under-22 squad need to play more matches if they hope to win the football gold medal at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games next year.
Head coach Frank Bernhardt’s side have only had three centralised training and seven friendlies so far this year.
That, he said, is not ideal for a team preparing for the KL SEA Games, to be held from on Aug 19-31 next year.
“We can’t continue playing only during the FIFA international breaks,” said the 47-year-old coach at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya.
“Next year, we will only get two slots for friendlies, and the third slot is during the Ramadan month (in June) ... then it’s the SEA Games after that.
“This kind of preparation is not good enough to win the SEA Games gold medal ... we need to play more matches outside the FIFA calendar.”
Bernhardt was speaking to reporters ahead of his side’s two friendlies against Bahrain at the Shah Alam Stadium on Tuesday.
The German coach heaved a huge sigh of relief when he finally had the full 30-player squad available for their two friendlies Tuesday and Friday.
Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) starlet Dominic Tan finally reported for duty after a three-day delay, which Bernhardt blamed on miscommunication.
“Dominic’s name was on both the Under-22 and Under-19 lists, so there was a mix-up. It’s all sorted out now, but he won’t play in the two friendlies,” said the former Estonia youth coach.
“Ten more players reported for training today and five of them played 90 minutes in the Malaysia Cup competition on Sunday. I will have to use other players for this match ... this is not easy,” added Bernhardt, who wants his team to play an offensive game against Bahrain.