Hodak to continue rotation to test squad

PETALING JAYA: National Under-19 coach Bojan Hodak (pic) will continue with his rotation policy in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-19 Championship.

Malaysia will take on Cambodia in their penultimate Group A match at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar, today and a win will ensure Hodak’s men’s a berth in the semi-finals.

Malaysia have chalked up three straight wins to top the six-team Group A with nine points. Thailand are second on goal difference.

The 46-year-old Hodak said that he would continue to rotate players “to test the squad”.

“We’ve been rotating the players in every game because we are playing through a tight schedule. Against Timor Leste (on Friday), there were eight new players in the starting XI,” said the Croatian coach yesterday.

“We have tried out 21 out of the 23 players in the squad. I will try to give everyone a chance so that we know who we can count on.

“Whoever plays tomorrow (today), needs to give his best. In our first three games, it was the players who come off the bench who made the difference.”

Hodak, however, has warned his players to be wary of winless Cambodia’s fast attacking game.

“It’s an important game. We need to be focused right from the start, not like in the match against Timor Leste (which Malaysia won 3-0).

“The Cambodian players are fast. If we give them too much space, we’ll be in trouble.

“It’s good that we didn’t concede in our last match (against Timor Leste). That has given our defenders added confidence. We are trying to improve tactical discipline but it’s not easy with young players,” said Hodak.

Malaysia will wrap the group fixtures against Thailand on Tuesday.

Malaysia are using the tournament to prepare for the AFC Under-19 Championship qualifiers in South Korea from Oct 31-Nov 8.