PETALING JAYA: Coach Bojan Hodak (pic) is not putting high hopes on his Under-19 boys at the AFF Under-19 Championship in Vietnam from Aug 5-18.
Malaysia, the defending champions, have been drawn in a tough group with heavyweights Thai-land, Vietnam, Australia, Singa-pore and Cambodia in Group B.
They open their campaign against the hosts on Aug 6.
The AFF will be Hodak’s “test run” before the 2020 AFC Under-19 Championship qualifiers in Cambodia from Nov 2-10.
Last year, Hodak created history when he guided Malaysia to the AFF Under-19 title in Indonesia.
The team also went on to qualify for the AFC Under-19 championship after a 12-year hiatus.
But the Croatian said they have a tougher challenge this time as most of his current players lack experience playing on the international stage.
“We’re preparing early for the AFF and our target is to let them gain as much match exposure before the AFC qualifiers.
“We decided to train during the fasting month as I don’t see any problem with it.
“I know my boys can handle it,” said Hodak.
“We could have trained after Hari Raya but they might come back overweight.
“So it’s better to start early and keep an eye on their condition.”
He added that they will play three friendlies against Super League and Premier League teams from May 14-24.
“These boys need to play tough matches to give them a feel of playing against tough opponents.”
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