KUALA LUMPUR: The odds are in their favour to run out as winners but Tajikistan coach Usmon Toshev is not going to take things lightly in the friendly against Malaysia at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tonight.
The visitors are ranked 116th in the world to Malaysia’s 158, but Toshev admitted that the Harimau Malaya have shown improvement over the years.
“As part of my preparations, I have been following all the matches Malaysia played recently.
“I have also been here many times to see the development of the Malaysian team, ” said Toshev during a pre-match press conference at the stadium yesterday.
“From what I can see, Malaysia are very fast and mobile.”
Asked if Malaysia had a chance of qualifying for the 2023 Asian Cup in China, Toshev replied: “All teams have a chance to qualify and from what I’ve seen so far of Malaysia, they are very strong and have every chance.”
Toshev added that tonight’s friendly would be a good testing ground for his players to adapt to the conditions before their 2022 World Cup-2023 Asian Cup Group F qualifying match against Myanmar on Nov 14.
Tajikistan have six points after their first three qualifying matches and are in third place in Group F. They beat Krygyztan and Mongolia 1-0 before losing to Japan 0-3.
“It’s an important match tomorrow (today) because before the match against Myanmar, I want to see the condition of my players and how they adapt to the weather, since the weather here is quite similar to Yangon.
“I’ll be experimenting with some things as we have a few new players and want to see how they perform. At the same time, we want to show our best, ” he said.