Chilly days for Under-19 side, but they want to be real hot

  • Football
  • Saturday, 06 Jun 2020

PETALING JAYA: A chill will be running down the spines of the national Under-19 side when they head to Uzbekistan for the AFC Under-19 Championship from Oct 14-31.

The boys will be playing in temperatures of between 6°C and 19°C, wintry conditions which they have never faced before.

National coach Brad Maloney, however, is ready for the challenge.

His experience as assistant coach with the national Under-23 team in 2018, where the team reached the quarter-final stage during winter in Changsu, China, will hold him in good stead.

The team spent the final phase of their centralised training in Mokpo, South Korea, where they played three friendly matches to acclimatise to the cold weather.

“We had plans to acclimatise to Uzbekistan. We will play there or in other countries in the region to expose our players to the cold,” said the Australian coach.

“I experienced this with the Under-23 team in 2018. The boys needed time get used to the weather and the snow. It will be the same with Under-19 boys.

“It’s very important for the team to acclimatise because it can affect our performance. We want to be well prepared.”

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have proposed for a quarantine-based approach – similar to the one adopted under the Road to Tokyo (RTT) programme – for the national Under-19 team who will be based at the National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil.

Maloney said that while the prospect of training was good, they still needed to be wary of the Covid-19 virus.

“The government is slowly easing restrictions and also allowing some sports to start. We hope we get the nod too but we still need to be very careful,” said Maloney.

“We need to adapt to the standard operating procedures (SOP). Be ready for all the testing and sanitising measures ...

“It will not be easy but we will have to adjust,” he said.

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