The Australian was without some of his best players as he had hoped to assess them during practice matches.
For the first centralised training camp to prepare for the 2020 AFC Under-19 Championships, four key players – Luqman Hakim Shamsuddin, Mukhairi Ajmal, Harith Haikal Adam Afkar and Firdaus Irman Fadhil – could not attend due to club commitments.
And to add to his woes, the Football Association of Malaysia had announced that friendly matches could only be held after Aug 2.
However, Maloney is optimistic that things will get better in the second phase which is scheduled for the first week of August.
“It’s still early days. So far, it has looked good, the progression has been good, the boys have improved over the last few weeks, that is a positive sign,” said Maloney.
“After this weekend, we will give them a break and resume in the first week of August. We did discuss having some friendlies, but we are still not quite ready for that yet.
“We will look at the next call-up for a couple of friendlies. The majority of the players will be there. For the next phase there’ll be around 30 players and in September, we will trim it.”
Maloney added he might call up some new players to see if they fit into his plans.
As for the foreign-based players, he said they are in his plans for the August call-up.
The players are Wan Kuzri Wan Ahmad Kamal (St Louis Academy), Adam Nadzmi Zamri (BISP Cruzeiro Football Academy) and Zachry Raiff Ghazie Yeoh (Brooke House Football Academy).
There are also other foreign-based players with Malaysian heritage who have expressed interest in joining the camp and among them are Rot-Weiss Frankfurt Under-17 player Joshua Johan Bechler.
“I think it is fantastic that more young Malaysians want to join us, but we receive players on merit.
“His name (Joshua) was mentioned about a year ago, we asked to look at some videos of him, which nobody has been able to provide. So, he is not being considered at the moment.”
Maloney stated that the final goal for the team is about depth.
“I know some of the boys could not join us due to club commitments, but eventually when they are part of the team, there will be competition for places, which promotes healthy competition.
“This phase was a short period. The next phase will give me more time to work with them and see where it can lead us to.”
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