PETALING JAYA: National coach Tan Cheng Hoe has a lot on his plate when Malaysia play Jordan in a friendly at the King Abdullah II Stadium in Amman tonight.
Firstly, he will be thinking of getting a positive result to improve on the national football team’s ranking to ensure a favourable seeding in the 2023 Asian Cup.
Secondly, the game will provide an insight into the state of the team’s preparation for the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Cup in December.
And lastly, Cheng Hoe hopes to blood five newbies to see whether they can make the cut to be national team regulars.
And he believes that there’s a good balance in the team to achieve the desired results.
The 154th world ranked Harimau Malaya are up against world No. 93 Jordan, who are coming off a 2-1 win over Bahrain in their last friendly at the Bahrain National Stadium last month.
Malaysia have played Jordan four times since 1988, losing twice and drawing twice. They last clashed at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil with Cheng Hoe overseeing a 1-0 loss in 2019.
Recapping the previous defeat, Cheng Hoe said the team played well despite the loss and it’s not impossible for his men to repeat the performance or go one level up with a win.
“The team gained good experience playing against Jordan in 2019. We lost a few core players from that team and Jordan are under a new coaching set-up and had beaten Bahrain recently,” said Cheng Hoe in a virtual pre-match press conference from Amman yesterday.
“There’s a lot of things to achieve but we won’t pressure the players with a must-win target.
“We want a good performance from the players and I believe we have the experience to get a positive result and perform to expectations against Jordan.
“We have several experienced players to guide the eager youngsters in the team. Some of the youngsters might lack experience but we are confident that they can perform because we have monitored their display in the M-League.”
Cheng Hoe has called up Kalamullah Al-Hafiz Mat Rowi, Quentin Cheng, Al Hafiz Harun, Mukhairi Ajmal Mahadi and Hakimi Abdullah for the two friendlies against Jordan and Uzbekistan on Oct 9.
“We have been assessing each newcomer. We believe in the players’ abilities and we want the players to have confidence in themselves and do their best,” said Cheng Hoe.