Football Tribe Malaysia
Strengths – Ong Kim Swee has put his hopes with some budding new talents. Dominic Tan’s presence in the defense, Nik Akif in the middle and Hadi Fayadh up top form a formidable spine for this team. Their experience with the senior squad will be crucial in helping Malaysia overcome this first hurdle.
Weaknesses – Coach Swee failed to get five of the players he wanted. Among them are Akhyar Rashid and Kedah youth player Fadzrul Danel Mohd Nizam. Most clubs do not want to release their players because the tournament is not in the FIFA calendar. The absence of such talented players could hamper Malaysia’s bid for regional supremacy during this tournament.
Player to Watch – Hadi Fayyadh
Strengths – The hosts seem to have a strong squad in place for this tournament. Their squad includes several recognizable names for local fans, as youth development has always been a major component of the national team’s approach and strategy.
Weaknesses – Their young players do not have much experience in senior levels. As such, their maturity and composure in difficult situations may lag behind that of their opponents.
Player to Watch – Keo Soksela