PETALING JAYA: National coach Nelo Vingada is worried he does not have much time to get his players ready for the Asian Cup qualifying double-header against North Korea in Buriram, Thailand on Nov 10 and 13.
With 14 players involved in yesterday’s Malaysia Cup final between Johor Darul Ta’zim and Kedah, Vingada will only get his full 24-man squad together tomorrow night before leaving for Buriram on Tuesday.
That leaves just two days of training before the first Group B match against North Korea on Friday, hardly enough time to get the win which would revive Malaysia’s qualifying campaign for the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
“It was an intense final but of course the JDT players are also celebrating and they and the Kedah players will join us tomorrow,” said Vingada at Wisma FAM today.
“We travel on Tuesday so we have only Wednesday and Thursday to train. It’s not so easy but in football you have to be ready for this situation. If you ask me if it’s the best solution, then no.”
Vingada only had 10 players available for a light training session today as he waits for 12 players from JDT and another two from Kedah to arrive.
The Portuguese is hoping all 14 arrive injury-free and expects the players to have sufficiently recovered from the intensity of yesterday’s final.
Of the 14, Darul Ta’zim’s Safawi Rasid, Darren Lok and Nazmi Faiz Mansor and Kedah’s Syafiq Ahmad did not see action in the final.
“At this moment our medical staff are talking to JDT and Kedah and checking the situation on injuries,” said Vingada, who is still seeking his first win after five matches in charge of the national team.
“We are playing North Korea six days after the Malaysia Cup final and there is more than enough time to recover. It’s not a big issue because they are professional players.
“It’s the end of the season and we had some periods which were intense and some periods which were not. I am not worried about recovery time but rather the short period we have to prepare for the games.
“We also have players coming to play for me for the first time but the quality of the players is good and so integration is easier. I would have liked more time to prepare but the situation is what it is.”
Malaysia, bottom of Group B with one point from three matches, have Safiq Rahim and Aidil Zafuan Radzak suspended for the first match against North Korea though captain Safiq will be availabe for the return fixture three days later.
The two matches are being played on neutral ground due to a Malaysian government ban on travel to North Korea with the Asian Football Confederation then deciding to have both games held in Buriram.