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Maloney confident of Malaysia’s chances despite challenging draw

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia head coach Brad Maloney is hoping training can start as soon as possible for him to prepare the Southeast Asian side for their AFC U-19 Championship Uzbekistan 2020 challenge.

Malaysia were drawn in Group D of the Finals with Qatar, Tajikistan and Yemen and Australian Maloney acknowledged that his team will have to be at their best to advance to the knock-out stage.

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“We want to achieve as high as we possibly can. I believe in these players,” said Maloney to local media.

“They are a fantastic group of players and I am sure we can be very successful.”

Malaysia, who have qualified for the tournament 23 times, finished runners-up in 1959,1960 and 1968 and claimed third in 1964 and 1965.

Two years ago in Indonesia, Malaysia finished bottom of Group D, with only a point to show, while Saudi Arabia topped the group and went on to win the tournament where they beat Korea Republic 2-1 in the final.

In the qualifying tournament last year, the Young Tigers were unbeaten in Group G as they defeated Cambodia 5-4, Northern Mariana Islands 10-0, Brunei 11-0 and Thailand 1-0 to qualify.

"In the current situation (COVID-19 pandemic), everyone is affected and every team competing has been affected in one way or another.

"We just hope that we can get training in as soon as possible and prepare well for the tournament to ensure we give ourselves the best opportunity for a successful competition."

For Maloney, the next couple of months will be crucial as they prepare for the tournament, which offers four spots for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup Indonesia 2021.

Malaysia will begin their campaign against Tajikistan on October 16 before taking on Qatar three days later and Yemen on October 22.

Click here for the match schedule.

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