Friday, July 17

Malysia - opponents guide


Malaysia XI
Saturday July 18
kick off 17:30 local time, 10:30 UK time
Bukit Jailil Stadium, Kuala Lumpur


Live on

A day after touching down in the Far East, United will face arguably their toughest challenge of their Asia Tour. But just how good will the Tigers be?

Where exactly is Malaysia?
South of Thailand, east of Sri Lanka, west of Indonesia and north of Australia.

Basically, about as as far away from Manchester as you can get without starting to come back. The population is 26 million - about a third of the UK population.


How long have they been playing international football?

Since 1953, though, in the first decade of that, the country was known as Malaya. Malaya played their first ever match in April 1953 and were, by all accounts, a force to be reckoned with in the region in the mid 50s.

What have they ever won?

Two Asia Games bronze medals....and that's about it.

The second of those came in 1974 and, despite producing a decent side in the late seventies it's been rather Manchester Cityesque in the trophy cabinet.

A corruption scandal in the mid nineties saw a drop in popularity for the national team across Malaysia.

Malaysia were dumped out of the 2007 Asia Cup in the first round after losing 5-1 to China and 5-0 to Uzbekistan. They did almost as badly in the 2008 Suzuki Cup.

Things went from bad to worse this February when, after a 5-0 drubbing from United Arab Emirates, the manager Datuk Soh Chin Aun was sacked.

The new boss, known only as K. Rajagopal is currently preparing his side for the South East Asia Games in Laos in December.


Q. What side is he going to put out?

A. That is anyone's guess.

On June 14, it was reported the boss said six members of the under 19 squad were in the running for December's tournament and none of the established players could take their places for granted.

We think the team he'll pick will look something like this:

Syed Adney

Mohd Daudsu Jamaluddi
Norhafiz Zamani Misbah
Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak
Bunyamin Omar

Mohd Khyril Muhymeen Zambri
Shukor Adan
Amri Yahyah
Asraruddin Putra

Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak
Safee Mohd Sali

Substitutes:
Syed Hussein
Amirulhadi Zainal
Farderin Kadir
Fauzi Nan
K. Gurusamy
Mohd Muslim Ahmad
Mohd Faizal Mohd
Mohd Fandi Othman
Indra Putra Mahayuddin
Ahmad Shakir Md Ali
Mahali Jasuli.

Are any of them decent?
A. In all honesty, they lack the skill and finesse that quality international sides have to offer.

If anything, Malaysia's big plus point is how they hold their structure.

Indra Putra Mahayuddin plays a big part in that. With more than 40 caps, the holding midfielder is one of the longest-serving members of the team.

But he might not even get a starting place if the coach is determined to try out some of the younger lads.

Will they pose much threat to United?
No. They're ranked 159th in the world and are very low on confidence, with lots of upheaval in recent years.

Even St Vincents and the Grenadines, an island with a population of 120,000, has a better team than them. It should be a decent run out for United.

What team will the reds put out?
Don't bank on many big names starting, though half a dozen first teamers will probably get a run out just to please the fans. As usual in these games, it will be substiturama.

What's the stadium like?
Brilliant. It holds 100,000 people and is the joint ninth largest stadium in the world. It was opened in 1998 for the Commonwealth Games. Tickets cost from £11 to £57. It's unlikely to sell out.

Photographs used with the kind permission of Yeoh Thean Kheng of Kuala Lumpur.

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