Malaysians shrug off 1991 loss as they face Azkals Wednesday-A A +A
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
FILIPINO booters were able to upset Malaysia in the preliminaries of the 1991 Southeast Asian Games in Manila, a harrowing loss that the current mentor of the powerhouse team believe does not merit a repeat on Wednesday.
On the eve of Tigers’ friendly match against the Philippine football team Azkals, coach Datuk Rajagobal said they will just leave the past behind and focus on winning the game.
“History is history. Anyone can upset a team at any given time and any given situation. The bottomline really is to win the match, in the same way the Philippines wants to win it,” he said in a briefing at the Discovery Suites in Pasig City on Tuesday.
Rajagopal was a striker for the Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor Football Club (PKNS FC) in the Malaysian Super League when the Filipinos shocked his compatriots, 1-0, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in November 1991.
The Malaysians, however, still managed to win the silver while the Philippines lost the bronze medal to Singapore.
While the Filipinos still have work cut out for them, Rajagopal said he has seen how the country progressed in the international circuit, citing the semifinal stint at the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup in December 2010.
And for German coach Michael Weiss, Wednesday’s tiff at the Rizal Memorial would be a showcase of improvements in the past year.
“We will have to see after that where we still have to adapt or get better. Apart from excitement, it will give us a clearer view on defense shape. We were working on that while in Dubai (recently)," Weiss said as his charges prepare for the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup next month in Nepal.
Striker Phil Younghusband and defender Jason Sabio also shared the same view, calling the 7 p.m. match against the defending Suzuki Cup champions a “good test.”
“Whenever you play a quality team, it’s a good test to see where you are and also an opportunity to get better,” Sabio said.
For his part, first-choice goalkeeper Niel Etheridge saw a tough match ahead especially that they are going up against the Malaysians, who are ranked six notches higher (no. 150) than the Philippines worldwide.
“This is just a friendly game, but I think I speak on behalf of all the players when I say that a friendly game is just a name. Obviously, we want to win tomorrow night (Wednesday) and I think we’re quite capable of doing so,” he said. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)