Malaysian national Under-23 head coach K. Rajagobal has set the semi-finals as his first target for the team which will compete at the SEA Games in Laos next month.
Rajagobal said that the reason why he has set a place in the semi-finals for his chargers was due to the grouping which they are in.
The Malaysians are in Group A of the SEA Games against defending champions Thailand, Vietnam as well as Cambodia and Timor Leste.
“I only got to know that Tuanku President (FAM president Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah) wants a medal from the SEA Games squad through the media,” said Rajagobal.
“Following the official draw earlier this month, we have been placed in a tough group against tough teams like Thailand and Vietnam.
“And it is for that reason, I want the team to make the semi-finals first. Then we can take it from there.”
Rajagobal said that the desire of Sultan Ahmad Shah in wanting to see the U23 team finish their SEA Games campaign in the medal is not an impossibility considering the great stride they have made this year.
He felt that the hard work, determination and commitment of the players will ensure that the Malaysian U23 squad will have an even chance of making the last four.
“The opening match against Timor Leste will be important. We need to put in a strong showing. We need to be better than Thailand and Vietnam if we want a place in the semi-finals,” he added.
”The first match will determine how far we will go in this meet. We need the full points against Timor Leste. We do not have a choice.
“Winning the opening match will give the team a boost to their morale.”