BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Despite the injury crisis hitting his squad, Malaysia boss Tan Cheng Hoe is adamant that the remaining available players will be able to shoulder the responsibilities.
Malaysia will play Sri Lanka at home in a October 5 friendly match before facing off against Vietnam in their Group G World Cup Asia qualification clash in Hanoi five days later, but six of his key players are injured.
"As you all know, some of the players are injured, which has affected our preparations somewhat. This has happened due to the hectic Malaysia Cup fixtures, and many of them had just played in the quarter-finals
"But as a coach I'm very optimistic and positive about the players who will take their places. I hope they can perform. It's mixed feelings for me; we want to get a good result [against Sri Lanka], but at the same time we also want to continue the good momentum we've shown in our past two matches.
"And at the same time, I still have to give an opportunity to the newcomers [to play]. I don't want them to feel pressured, I want them to be proud of playing for the national team," explained the former Kedah coach.
Asked about possible last-minute replacements for the injured players, Cheng Hoe replied in the negative.
"At the moment, the coaching staff have not planned to replace any players. After all, we're only going to decide on the 23 players who will go to Hanoi after the game against Sri Lanka.
"The have to be 100 per cent fit physically and mentally ready as it won't be an easy game," said Cheng Hoe.
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