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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Skipper Adib positive defence can


hold its own in Bangkok
BY K. RAJAN

Hard at work: National Under- 23 skipper Adib Zainudin dribbling the ball in a training session at Wisma FAM in Kelana
Jaya yesterday. S.S. KANESAN/ The Star

PETALING JAYA: Skipper Adib Zainudin is confident that the national Under-23s
backline will withstand the test at the 2018 AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers
which begin in Bangkok tomorrow.

In the friendly against the Myanmar Under-22 side at the Shah Alam Stadium last
week, coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee again deployed the 3-4-3 formation. The three-man
backline did a good job by shutting out the Myanmar attack to secure a confidence-
booting 2-0 win.

Adib was deployed on the right side of the back three with Irfan Zakaria and Adam
Nor Azlin. They also played together in Malaysias tour of China last month.

The understanding between the defenders has improved a lot. I think we can do better
when we start our qualifying campaign in Bangkok. We managed to keep a clean sheet
against Myanmar but the coach told us we did make some mistakes, said Adib before
leaving to Bangkok yesterday.
We were too cautious and slow in moving the ball out of danger. Its good to know
our mistakes early as we still have time to rectify the problem in training.

Malaysia will open their Group H campaign against Indonesia tomorrow before facing
hosts Thailand (July 21) and Mongolia (July 23). The group winners will
automatically qualify for next years Finals in China.

Kim Swee is also using the qualifiers to prepare for the gold assault at next months
Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

For Felcra FC centreback Adib, he wants Malaysia to make a flying start with a win
over Indonesia.

We have a slightly better chance of beating Indonesia. We need to gain all three
points to gain confidence for our next clash against Thailand. Its a tough match as the
Thais are the favourites. And they also enjoy home advantage, said Adib.