Thailand and Malaysia are currently locked in a semi-final AFF Championship battle, with the first leg ending in a goalless draw in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
But when asked by Goal for his thoughts on the continental chances of their opponents, Thailand head coach Milovan Rajevac spoke glowingly of Malaysia’s potential.
Thailand are set to make an appearance in the 2019 Asian Cup finals, the continent’s top competition, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates.
In fact, out of the four AFF Championship semi-finalists in this edition, with Vietnam and Philippines squaring off in the other final four tie, Malaysia are the only side not to have qualified for the Asian Cup, which has been expanded from 16 teams to 24 beginning next year.
“We’ve studied Malaysia (for the semis tie) and we’ve noticed that they have a number of talented players. Malaysian football too is evolving and going in the right direction.
“Of course there are still many things that have to be put in place in the future. For example it’s important to prepare a quality pool of young players, but they still need to work alongside experienced players who are hungry for success.
“They need to perform with tactical discipline, with good coaches leading them. I’m sure Malaysia will be able to qualify for the next Asian Cup,” said the Serbian trainer through an interpreter in the pre-match press conference on Friday.
The second leg semi-final match in Bangkok will be played on Wednesday, December 5, 7.00 pm Malaysian time.