B. Satiananthan, the former head coach of the Malaysian national team and U23 team, has expressed concern that passing errors could cost the home team ahead of their match against Vietnam in the third round of Group B at the 32nd SEA Games today.
Malaysia, with a team of experienced players who attended last year’s congress in Vietnam, was expected to perform well at the 32nd SEA Games. However, after beating Laos 5-1 in the opening match, E. Elavarasan’s team fell into a dilemma due to a 0-2 defeat against Thailand. This result has forced them to win points against Vietnam in the third round to keep their hopes up. Malaysia was highly appreciated last year, having only lost to Vietnam in the semi-final of the 31st SEA Games.
However, Satiananthan believes that the home team needs to quickly overcome their weaknesses if they do not want to continue to fail against Vietnam. “In my opinion, Malaysian players make a lot of passing errors. They did not play well in the defeat to Thailand and lacked the ability to control the ball,” Satiananthan commented to Majoriti. “I know the players made a lot of mistakes against Thailand. Hopefully, Coach Elavarasan can correct those mistakes, especially the three major areas of improvement – ball development, ball retention, and accurate passing.”
Currently, Coach Elavarasan is under a lot of pressure due to his squad selection in the defeat against Thailand. He started Syahir Bashah, Fergus Tierney, and T. Saravanan as the starting XI instead of Mukhairi Ajmal Mahadi, Aliff Izwan Yuslan, and Haqimi Azim Rosli. Some Malaysian fans blamed the defeat against Thailand entirely on Coach Elavarasan’s decision and called for national team coach Kim Pan-gon to lead the U22 team like Vietnam and Indonesia.
When asked about this, Satiananthan, a former midfielder who won a bronze medal at the 1983 SEA Games with Malaysia, said, “I cannot predict which player will start the match against Vietnam. Let Coach Ela have full discretion to decide. Let’s see which player is worthy. No matter which player plays, he needs to be confident and not be afraid of making mistakes.”