The message from the top is clear for Malaysia national coach B. Sathianathan – put on a good performance during December's AFF Suzuki Cup 2008 or else.

While the order may not have been succinctly delivered to Sathia, the underlying notion from Khairy Jamaluddin, the deputy president of the FA of Malaysia (FAM) following an Exco meeting recently, is that the Malaysian parent body is prepared to take swift action in the event of further disappointment. The FAM have already shortlisted candidates to guide the Malaysia Under-23 squad for the SEA Games which will be held in Laos next year.

“We have a shortlist of candidates and we will announce them soon. And the national U-23 squad will begin training in January considering that they will be the main priority for 2009,” said Khairy. But the senior team will not be overlooked becasue we have arranged for international friendlies for them since we need to pick up the points to further improve our international ranking.”
Sathia, who guided the Malaysian team to the Merdeka Tournament last year, fell short this time round when they lost out in the final to Vietnam.

In the recent Grand Royal Challenge Cup 2008, Malaysia were the losing semi-finalists when they lost to eventual champions Myanmar. For the AFF Suzuki Cup 2008, Malaysia have been placed in Group B which will be based in Bangkok where they will be up against hosts Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. In Group A in Jakarta are Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar and Cambodia. goal


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