AUSTRALIAN Brad Maloney, who is the coach of Malaysia’s national Under-18 team, admitted that Southeast Asian teams are starting to catch up with the major Asian powers.
Maloney made the observation after he guided Malaysia to a rousing 3-0 triumph over Australia in the AFF Under-18 Cup in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday.
Australian football media outlet, theworldgame.sbs.com has pointed out that the result, which came after Australia’s earlier 3-0 loss to Malaysia in the AFF Under-15 in Chonburi, is a warning sign to the Football Federation Australia (FFA) on the investment and commitment required to keep pace with thriving Asean teams.
Maloney, who used to play for Perth Glory as a midfielder, feels that the results are further proof of the narrowing gap between Asia’s emerging and established powers.
“I think Southeast Asian nations have to be respected,” he told theworldgame.sbs.com.
“There are a lot of good players here (Southeast Asia) who maybe don’t get enough credit at times for the ability they have.”
On leading Malaysia against Australia, Maloney described playing against his own country as “surreal”.
“It’s a funny one playing against your own country but I’ve been given this role with this team and I’m happy for the opportunity,” he said.
Source: New Straits Times