Elavarasan aware of high expectations on Harimau Muda in Chonburi

KUALA LUMPUR: National Under-23 (U-23) squad head coach E. Elavarasan (pix) believes the expectations on Malaysia remains very high at the 2024 U-23 Asian Cup Qualifying round in Chonburi, Thailand from Sept 6 to 12.

He said many have placed high expectations for the Harimau Muda squad to qualify for the 2024 U-23 Asian Cup Finals in Qatar scheduled for May next year which also offers a slot for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

After preparing the team since last February including going through three different regional level competitions namely Merlion Cup in March, SEA Games (May) and the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U-23 Championship last month, Elavarasan said his side was ready to meet the expectations of the fans.

“We came here with a target to at least get a slot in the final round, we also have been rotating players and using experience gained in all the tournaments and hopefully the current set of players can do their best in this round.

“The expectation on Malaysia is very high, we come here of course to do our best and will try to fulfill what fans need, it will be a tough round but we look forward to participating in this competition,” he told a pre-match press conference in Chonburi, today.

Drawn in Group H, Malaysia will start the campaign against Bangladesh tomorrow, the Philippines (Saturday) and the home side, next Tuesday.

All matches are scheduled to take place at the Chonburi Stadium.

Only the champion of each group along with the four best group runners-up will qualify for the 2024 U-23 Asian Cup Finals.

Malaysia qualified for the U-23 Asian Cup for the first time in 2018 in China and reached the quarter-finals before losing in the group stageat the 2022 edition held in Uzbekistan. –Bernama