Cheng Hoe ; Have faith in me please.

National Football coach Tan Cheng Hoe defended his selection of players for the AFF Cup stating that these were the players best suited to play the system he wants played.

Critics were quick to point the absence of a number 10 player, or better known as the playmaker, especially after the national Football team dominated the match in terms of possession but yet ended up losing 2-0 to Vietnam.

Many started to question the decision of Cheng Hoe who did not have the likes of Nazmi Faiz Mansor, Nik Akif, Badrol Bakhtiar and Nor Azam Azih.

“ I have my reasons for not picking these players as they did not suit my system of play,” explained Cheng Hoe.

“ For instanced Nazmi was in my squad for the friendly matches but did not quite fit into the style of play.

“ As for Azam , he is nursing a hamstring injury and has not been training and it was not possible to include him , hoping he would recover as I was informed he needed a month to recover alone.

“ As for Badrol and Nik, I know they are Creative players but I had a system that does not suit their style of play.

“ Currently we have Nor Shahrul Idlan playing that role of playmaker and I am happy with his ability and performance.”

Cheng Hoe said that from the onset his mind was made up to play modern Football, which was to hold possession and not allow the opponents to dictate terms or tempo of the game.

“ We have succeeded as it’s important to have the lions share of possession in order to prevent our opponents from scoring,” contends the former national player.

“ But we end up losing the ball in crucial areas of the field and make mistakes while defending and that cost us the result against Vietnam.”

The former Kedah coach believes that his charges had what it takes to get a positive result against Myanmar next Saturday.

“ We knew all along that the match against Myanmar was going to be the crunch match,” added Cheng Hoe.

“ We do not want to play a system of “ parking the bus”, hence I have instilled a tactic of taking possession and create chances.

“ In the past it was a case of playing long balls out of defence but we did not get the results we wanted.

“ I am happy with our current style and against Myanmar it will be a more attacking system as we unleash our attack.”

He did not discount the possibility of playing the attacking trio of Safawi Rasid , Akhyar Rashid and Mohamadou Sumareh.

“ We need the three points and that’s what our lineup will be picked on – the players that can deliver the goods,” contends Cheng Hoe.

When asked why was it that Thailand were head over heels better then our team. all Cheng Hoe was willing say was that our northern neighbours had depth in picking players for the national team.

Which now leads to the question, is our M- League doing justice to Malaysian Football as a whole?

It is clear that our states/clubs over reliance on foreign players in key positions has dealt a big blow towards providing quality players to the national team.

But our players need to step out of their comfort zone and look for opportunities to play in leagues overseas, as the Thai’s have done.

But another look at the newly launched FAM plans of F30 and ACE does not reveal any such initiatives to help the players seek exposure and experience abroad,

So with us continuing to rely on foreigners to be the strikers and playmakers, the dream of moving ip the rankings will forever remain a dream no matter how colourful of expensive of a ceremony FAM come out with to supposedly improve our footballing fortunes.