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SEA Games gold medal in sights of new Malaysia U22 coach Bernhardt

Malaysia won the 2011 SEA Games but flopped at last year's tournament in Singapore.

Frank Bernhardt has vowed to deliver a gold medal to Malaysia's long-suffering fans at next year's Southeast Asian Games, declaring that football "is the same everywhere."

The 46-year-old began his new job as national under-22 boss on Monday at Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) headquarters in Kelana Jaya.

His first task is to pick an assistant from four candidates -- Hassan Sazali, P. Maniam, Reduan Abdullah and Azlan Johar. And then Bernhardt will choose a squad of 25 players to work with ahead of the SEA Games football tournament on home soil in Aug. 2017.

"Football is the same everywhere," Bernhardt told The Star.

"The SEA Games is a big competition in this region and I want to help the team win the gold.

"I have given them some instructions and I will evaluate [the assistant coaches] before appointing one of them."

Kiel-born Bernhardt guided Estonia to the European U19 Champion­ship Finals in 2009 and the European U21 Championship Finals in 2011.

He evaluated 29 of 39 players who turned up to the FAM base on Monday. The plan is to have the U22 side getting regular competition in a domestic league.

"But we need to talk to the clubs to release the players as all of them have signed contracts with the various M-League teams," he said.

The last time Malaysia won the SEA Games football gold medal was in 2011 under Ong Kim Swee.

Ong, who also coached Malaysia in the 2013 and 2015 tournaments, is one of the candidates for the senior national job, having been caretaker boss since September. 



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