Thailand 'home away from home' for Malaysia in Asian Cup qualifiers
Winless Nelo Vingada is hopeful that Malaysia will end their losing run now that they will play North Korea on Southeast Asian soil in two pivotal AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.
The Malaysians will face North Korea in Thailand on Nov. 10 and 13 after the Asian Football Confederation earlier this week rescheduled the home and away legs on the road to United Arab Emirates in 2019.
It means that instead of travelling to Pyongyang -- or playing the North Koreans at a neutral venue in chilly China -- they will experience very similar conditions to Kuala Lumpur.
"I do not want to say whether playing in Thailand will be an advantage to Malaysia, but it certainly cuts travel time [for the first round match].
"The weather in Thailand is similar to ours, compared to Pyongyang, which is now cold," coach Vingada said in a statement.
Malaysia have had two of their first three qualifiers at home, but have earned only one point out of a possible nine after a lucky 1-1 draw with Hong Kong in September. The visitors missed a last-minute penalty to let Vingada's men off the hook in Malacca.
Vingada has selected a 30-man squad, which will be cut to 24 names after Saturday's final round of the 2017 Malaysia Super League season.
"What I can say is that most players on my list are from Kedah and Darul Ta'zim, who both will play each other in the Malaysia Cup final on Nov 4," Vingada said.
"Those not involved in the Malaysia Cup final will report on Nov 4 while players from Kedah and Darul Ta'zim will do so two days later."
Since Vingada took over from Ong Kim Swee in May, Malaysia have lost four and drawn one of their five matches, and are without a win for almost a year.
Ong has moved back to the under-22 side, overseeing successful qualification in July for next year's AFC U23 Championship in China, and securing the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games silver medal a month later.
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