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 By Nicolas Anil

Nelo Vingada eyes 'Cup final effect' on Malaysia ahead of Asian qualifier

Malaysia coach Nelo Vingada admits that the timing of Saturday's Malaysia Cup final could hinder his side's chances of success in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying double header against North Korea in Thailand.

The Harimau Malaya face the North Koreans in neutral Buriram on Nov. 10 and Nov. 13.

Results in the two clashes will go a long way to deciding their fate in Group B, with the Malaysians in bottom spot, behind North Korea, Hong Kong and Lebanon.

Bur Vingada has rued the scheduling of Saturday's Malaysia Cup final as it has meant less time for preparation ahead of this Friday's game.

Fourteen of the players who were involved in Johor Darul Ta'zim's (JDT) 2-0 victory over Kedah are ilso n the Malaysia squad, meaning that only 10 players were available for Sunday's training session.

That squad was trimmed to 23 players on Monday, with 10 representatives from JDT, plus Syafiq Ahmad, of Kedah.

JDT win 2017 Malaysia Cup final
Newly crowned Malaysia Cup champions JDT have 10 players in the Malaysia squad to face North Korea.

The Malaysians leave for Buriram on Tuesday, but there will be just two days of training in northeast Thailand before Friday's crucial match.

"We travel on Tuesday, so we have only Wednesday and Thursday to train," Vingada told The New Straits Times. "It's not so easy but in football you have to be ready for this situation. If you ask me if it's the best solution, then no."

On the positive side, three of the JDT players in Vingada's squad [Safawi Rasid, Darren Lok and Nazmi Faiz Mansor] did not feature on Saturday, while Kedah's Syafiq Ahmad was also left out of the action.

Vingada will be hoping that all those who report for duty are fit and ready for what will be a huge challenge.

The Portuguese boss has yet to win a game in his five matches at the helm and desperately needs at least four points from these two fixtures to keep Malaysia in contention for a place in the United Arab Emirates in 2019.

"At this moment our medical staff are talking to JDT and Kedah and checking the situation on injuries," Vingada said.

"We are playing North Korea six days after the Malaysia Cup final ,and there is more than enough time to recover. It's not a big issue because they are professional players.

"I am not worried about recovery time but rather the short period we have to prepare for the games. I would have liked more time to prepare, but the situation is what it is."

Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.

 

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