Malaysia’s next friendly opponents, Cambodia may have roped in Japanese star Keisuke Honda as their head coach, but that will not force Harimau Malaya head coach Tan Cheng Hoe into doing things differently this Monday.
Last month, the Cambodian FA announced Honda as its national team head coach, a somewhat unorthodox arrangement considering the fact that one week earlier, the 32-year old had just signed on to play for Melbourne Victory in the A-League.
The Cambodia-Malaysia friendly will be the Asian Cup-winner’s first match leading his new charges. Two days ago, he led his first training session in preparation for the encounter against Malaysia.
Speaking in the post-match press conference following their 2-0 friendly defeat to Chinese Taipei on Friday, Cheng Hoe remarked that the presence of Honda will not result in him planning for the match any differently.
“It’s a very important game for us, and it seems that my players are free from injury. It won’t be easy for them as the match is in two days’ time, and they need to be fresh mentally.
“Cambodia too have appointed Honda as their new coach, and they may be more motivated to play under him. But my players will be playing well, and we’ll keep the same momentum on Monday,” said the former Kedah boss when asked by a local journalist.
The match will be played at the Phnom Penh National Olympic Stadium, with kick-off time at 7.30pm Malaysian time.
Cheng Hoe’s charges have been drawn in Group A of the 2018 AFF Championship later this year, together with Cambodia. The past four encounters between the two teams have been won by Malaysia, with their most recent clash taking place in the 2016 edition of the competition.