Kuantan (13 September, 2013): A second chance. Myanmar coach Park Sung Hwa is not going to let this opportunity slip away as he charts his team’s fortunes in the final of the 41st Merdeka Tournament at the Darulmakmur Stadium tomorrow night.
The former South Korean striker, who has featured in four Merdeka Tournaments himself from 1974-1978, and in the process picked three winners medals, has laid out a plan to curtail Ong Kim Swee’s Harimau Muda A from clinching their 12th Merdeka Tournament title since 1957.
Of particular interest to Park are midfielders Wan Zack Haikal, Thamil Arasu, Muhammad Nazmi Faiz and skipper Mohd Irfan Fazail. However, it is Wan Zack Haikal whom the Korean has singled out as Malaysia’s most dangerous player who could rue their chances in the final.
“He is exceptionally good and very talented, especially his free kicks outside the box. I consider him as a playmaker capable of turning things around within minutes,” said Park. “He did that in our group match and we lost 2-1. He is a very dangerous player.”
Park, however, was surprised when told that the Maran-born Wan Zack Haikal plays for FC Ryukyu in the Japanese League while Nazmi had a six-month stint with Portuguese club FC Beira Mar.
Myanmar, added Park, is prepared to face the full brunt of Malaysia’s s strike-force in Saturday’s final and everything is in place for an epic match.
His key players – skipper Kyaw Zayar Win (No 7) on a quick road to recovery from an ankle injury while playmaker Kyi Lin (No 8) will return after serving a one-match suspension. But their arsenal consists of more than just these two players who could trouble the Malaysians.
There are strikers Kyaw Ko Ko (No 10) and Thein Than Win (No 16) to look out for who have been a menace to opponents in earlier matches.
Park is also impressed with Malaysia’s substitute players who played a pivotal role in their 3-0 win over Thailand on Wednesday which also helped Myanmar’s cause for a spot in the final.
“You have an all-round and balanced team. Even the players on the bench can play equally well as the first choice players. But I am expecting a very exciting match. I have told the players to keep their cool on the field and stay focus for 90 minutes,” added Park.
Sept 14 (Saturday): Third-fourth placing playoff (5.30pm); Final (8.45pm). Both matches will be played at Stadium Darul Makmur.
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