BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia U-15 forward Nabil Qayyum Zainuddin is adamant that they are capable of surprising defending champions Japan in the coming 2020 AFC U-16 Championship qualification.
Having edged the likes of Iran, North Korea, Australia and Thailand in two tournaments this year, their true test will start next week in Vientiane, Laos, when they take part in Group J of the qualifiers, against Cambodia, hosts Laos, and group favourites Japan.
They will first take on Cambodia on September 18, before facing Laos two days later, and will finally go up against Japan on 22 September. The 12 group winners will qualify for the finals automatically, accompanied by the best four second-placed teams.
Speaking to the press just before departing for Vientiane last Friday, the forward pointed out that the opponents they recently overcame in the AFF U-15 Championship final match, Thailand have once surprised Japan, whom according to him are at the same level as North Korea.
"We're going to have to do our best because they (Japan) already know how we play, while we have also learnt about their strengths. We need to give our 100 per cent focus, and improve on our defending.
"Our team has the tendency of falling asleep at the back when we are doing more attacking, which have resulted in us conceding goals in the past.
"But it's not impossible for us to defeat them. Thailand have beaten them, so it's not impossible for us to do the same," said the Mokthar Dahari Academy trainee.
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