: The national under- 22 (U-22) football squad have been told not to disappoint their fans in the country.
Team manager, Datuk Wira Mohd Yusoff Mahadi said as hosts, the squad under coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee should at least advance to the final in the biennial championships.
"It is a heavy responsibility for the team playing on their own turf...my target is for them to enter the final so that Malaysia will be featured on the last night.
"It will be very unfortunate if we are not in action and the disappointment will be felt by all supporters in the country," he told reporters after visiting the training session of the SEA Games squad at Wisma FAM here tonight.
After completing training for 10 days at Wisma FAM, the team will leave for China to continue training and hold matches against the China under-22 squad, Guangzhou R&F reserve squad and the Guangzhou Evergrande reserve team from June 6 to 13.
Mohd Yusoff said upon returning from China, the national squad would resume training at Wisma FAM before visiting Melaka for a series of friendly matches against Melaka United Super League squad and would take a break for Hari Raya after that.
"After coming back from China, there will be a change of players, we want to test players who did not go to China as only 22 players will be sent there. In our list, we have more than 40 players and we will test out all players.
I hope the players will make full use of the China trip to show their capability to represent the country at the SEA Games," said the Melaka United Football Association deputy president.
After Hari Raya, the team will start preparations for the U-23 AFC championships in Bangkok from July 19 to 23 before starting the final phase of preparations for the SEA Games on Aug 1.
The SEA Games is scheduled from Aug 19 to 30 but the football event is expected to begin several days earlier before the opening ceremony as in other previous editions.