Muhammad Aiman Khairul Yusni (left)
21/03/2024 02:28 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 (Bernama) -- Perak FC youngster Muhammad Aiman Khairul Yusni intends to win a place in the starting lineup of the Harimau Muda squad in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Asian Cup next month.

The 22-year-old defender is determined to get more playing time in his bid to help the national team, under the guidance of coach Juan Torres Garrido, get positive results in the prestigious tournament, which will be held in Doha, Qatar from April 15 to May 3.

"I am thrilled to be in the Under-23 squad, I will do my best. I didn't expect to be called up due to the big pool of young players.

"My target is to be in the starting XI and help the team achieve the best possible result in the Asian Cup,” he said on the fourth day of the squad's training session at the Wisma FAM (Football Association of Malaysia) field here yesterday.

Muhammad Aiman said none of the players seemed to have any problems adapting to the style of play that new coach Garrido has been implementing over the past four days. 

Meanwhile, Under-23 defender Ahmad Zikri Khalili admitted that it had been quite a breeze for the players to adapt to the Spanish coach's tactical tweaks.

"I don't think there is a problem with coach Juan's approach. The players seem to enjoy his tactical tweaks as well,” he said.

Ahmad Zikri, however, is a little concerned with the team's fitness level ahead of the Under-23 Asian Cup due to the players’ lack of competitive matches since January as the Malaysia League (M-League) will only kick off in May.

The Harimau Muda team will have two warm-up matches against India tomorrow and on Monday (March 25) in Kuala Lumpur as well as friendlies against China and Qatar in Doha next month.

Malaysia have been drawn in Group D of the Under-23 Asian Cup and will begin their campaign against Uzbekistan on April 17, Vietnam on April 20 and Kuwait on April 23.