REPORTING FROM KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
Myanmar U-22 football coach Gerd Zeise believes that Singapore cannot be underestimated despite his side’s comprehensive victory in their last meeting.
The Myanmar team defeated their counterparts from Singapore 2-0 in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship qualifiers last month, dominating most of the game.
Singapore coach Richard Tardy had earlier called Myanmar the favourites in the group alongside Malaysia, but Zeise was quick to shoot that down that suggestion.
“We are not the favourites, the host team is always the favourites for me,” said the German at a pre-match press conference held at the Renaissance Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday (13 August).
“Singapore plays at a good level and for my players, the first match is always difficult, they have big pressure from home. Everybody is expecting a lot so we must find a way to handle that pressure.”
Ziese also refused to be drawn on the previous meeting between both sides.
“Every game is different. Singapore defended really well in that game and their counter-attacks (are dangerous). We know about that. I just hope that we don’t have bad weather so we can play football.
“Singapore will want to get a good result, so I expect them to play aggressive, to press us and give us a hard time. We must be prepared for that,” Ziese added.
At the last SEA Games in 2015, Myanmar took their competition by surprise and made it all the way to the final, only to fall to Thailand.
When asked if the team is looking to go one better and clinch that gold medal in this edition of the Games, Ziese played down expectations.
“We must think from match to match. Of course, we want to survive in the group and see if we can go further. For now, I cannot say we want to win the gold,” Ziese said.
“We want to win the first match first, and then we see what happens.”