PETALING JAYA, July 12 (Bernama) -- National coach Datuk K. Rajagobal feels the friendly match against Thailand club Chonburi FC at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Tuesday (July 16) would help in preparations for the high profile match against English Premier League club Chelsea FC on July 21.
He said since Chonburi FC has a number Thai national players, the match would be a good tune up for the Chelsea match at the Shah Alam Stadium, especially to build the confidence of the players.
"Apart from being a warm up, the match against Chonburi FC would also toughen the players as Chonburi FC is considered a strong team, especially with the presence of a number of National players," he told Bernama after a National team training session at Wisma FAM, last night.
Rajagobal said his players would face an problem in adapting to the tough regime in training although both matches and training are held during the fasting month.
"They are professionals and will not be a problem," he said.
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Rajagobal said all the players in the squad were undergoing training, except Safiq Rahim and Mohd Safee Mohd Sali who are injured and undergoing light training on their own, since their injuries are not serious.
During yesterday's first training session yesterday, 27 players reported for training except Mohd Badhri Radzi (Kelantan) and Azzamuddin Akil (Pahang) who are injured while Kelantan's Mohd Nor Farhan Muhammad was excused since his wife gave birth to their first child.
Rajagobal said Mohd Badri and Mohd Nor Farhan are expected to report today while Azzamuddin would not feature in the squad.
As for a training cum playing stint in Japan, starting July 23, Rajagobal said the planned matches, especially against J-League teams, would be a good exposure for the players.
"These matches in Japan will help prepare the team for another high profile friendly match against Spanish club Barcelona FC at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Aug 10.
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Rajagobal's boys are expected to face J-League clubs Shimizu S.Pulse and Shonan Bellmare on July 25 and 27 respectively, and play Tokyo Verda on July 31.
According to Rajagobal, the matches would also help prepare the players to face Bahrain in their third Group D match of the 2015 Asian Cup qualifiers on Oct 15.
Meanwhile, Johor Darul Takzim striker Safee Sali was both sad and disappointed since he may not be able to feature in the matches against Chonburi FC and Chlesea due to an injury suffered during the FA Cup final against Kelantan on June 29.
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