PETALING JAYA: National football coach B. Sathianathan will be off on a spying mission to Hanoi on Saturday to watch Vietnam play against Japan in the second round of the Olympic qualifiers.
Vietnam are Malaysia's first opponents in Group B of the Korat SEA Games competition and the match will be played on Dec 1. The other teams in the group are Laos and Singapore.
“It is normal for coaches to watch the rival teams in action before a tournament. In fact, we have played against Vietnam before but their competitive game against Japan would give me a better picture of their strength,” said Sathianathan.
He added that Vietnam coach Alfred Riedl was also at the stands in Bangkok when Malaysia played against Thailand in a friendly match on Sunday. The match ended in a 1-1draw.
In the absence of Sathianathan, assistant coach Mohd Zaki Sheikh Ahmad will take charge of the team for the friendly match against the Maldives national team at the MBPJ Stadium in Kelana Jaya on Saturday (4.30pm).
Vietnam, the losing finalists at the last two SEA Games, are again rated as strong contenders for the gold medal.
Hosts Thailand will be gunning to win it for the eighth consecutive time.