AFF Suzuki Cup 2016
Photo by Utusan Online

Malaysia have turned to drone technology to help them with their AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 campaign, which begins next week in Myanmar.

Two drones were seen zipping around at the national team’s training ground at FAM headquarters on Tuesday.

National coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee believes his players will thrive on the aerial video technology.

“The drone serves a good purpose in our tactical training. It gives me an overall view of the sessions,” said Ong.

“Using it is not about popularity, it’s about using it in a progressive manner, and utilising it.”

Michael Owen, who scored against Malaysia in 2009, is a fan of drone technology.

Former Liverpool and Manchester United striker Michael Owen is a big supporter of drone technology, while Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has also embraced the mini, plane-like camera to give his players a better understanding of his tactical demands.

Ong wants to help his squad get the big-picture perspective ahead of their Group B campaign.

“I’m going to show my players their overall movement, and how we can improve tactically. We have been using it for four days and it has helped,” he said.

One player who wasn’t moving so well was Nasir Basharuddin, with the defensive midfielder missing training due to a groin injury.

“It will be difficult for him to make it back in time. But I won’t be calling anymore players, as we only have a week left,” said Ong.

“We have Fakri [Saarani], Amri [Yahyah], S. Veenod and Irfan [Fazail] who can play in that position, so it’s no problem”.

Tuesday marked day two of the national team training at 3 p.m. to acclimatise to the Yangon heat, which will the likely conditions for their mid-afternoon games against Cambodia and Vietnam.

There have also been morning sessions, which provides a test of the players’ fitness.

“Our training have been intense in their own way. We have drafted the types of programme to be done at 3 p.m., and the players have adapted well,” Ong said.

Malaysia play Papua New Guinea on Nov. 14 in a Shah Alam friendly at 3 p.m..

FAM will open the stadium gates for free for Malaysia’s final warm-up game.

“As a sign of appreciation for the fans who have supported us throughout 2016, we will allow fans free entrance for the friendly,” said FAM secretary general Datuk Hamidin Amin in a statement.

“We hope they will come and support the team in droves before they leave for Yangon.”

The national team leave for Myanmar two days later, and play Cambodia in their Group B opener on Nov. 20.


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