THE Project 2019 squad’s failure to make the quarterfinals of the Champion of Champions is nothing to be ashamed of, said FA of Malaysia technical director Lim Kim Chon.
Project 2019 team finished third in Group C with two draws and one loss. They narrowly missed the cut to be one of the two third best-placed teams to qualify for the quarterfinals.
“There is no shame as they were playing against boys two years older than them. While they have the skills, the physical strength at this age makes a difference,” said Kim Chon, who is also the head of the national youth football development programme under the National Sports Council.
“This year, the quality of the competition is much higher and teams are more prepared. Obviously, the coaches at the state level are doing their job. And we at the national level could not be more than pleased with what has been shown so far,” he said.
Kim Chon added that there were plans to expand the Under-10 programme next year so that more players could get involved.
Project 2019 – with players who are aged 10 – is aimed at preparing a formidable squad for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2019.
In the meantime, defending champions Perlis will take on Patriot Medan of Indonesia in the first match of the quarterfinals tomorrow morning. The other match will be between MyKids Kedah and MyKids Terengganu.
“The rest day is good for the boys,” said Rosle Md Derus, the head coach of MyKids Perlis. “We played against Patriot Medan in our last game in the group, so it will be interesting to play them again.
“But we are fully prepared and will work on some things to be more effective.”