BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
After seeing his young charges fall to a 12-2 defeat on aggregate to Malaysia in the first play-off round of the World Cup/Asian Cup qualifiers, Timor-Leste head coach Norio Tsukitate admitted that he needs to start thinking of the team's future.
Their 5-1 hammering in the second leg encounter on Tuesday confirmed their exit from the qualifiers, and the Japanese trainer spoke after the match that there are aspects in his team's performance that needs to be worked on.
"My players simply lacked the experience. They managed to win the ball a number of times, but the mistakes they made allowed Malaysia to keep scoring. But they did their best and I like the way they played.
"They need to be more confident. They have the technique and can pass the ball around, no problem, but they were scared and panicked too quickly," he said.
When asked by Goal whether the fact that they had to play the second leg in Malaysia, although they were officially the home team, made things more difficult for them, Tsukitate revealed his frustration towards the Timor-Leste FA.
The Southeast Asian minnows last played a home game in their own country in 2015, in the previous World Cup/Asian Cup qualifying cycle. The federation's inability to prepare an adequate venue for international matches at home has seen them made Malaysia their second home, including in last year's AFF Championship, as well as in the play-off tie.
"I've been Timor-Leste head coach for over a year. Everyday I would request from the federation 'Please, home games in Timor-Leste'. But it's difficult and I'm getting tired [of having to keep requesting].
"Everyone knows the importance of playing home games in their own country," he spoke.
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A post shared by Goal Malaysia (@goal_malaysia) on Jun 11, 2019 at 9:30pm PDT