Male', MALDIVES - Maldives national team coach Petar Segrt has said that the pressure is on China when facing them on Tuesday night in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifier.
"We win against Guam with a very young team and nobody expects that. I am very happy to play against China tomorrow. We know China is the favorite but at the moment we have three points." Maldives coach Petar Segrt said in the pre-match press conference held at the National Stadium.
Segrt also said that he will finalize the team tomorrow morning due to some injuries to the players.
"We will decide the team tomorrow morning. Akram and Nooman has some injury. But I am very sure Ibrahim Waheed will play against China tomorrow. We need our support to him now as he lost his five member few weeks back. I am very proud of these players."
When asked about the inclusion of Ashfaq, Segrt responded the reason with a smile.
"Be realistic, Ashfaq called me after the win against Guam and congratulated the team and apologized for the mistake that he did. We all are humans and everybody makes mistakes. We need him and he is one of the best players in Maldives and there is nothing to discuss about it." Segrt added.
"I have waited for this call for one and half years and now I am also happy because now we have more options. If he can play or not that's something different. Please don't put all the pressure on him. We won against Guam without him, we won SAFF Suzuki Cup without him and we won against Bhutan by 7-0 without him. Se just give him time, he needs time."
Segrt also reiterated that they will focus only on their game plan and try to play their game.
"We will try to play our game, Guam and China is different. I don't want to say anything about my game plan right now."
"China has so many great players specially with the naturalized players and it will be a different China."
Maldives will kick off against China tomorrow night at 20:00 hours at the National Football Stadium.