Tardy wants players to stay focused
Richard Tardy has urged his national Under-22 players to persevere in their preparations as the South-east Asia (SEA) Games nears, even if there may be setbacks along the way.
The SEA Games football coach liked what he saw during a recent training camp, but reminded them that it is only the start of their road to Kuala Lumpur in August.
"I wanted to start our preparation for the year and have the chance to talk a little bit to the players," said the Frenchman.
"There was a good spirit within the team during the two weekends, but it is only the beginning.
"We must keep the passion going during these eight months.
"We know that it will sometimes be difficult and sometimes we may lose (matches).
"But we must keep the target - the SEA Games in August - always in view."
The training camp took place over the past two weekends, and saw the 28-strong squad train twice a day.
The team, with an average age of 19.3 years, were also given talks on topics such as target-setting and nutrition.
Said midfielder Hami Syahin: "The time we spent together as a squad helped us get to know one another better, and help us bond as a team.
"And when we get along well off the field, we're more likely to have good chemistry on it.
"Also, the intensity of the daily double training sessions were really high, so, especially for those of us who are students or have NS commitments, it was really good for us."
A busy 2017 looms for the U-22 team.
In March, they are set to take part in a friendly tournament featuring Saudi Arabia, Jordan, China, Thailand and hosts the United Arab Emirates.
Friendlies have also been pencilled in for May and June, before the team compete in the AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers in July, where they will play at least three games.
Their focus will then turn to the SEA Games.
Said Tardy: "Our preparations for the SEA Games did not only start now.
"It started last year in March, when I took over the team and we went to Iran (for two international friendlies).
"The players know me, they know I am very exigent.
"And they know if I am not happy with their quality, they will lose their place in the team."