Kuala Lumpur: “If you stop when you’re tired, then you’re done.”

That’s the phrase that drives Zaquan Adha every single day and which the Malaysia captain has credited as being a major part of the collective and individual success of the side as they prepare to face Vietnam in the first leg of the final tomorrow.

“I have a motto that I live by, it’s my tag-line, and that’s to ‘never, ever stop when you’re tired.’

“It’s quite simple really and also has a big meaning for the team because when you stop if you’re tired then you’re done and we all know that.”

Having already overcome the odds, at least externally, to reach the final ahead of back-to-back champions Thailand, the 31-year-old said he’s not concerned with what perceptions others may have of the team and that the squad maintains a firm belief that they’re on the right track.


“I’m confident in our team because I know the character of our players, every single one of them and their strengths

“When I play I see our midfield where they can hold the ball, play the ball and pass the ball which is different from other teams but anybody can say anything but the only thing I’m worried about is that we play how we know and how we want to play.”

“Others can say anything, so if we talk about Malaysia having a good attack or Vietnam having a good defence only when you play you see the answer of those things and in football anything can happen.

One thing that’s been noticeable about the Malaysian squad all tournament is that there’s a genuine bond and camaraderie between the playing, coaching and support staff and there’s often a light-hearted edge to the team mixed in with the serious work of preparation and training and it’s that bond that Zaquan also points to as being behind the team’s success.

“Honestly before the start of the tournament I was quite confident that out team will be champions and for that we must train hard but I like the situation with the harmony in the team and the character of the players and that’s driving us for sure”