Kuching: Macau coach Tam Iao San took pride in the performance of his players despite seeing his side lose 1-0 in the final of the AFC Solidarity Cup Malaysia 2016 to Nepal at Sarawak Stadium on Tuesday evening.
A first-half goal from Sujal Shreshtha was all that separated the teams over the course of the 90 minutes and, although the Macanese slipped to the loss, Tam was in a positive frame of mind after the game.
“Even though we lost the final I still thank God for the team’s effort,” he said. “My players gave 100 percent in the game and congratulations to Nepal. They had a better performance today and honestly they created many chances, more than us, so I think they deserved it.
“For us, if you are in the final you have to fight but especially in these difficult conditions they had more speed and individual ability. Nepal performed better than us and showed better individual ability than us.
“It’s a very good experience to have a chance to play with Nepal because this is another style compared to how we play in east Asia.”
The defeat brings to an end an impressive run of form for Macau, who emerged from the group phase unbeaten following wins over Mongolia and Laos and a draw with Sri Lanka before a penalty shootout win against Brunei Darussalam took them through to the final.
The AFC Solidarity Cup presented Macau’s representative team with the rare opportunity to play an international tournament and coach Tam was hopeful the positive impact could be felt in the future for football in the territory.
“I’d like to thank the organising committee and the AFC,” he said. “We lost but we gained some value from the tournament and hopefully in the future we can let our players know that they have to work hard to improve.
“We lost the game but we didn’t lose anything at the tournament, we gained something. We already reached our target, we wanted to get to the semi-finals and we finished second and this is some encouragement for Macau football.
“The senior players now know the standard. It’s very difficult and I hope the players can motivate themselves because we are only sometimes able to train once or twice a week. They have to do extra training if they want to play at international level. It’s a very good tournament to let them know what their ability is on this kind of stage and hopefully they can share the experience for the next generation of Macau football.
“As a coach we have to learn the lessons. Physically we are weaker than Nepal and we have less speed also. One-on-one even the same. In my opinion as a coach we have to look at how to develop players, young players to keep the national team stable and then to go a step or more further.”