MALAYSIAN Juniors team manager Mirnawan Nawawi believes there will be no easy matches in the Junior Asia Cup in Kuantan starting on Saturday.
And the three-time Olympian has even dubbed Group A as the 'group of death'.
"Malaysia are in 'group of death' as India, China and Japan will be fielding players who have the basics and skills to cause an upset if given the slightest advantage.
"But on the same note, our players are primed to face the challenges thrown at them and qualify for next year's Junior World Cup," said Mirnawan.
India as Junior World Cup hosts, have qualified, but will be the team to beat in Kuantan. Three other slots are available in the Junior Asia Cup, and Malaysia must reach the semi-finals to grab one.
The hosts are defending champions, and went on to finish fourth in the last Junior World Cup which was also held in New Delhi in 2013.
"As the champions, we need to keep our dignity intact and that means beating China in the first match on Saturday.
"We had very little knowledge about China and also Japan, but after watching them training in Kuantan, we have an idea on how to overcome both these teams. China and Japan players are no pushovers, but can be beaten," said Mirnawan.
As for India, Malaysia lost 1-2 to them in the Sultan of Johor Cup and they went on to finish as silever medallists while Malaysia claimed the bronze.
"We know India, and they too know us, as we played a grueling match against them in the SOJC. India will be our toughest opponents in Kuantan," said Mirnawan.
Malaysia need to finish among the top-two in Group A to have an easier quarter-finals passage against either Bangladesh or Oman. The other Group B teams are South Korea and Pakistan.
All eight teams qualify for the last eight, and one win here will book a berth to New Delhi next year.
For the record, Malaysia are not only the Junior Asia Cup defending champions, but also the highest ranked Asian team as they finished fourth in the Junior World Cup, while South Korea eighth, Pakistan ninth and India 10th.
GROUP A: India, Malaysia, Japan, China.
GROUP B: Korea, Pakistan, Oman, Bangladesh.
FIXTURES: Nov 14: Group A: Malaysia v China (6pm, Pitch I), India v Japan (8.15pm, Pitch I).
Group B: Pakistan v Bangladesh (4pm, Pitch I), South Korea v Oman (4.30pm, Pitch II).
Nov 15: Group A: China v Japan (6pm, Pitch I), Malaysia v India (8.15pm, Pitch I).
Group B: Pakistan v South Korea (4pm, Pitch I), Oman v Bangladesh (4.30pm, Pitch II).
Nov 16: REST DAY
Nov 17: Group A: India v China (6pm, Pitch I), Japan v Malaysia (8.15pm, Pitch I).
Group B: Oman v Pakistan (4pm, Pitch I), South Korea v Bangladesh (4.30pm, Pitch II).
Nov 18: REST DAY
Nov 19: Quarter-finals.