LAHORE - "The next big step for us in our preparation for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2008 would be to retain the Merdeka Cup we won last year. We hope to play skillfully against Pakistan in 10th October international friendly which should act as the final preparation in confirming the starting eleven and also the rest of the players in the squad for Merdeka Cup," this is stated by Malaysia head coach B. Sathianathan who added that the lessons from recent trip to Slovakia and coming Malaysia-Pakistan clash will be put to good use when Malaysia open their campaign in the Shah Alam stadium. On the other hand Pakistan will show their mettle under newly-appointed Sargodha-based coach Shahzad Anwar who has termed the Friday's FIFA-recognized international  as a positive step taken by the PFF Chief  to provide the players a good exercise just ahead of two big assignments next year. "Our footballers have good fitness levels, but skill-wise we have to learn more and it is this factor which prevents us to perform up to the expectations. Such internationals will help Pakistan football a lot," said Shahzad, one of coaches working under the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) AID-27 Financial Assistance Scheme. Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)'s President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat and  Football Association of Malaysia (FAM)'s President Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah had decided to give international exposure to their National teams  prior to the tough assignments. Malaysia's immediate challenge is  40th Merdeka Cup to held at Selangor's Shah Alam Stadium from October 15-25 followed by Indonesia/Thailand's  Suzuki Cup from 5-28 December while Pakistan is looking forward to 2009's AFC Challenge Cup and 11th South Asian Games. The eagerly-awaited match at Kuala Lumpur's Merdeka Stadium will be counted in monthly FIFA World Ranking. Currently at 161 in FIFA Ranking, Malaysia will find Pakistan hard nut to crack despite their 168th slot among 208 nations affiliated with FIFA. It will be sixth meeting between two Asian nations after previous five internationals brought three wins to Malaysia while Pakistan managed lone win way back in 1981. Pakistan is most successful nation of South Asian Games Football  with four golds (1989, 1991, 2004, 2006) while Malaysia, one of the 11 members of  ASEAN Football Federation (AFF), clinched golds in SEA Games Soccer of 1961, 1977,1979 and 1989.