KHAIR VOWS TO WIN IT FOR COACH
Defender urges teammates to repay Kim Swee for his faith in them
WITH the uncertainty over the future of national coach Ong Kim Swee, defender Khair Jones has urged his teammates to play like never before to overcome the Philippines in a friendly tomorrow in Manila.
Malaysia have not won an opening season international match since the 2-0 win over Hong Kong in 2011.
“Kim Swee handed me my first cap last year and I will always be grateful to him.
“As a player, life goes on as our job is only to give the best for the country.
“Let’s beat the Philippines for a good start to the season,” said Khair before he and the other national players left for Manila yesterday.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day I would be playing for Malaysia. I grew up in New Zealand and played semiprofessional football for Hawke's Bay United FC before I moved to Malacca last February.
“Kim Swee also handed many others like me their first caps and for this, I will do my best on Wednesday, if given the opportunity.”
Although Kim Swee has a contract until the end of the year, his future is uncertain following statements by various parties that he would be replaced with former Darul Ta’zim trainer Mario Gomez after the FA of Malaysia (FAM) election on Saturday.
Khair, 28, made his international debut as a second half substitute in the 0-0 draw with Myanmar last May before marking his first start with a goal in the 3-0 thrashing of Timor Leste the following month.
He earned his third cap in the 2-0 victory over Papua New Guinea, also in June.
“It is good to be back with the national team following the failure to make the AFF Cup squad last year. Obviously, I want to prove myself again that I can play at this level.
“I have been pushing myself in training to impress the coaches.
“There are so many quality players in the team and if I get a break against the Philippines, I will not waste the opportunity,” he said.
Khair, who is of MalaysianWelsh parentage, is one the few utility players in the team who can play in the centre-back, leftback and left-wing positions.
“I am a regular with Malacca this season but I do not have a regular position in the team.
“I played two matches as a centre-back, one game as a left-wing and the rest as a left-back.
“Frankly, I am better suited for the left-back position but I am fine with anything,” said Khair.
Asked whether he still has communication issues with his teammates, both for club and national team, Khair admitted it was a problem in the past as he knew only a few words of Bahasa Melayu.
“My ‘bahasa’ has improved a lot and I have no communication problems. However, I still prefer to speak in English outside football,” Khair added.
Khair Jones (left) can play in the centre-back, left-back and left-wing positions.