Kim Swee goes for gold

New Straits Times - - Sport -

DE­SPITE the lim­ited time, na­tional un­der-22 coach Ong Kim Swee be­lieves he will be able to turn his play­ers into a for­mi­da­ble unit to win the gold at the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games in Au­gust.

Kim Swee does not have the lux­ury of time, con­sid­er­ing that the foot­ball com­pe­ti­tion in the Sea Games starts in 78 days.

“It will be my fourth Sea Games as a coach and in the pre­vi­ous edi­tions, the tar­gets were also gold medals. It is no dif­fer­ent this time around.

“Win­ning the Sea Games ti­tle is im­por­tant and as the hosts, we surely want to achieve the tar­get,” said Kim Swee at Wisma FAM yes­ter­day.

Yes­ter­day, Kim Swee had his first ses­sion with the play­ers on his re­turn as the un­der-22 coach, The team will go for a play­ing tour in China next month. Kim Swee is also pre­par­ing the team for the AFC Un­der23 qual­i­fiers in Bangkok on July 19-23, where Malaysia are in Group H with Thai­land, In­done­sia and Mon­go­lia.

Kim Swee’s squad will head to Xiang­tan for a friendly with China’s un­der-22 team on June 8, fol­lowed by play­ing the re­serve sides of Guangzhou R&F (June 13) and Guangzhou Evan­grande (June 15).

They will next face a Su­per League side on June 22 and break camp on the fol­low­ing day.

“The AFC qual­i­fiers is very im­por­tant. Qualification would mean that we will have a chance to play against top Asian teams,” said the coach.

All the trainees, ex­cept for Safawi Rasid, who is in Manila with Darul Ta’zim for to­mor­row’s AFC Cup match against Ceres Ne­gros, re­ported yes­ter­day.

How­ever, Felda United mid­fielder Ah­mad Azrid­din Rosli and Sarawak’s Nur Shamie Iszuan Amin are down with mi­nor in­juries.

“I re­tained most of the play­ers from the pre­vi­ous squad (un­der Frank Bern­hardt) and added some new faces. I have my own pro­gramme for the team. The matches in China are im­por­tant for me to an­a­lyse the play­ers. I still have the time to look into the play­ers’ progress,” Kim Swee added.

Pa­hang de­fender Matthew Davies and mid­fielder Muhd Nor Azam Ab­dul Azih are also el­i­gi­ble for the Sea Games but they are now with the se­nior team in China.

PIC BY OWEE AH CHUN

Na­tional un­der-22 coach Ong Kim Swee with his play­ers at Wisma FAM yes­ter­day.

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