HEARTBREAK FOR EIGHT
Kim Swee to announce his 20-man squad today
DEVINDER SINGH email@example.com
ONG Kim Swee will wield the axe and cruelly shatter the Sea Games dreams of eight players when he announces his final 20-man squad today.
The national youth coach admits to having several major decisions to make with each of the 28 players in training deserving of a chance to play when the Sea Games football tournament kicks off on Wednesday.
Kim Swee will determine the composition of his final squad based on performances in training, the form of players for their clubs, injuries and ability to play in more than one position.
With limited places in the squad, Kim Swee is expected to drop three attacking players, two midfielders, two defenders and one goalkeeper.
“Definitely there are a lot of factors I have to consider,” said Kim Swee yesterday. “Fatigue, injuries and the versatility of the players all come into consideration.
“A player who can play in more than one position will have an advantage. I only want to select the best so I will have to be a bit cruel in making some decisions. Obviously I cannot keep everybody and can only select 20 players.”
Forward N. Thanabalan is still recovering from injury but Penang striker S. Kumaahran is back in training in a boost for his selection prospects.
After earlier calling up 27 players, Kim Swee added Perak midfielder Ahmad Khairil Anuar Ahmad Zamri to his training squad to increase his options.
“I have seven strikers to choose from for the Sea Games squad but how do I decide who to leave out?” said Kim Swee, referring to Jafri Firdaus Chew, Syafiq Ahmad, Ahkyar Rashid, Safawi Rashid, Sean Eugene Selvaraj, Kumaahran and Thanabalan.
“I have six midfielders in the squad and I can also only take two goalkeepers. It’s a big headache for me but it’s a good problem to have.”
Kim Swee gave an assurance that those who did not answer a call up for the AFC Under-23 Championship qualifying tournament in Bangkok last month would have an equal chance of making the Sea Games squad.
“I won’t hold it against them,” he said. “If I use that as a reason to drop one of them then I would have to drop the others as well.”
The six are Darul Ta’zim’s Haziq Nadzli and Safawi, Pahang’s Matthew Davies and Nor Azam Azih and Penang’s Syamer Kutty Abba and Kumaahran.
Malaysia open its football campaign on Wednesday against Brunei in a Group A match at the Shah Alam Stadium.