HEART­BREAK FOR EIGHT

Kim Swee to an­nounce his 20-man squad to­day

New Straits Times - - Sport -

DEVIN­DER SINGH devin­der@nst.com.my

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.

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