‘RE­MEM­BER 1989’

Kim Swee tells play­ers to ‘re­live’ the spirit

New Straits Times - - Sport - AJIT­PAl SINGH ajit­pals­ingh@nst.com.my

COACH Ong Kim Swee has urged his na­tional Un­der-22 squad to de­velop a win­ning spirit to their foot­ball cam­paign by “re­liv­ing” the mem­o­ries of Malaysia’s tri­umph in the 1989 Sea Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Kim Swee said his 20-mem­ber team have depth and that he can af­ford to make five or six changes in each match dur­ing the bi­en­nial games.

In the 1989 edition, the Lim Teong Kimin­spired na­tional team de­feated Sin­ga­pore 3-1 at Merdeka Sta­dium in the fi­nal.

“A lot have been said about the 1989 team, but we have our own way to achieve the tar­get. We are mo­ti­vated to re­peat the ef­fort in 1989 in our own backyard,” said Kim Swee in Shah Alam yes­ter­day.

“Many teams are rat­ing Malaysia highly... it is just a psy­cho­log­i­cal thing oth­ers are try­ing to play to dis­ori­en­tate our team. We are not buy­ing it and I have re­minded my boys to just fo­cus on the com­pe­ti­tion.

Kim Swee dropped eight play­ers but third-choice goal­keeper Amierul Hakimi Awang will re­main with his squad as teams are al­lowed to re­place their in­jured goal­keep­ers dur­ing the tour­na­ment.

The oth­ers dropped were Raphi Az­izan Mari­ap­pen, Da­nial Ashraf Ab­dul­lah, Sea Eu­gene Sel­varaj, Do­minic Tan, Tommy Bada, Ah­mad Azrid­din Rosli and Ah­mad Khairil Anuar Zam­bri.

“It was tough to trim down the train­ing squad as those dropped were also ex­cel­lent in train­ing. It was the tough­est de­ci­sion I’ve made as a coach.

“I also con­sid­ered ex­pe­ri­ence of the play­ers as part of the se­lec­tion cri­te­ria. I also looked at al­ter­na­tives in each po­si­tion in case of in­juries.

“We will ro­tate the play­ers ac­cord­ing to the strengths of our op­po­nents,” said Kim Swee, who is coach­ing Malaysia for the fourth straight time in the Sea Games.

Strik­ers N. Than­a­balan and S. Ku­maahran were down with in­juries in train­ing, but Kim Swee said both are ready for the com­pe­ti­tion.

“Than­a­balan had a knee scan yes­ter­day, and based on the re­port, he shouldn’t take him long to re­turn to ac­tion. I ex­pect him to play for at least 30 min­utes against Sin­ga­pore in our sec­ond game on Wed­nes­day.

“Ku­maahran had a ham­string prob­lem but he man­aged to do full train­ing yes­ter­day,” he said.

Kim Swee said his play­ers have re­sponded pos­i­tively on all as­pects, but there are mi­nor things that need to be ad­dressed be­fore they open their Group A cam­paign against Brunei to­mor­row.

“The AFC Un­der-23 Qual­i­fiers in Bangkok is his­tory. I do not want the boys to be over­con­fi­dent af­ter hav­ing qual­i­fied for the AFC Un­der-22 Cham­pi­onship.

“We can­not take any team lightly. Brunei will be tricky as I be­lieve they will be re­al­is­tic when they play us. We want three points from this match.

“I am not think­ing about the mar­gin of vic­tory in the Sea Games...three points in each game is more im­por­tant as the aim is to first reach the semi-fi­nals,” said Kim Swee, adding that he hopes fans will pack the sta­dium to give added mo­ti­va­tion to his play­ers. THE SQUAD — Goal­keeper: Ifwat Ak­mal Chek Kas­sim, Haziq Nad­zli;

De­fend­ers: Ariff Farhan Isa, Adib Zain­ud­din, Matthew Davies, Syazwan Zaipol Ba­hari, Ir­fan Zakaria, Adam Nor Azlin;

Mid­field­ers: Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik, Syamer Kutty Abba, Syahmi Sa­fari, Nor Azam Ab­dul Azih, Da­nial Amier Norhisham, Syazwan Andik Ishak;

For­wards: Syafiq Ah­mad, S. Ku­maahran, N. Than­a­balan, Jafri Fri­daus Chew, Akhyar Rashid, Safawi Rashid.


Malaysia’s (from left) Fauzan Mohd Fauzi, Ah­mad Khairil Anuar, Syazwan Zaipol Ba­hari, Da­nial Ashraf Ab­dul­lah and Da­nial Amier dur­ing train­ing at the Shah Alam Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

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