KEMAMAN, Dec 5 (Bernama)-- The national women's football squad losing 0-14 to Thailand in their opening match in the football competition of the Laos SEA Games in Vientiane yesterday has somewhat tarnished the image of the country, said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
He said the defeat should serve as a lesson to other sports contingents not to send teams just to "fill the numbers" without taking into consideration their potential.
"It is also a reminder to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) to have proper standards in place and not field teams because the financial capability allows it. The nation's image is at stake," he told reporters when asked for his comments on the result, here on Saturday.
Ahmad Shabery, who was visiting flood victims at the Padang Kemunting flood relief centre here, said he hoped the team would make amends in the following matches to come.
Despite the dismal start by the women's football squad, Ahmad Shabery expressed confidence that Malaysia would meet their target of capturing between 30 and 35 gold at the meet, which officially begins next Wednesday.
Malaysia will be represented by a contingent of 370 athletes and 120 officials at the Games. The contingent will be competing in 20 of the 25 sports on offer.