Friday, November 18, 2011

Coach Ong praises his charges for their courage

JAKARTA: National Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee wants his players to keep their feet firmly on the ground following their superb 1-0 win over hosts Indonesia en route to qualifying for the semi-finals of the men’s Under-23 football competition.

He said there was still some unfinished business for them in their SEA Games campaign, after topping Group A with 10 points from three wins and a draw.

“Everything we have done will mean nothing if we don’t defend our gold medal,” Kim Swee said at the post-match conference yesterday.

Malaysia defeated Indonesia 1-0 in their last Group A match thanks to substitute Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim’s solitary strike in the 17th minute at the 100,000-capacity Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Senayan last night.
They had earlier drawn with Singapore 0-0 and defeated fancied Thailand 2-1 and Cambodia 4-1.
Kim Swee paid tribute to his boys for their courage and perseverance in getting past the biggest hurdle in the group, Indonesia and their vociferous 100,000 fans.

“As you can see we were not just playing against 11 men – but against another 100,000 Indonesians! My boys played well and I hope they will continue to show the same commitment in the next game against Myanmar on Saturday.

“The only problem is the condition of the pitch ... it has deteriorated over the last few days. Hopefully, it won’t rain over the next two days,” said Kim Swee, who was given the marching orders in the 69th minute.
Asked about his sending off, Kim Swee said: “Don’t ask me. Ask the referee.”
Kim Swee said they would not underestimate Myanmar.

“Any team who have reached the last four should be considered a strong side,” he said. - THE STAR

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