Coach Kim Swee to decide on SEA Games squad after friendlies
Datuk Ong Kim Swee (fourth from right) is close to finalising his 20-player football squad for the Myanmar SEA Games.
PETALING JAYA: National Under-23 coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee is close to
finalising his 20-player football squad for the Myanmar SEA Games.
The former international has two more warm-up matches lined up – against
Johor Darul Ta’zim II in Larkin on Friday and the visiting Japanese
Third Division side FC Ryukyu at the MBPJ Stadium on Dec 4 – before
making the call.
“I’m going to have a tough time trimming the training squad from 26 to 20,” said Kim Swee on Thursday.
For the SEA Games, defending champions Malaysia are in Group A with
Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei and Laos. Group B comprises Indonesia,
Thailand, Timor Leste, Cambodia and hosts Myanmar.
Kim Swee said that the two friendlies would be crucial to test the players ahead of the SEA Games.
“I will try out a couple of new combinations due to injuries to several
key players. I want to see the best possible combinations before I
decide on the final 20,” said Kim Swee, who has lost several stalwarts,
including midfielder Junior Eldstal, who has been advised to take a
three-month rest due to a nagging back injury.
The other players who will miss the Games through injuries are defenders
Fandi Othman, Nik Shahrul Azim, midfielder Gary Steven Robbat, winger
Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor and forward Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim.
The only consolation for Kim Swee is the return of striker Izzaq Faris
Ramlan and attacking midfielder Ashri Chuchu from injuries.
The duo were put to the test in the recent overseas tour, including
playing in the invitational BIDC Cup in Cambodia and the two friendlies
against the Jordan Under-22 side which they lost 3-1 and 5-0.
Kim Swee’s boys will play Brunei in the opening Group A match on Dec 10 in Naypyitaw.