Thursday, November 7, 2013

Harimau Muda A Face Daunting Task In Myanmar Sea Games

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 (Bernama) -- Harimau Muda A are facing a daunting task in defending the SEA Games football gold medal in Myanmar in December as they are drawn with archrivals, Vietnam and Singapore in Group A.

In a draw held in Naypyidaw, Myanmar Wednesday, the national squad are also pitted against Brunei, the Philippines and Laos in the same group.

Host Myanmar also face an arduous task after being drawn in Group B along with Thailand, Indonesia, East Timor and Cambodia.

Group A matches will be held in Naypyidaw while Group B will play in Yangon.

For the record, Malaysia emerged champions at the 26th SEA Games in Jakarta, Indonesia after beating the hosts 4-3 in a penalty shootout as well as in the Laos SEA Games in 2009 after a 1-0 win over Vietnam.

National coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee, when contacted in Cambodia, said while Vietnam and Singapore were their big hurdles, he reminded the players not to underrate Laos, Brunei and the Philippines.

Harimau Muda A are currently in Cambodia since Nov 2, taking part in the BIDC Cup Under-23 Invitational Championship.

Describing the draw as balance, Kim Swee said the footballers were in top form with the exception of forward Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim who sustained serious injuries in the knee during training today.

"He needs to rest for a few days to enable him to make full recovery. The players are upbeat about playing in Myanmar after undergoing an intensive training since early this year," he said.

However, Kim Swee still nurturing hope that midfielder Junior Eldstal would make full recover from a spinal injury as he could play an instrumental role in the team.

"But I can't think about this too much as what is more important is to prepare the squad for the crunch," he added.

Malaysia will begin their campaign in Group A against the Philippines on Dec 2 followed by Brunei (Dec 4), Laos (Dec 7), Singapore (Dec 10) and Vietnam (Dec 14).


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