Wednesday, May 27, 2015

U-23 Squad Win will boost spirit of National Contingent to Singapore

PETALING JAYA, May 27 (Bernama) -- A win by the football squad under coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee in their match against Timor Leste this Saturday will boost the spirit of the national contingent to the SEA Games in Singapore.

SEA Games contingent head Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said the under-23 team must win comfortably in its first match at Bishan Stadium.

"The team is ready to give their best performance in the game with Timor Leste. I hope they will score by a good margin.

"The football squad is the first team to head to Singapore. Fatigue should not be an issue even though they are going by bus because the trip has been well arranged," he said.

He said this after handing over the Jalur Gemilang to the national under-23 squad at Wisma Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia, here today.

Malaysia's team has a daunting task ahead after being drawn in Group B with defending champions Thailand and Vietnam, besides Laos, Brunei and Timor Leste.

The young national squad will open their campaign facing Timor Leste on May 30, Vietnam (June 2), Thailand (June 4) and Brunei (June 8) before ending the group-level round, against Laos on June 11.

All Group B matches would be played at Bishan Stadium while Group A, involving Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Cambodia, at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Meanwhile, Kim Swee said the team must realise its main mission of winning the gold medal at the biennial games.

He said group-level action should be the focus while Timor Leste, Brunei and Laos must not be underestimated.

"Vietnam and Thailand may be our main challenge. But we cannot brush aside Timor Leste, Brunei and Laos," he cautioned.

The coach could only hope that his players would not sustain serious injuries, which could disrupt his original strategy.

"This time we are going with a fully fit team. During the last SEA Games, our team suffered a lot of injuries. I had to substitute many of the players and change my strategy," he said.

Malaysia won the gold twice, in 2009 in Laos and in Jakarta in 2011.


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