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Malaysia football coach puts premium on chemistry as SEA Games near

/ 02:31 PM November 18, 2019
Kim Swee Malaysia

Coach Ong Kim Swee (second from right) instructing his players during training at Wisma FAM for the upcoming SEA Games. (Bernama/The Star)

With just six days to go before the national Under-23 team leave for the Philippines SEA Games, head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee is working on the team’s chemistry.

He has had to work with his first batch of 20 players with another six from the national Under-19 squad, who won the AFC Under-19 Championships qualifiers in Cambodia and will have another six coming in from the national team.

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Two more over-aged players will also be added to the squad.

Kim Swee has axed five players from his first batch and is now looking to use the next six days to strengthen the team’s chemistry.

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He worked with the first batch of players for two weeks and was happy to see their fitness level rise day-by-day. They also understand his style of play. But, with the new additions, chemistry has become important.

Thus, the former Harimau Muda coach Kim Swee is looking to work on it.

“It has been going smoothly so far. The first batch trained with us for two weeks, while the six Under-19 boys who played in the AFC Under-19 qualifiers have joined us now for four days, ” he said.

“They are blending well and fitness levels are improving.

“My assistant (Malaysia Under-19 coach Brad Maloney) trained them, and we both share the same philosophy. So, there is no issue with the style of play. Right now, they just need to gel together with the older boys.”

Kim Swee said the Under-19 players have shown some positives during training sessions and he rates them highly as they weren’t among the five dropped.

On Saturday, five players – Ariff Ar-Rasyid Ariffin (PKNS FC), Amirul Ashraf Ariffin (Selangor), A Shivan Pillay (PKNS FC), Nik Azli Nik Alias (Kelantan) dan Haziq Subri (Perak) – were left out of the training squad.

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The decision was made after the team’s 4-0 victory against Super League side Petaling Jaya City in a friendly at the MPSJ Stadium on Friday.

Kim Swee said another friendly would be held once the national players aged below 23 – Haziq Nadzli, Akhyar Rashid, Safawi Rasid, Syamer Kutty Abba, Daniel Amier Norhisham and Dominic Tan – join the squad on Wednesday.

As for overaged players, Kim Swee has listed Irfan Zakaria as one of the two players for Manila. One more player will be finalised before they fly to Manila on Nov 23.

“Chemistry is the main thing we have to work on and we will look to improve on that once the national players join the training squad after the game against Indonesia tomorrow.”

Malaysia are drawn in a relatively easy Group A with hosts the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Timor Leste.

At the Kuala Lumpur Games two years ago, Malaysia finished runners-up following a 1-0 loss to Thailand in the final.

In 2011, Kim Swee led the team to the gold medal after beating Indonesia 4-3 on penalties. Both sides were tied 1-1 after extra-time at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.

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TAGS: 2019 SEA Games, Football, Indonesia, Kim Swee, Philippines, Soccer
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