June 10, 2013
By : Ajitpal Singh |

Kim Swee remains adamant

ON COURSE: Coach believes Under-23 squad's Sea Games preparations on track

Ong Kim Swee’s squad will  play in the Merdeka Tournament in August.

DESPITE only one win in 12 matches in Europe, national Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee is not about to press the panic button as the former international believes his team are on the right track in their preparations for the Myanmar Sea Games in December.

Malaysia drew 0-0 and 1-1 with Velke Ludince and Slovakia's Under-19 side in their opening two matches in March, followed by defeats to Georgia's Under-21 team (7-1), Slovakia's MSK Zilina (4-1, 3-2) and FC Nitra (2-0); Hungary's Kaposvari Rakocz (3-0) and FGSZ Siofok (4-0).

They drew 0-0 with Norway's Under-19 side in Budapest before losing 1-0 to Sparta Praha's Under-21 side in Prague, followed by their only win over Slavia Praha's Under-21 team and a 2-2 draw with Slovan Duslo.

Kim Swee's side will play MFK Ruzomberok on Saturday and then FK Banska Dukla Bystrica, three days later before ending their tour with two yet-to-be-named opponents on June 22 and June 26 in Vienna, Austria.

The team are missing several players including midfielder Gary Steven Robbat and defender Amer Saidin due to injury and the likes of Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor, Nazirul Naim Che Hashim, K. Reuben, Zubir Azmi and Nazmi Faiz Mansor who are attached to their respective clubs.

The squad will return to Kuala Lumpur after the World University Games on July 6-17 in Kazan, Russia before competing in the Merdeka Tournament in August.

The team for the World University Games will comprise 15 Young Tigers 'A' members and five university players currently playing in the Super League and the Premier League. The tournament is an important tune-up for the team ahead of the Sea Games.

Malaysia, who finished 12th out of 16 teams in the Shenzhen edition in 2011, will play Italy, Britain and Algeria

"I will name a squad of 20 players for the Kazan assignment soon, so the final four friendly matches in Slovakia and Austria will be crucial for the players," said Kim Swee on twitter. "We have so far learned a lot playing against quality opponents. My players play without fear but are prone to making individual mistakes.

"We may have won only once but every defeat has been a good lesson. We are gradually improving and continuous exposure will make us stronger for the Sea Games."

Kim Swee has identified one non-international for the World University Games. Junior Edstal, who plays for Premier League side Sarawak, will be tested in Kazan and if the England-born impresses, he could be considered for the Sea Games.

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