KUALA LUMPUR: National Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee believes his charges will be even more fired up if the FA of Malaysia (FAM) succeeds in their bid to host the finals of the 2020 AFC Under-23 Championship.
According to him, playing on home turf will not provide much of an advantage to the players though the immense support from home fans is seen as a very important element in helping to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olmpic Games.
“For me this is a very good, noteworthy effort by FAM in wanting to bid to host the finals of the Under-23 Championship. If successful, as hosts we cannot be too comfortable or rest on our laurels because it is no guarantee we will succeed, but at least with the strong support of the home fans, it will bring about a different impact to the players.
“It is obvious that such a move which has received the support and blessings from FAM president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim proves that FAM have carried out their homework and necessary preparations in facing the championship. Even though it is still two years away, we must make early preparations and the first step is to bid to host the championship,” he said when contacted here earlier today.
Plans to bid for hosting rights for the 2020 AFC Under-23 Championship were announced by FAM secretary general, Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin earlier this week as efforts to help the national Under-23 squad to fight for a ticket to the Olympic Games, as the last time Malaysia qualified was more than thirty-eight years ago for the 1980 Moscow Olympics in the former Soviet Union.
Apart from this, Hamidin also confirmed that they have agreed to send the best possible Under-23 squad for the upcoming Asian Games in August even though there was an earlier suggestion by Kim Swee to instead send a team made up of mostly Under-21 players as preparation in facing qualifying for the 2020 AFC Under-23 Championship which will take place next year.
For Kim Swee, who guided the Under-23 team to making history in qualifying for the quarter-finals of this year’s AFC Under-23 Championship in China last month, he has no problem with the decisions that have been made.
“We will be sending the Under-23 squad for the Asian Games, it’s just that when the time comes, I will see and decide how in terms of player selection because the Malaysia League is currently ongoing,” said the former Harimau Malaya head coach.