Goodbye Ong Kim Swee and thank you for the memories.
The FA of Malaysia (FAM) will not be renewing the coach’s contract after two years following the Philippines Sea Games debacle.
Kim Swee’s team exited the tournament following embarrassing defeats to the Philippines (1-0) and Cambodia (3-1).
At the Ninoy Aquino International Airport yesterday, before the Malaysian team left for home, Kim Swee admitted he has been informed by FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam about their decision not to extend his contract. The move came less than 24 hours after the defeat to Cambodia in Manila.
“It is the decision of the management, and I have to accept it,” said the 49-year-old before boarding his flight to KL yesterday.”
“I must thank FAM for everything. As for now, I do not want to think yet about my future.
“I want to spend time with my family first. I will also focus on earning my coaching Pro Licence.”
On whether he was upset, Kim Swee said: “Throughout my time with FAM, I learnt a lot from the experience and exposure in coaching their teams.
“Not many coaches will get this kind of opportunity. For every football coach, achieving targets is the criterion.
“What we do on the pitch with the players is gauged in tournaments.
“It does not matter what a coach has done in the past. Even a coach who has brought a team to the World Cup in the past will be judged if he does not achieve a target.
“I am not upset. FAM have done a lot for me. I coached Bukit Jalil Sports School students in various national age-group squads and even the national senior team, thanks to them. In five Sea Games outings under Kim Swee, the national Under-22 team won gold in 2011, Indonesia and silver in 2017, Kuala Lumpur. In 2013, Myanmar, Malaysia reached the semi-finals.
Kim Swee’s other notable achievements were guiding his team to the Asian Under-23 quarter-finals and the last 16 of the Indonesia Asian Games last year. The Asian Games was notable as Kim Swee’s side defeated Son Heung Min’s South Korea in the group stage to reach the last 16 before they lost 1-0 to Japan.
Kim Swee had a short stint as national coach from September 2015 to December 2016 before he was replaced by Portuguese coach Nelo Vingada.
The senior team recorded seven wins, five draws and eight defeats under Kim Swee before he was re-designated as the national Under-22 coach again.
Kim Swee is highly regarded in Southeast Asia, and he will not have a problem getting a new team. In the past, he had received offers from Vietnam and Indonesia but he declined them to focus on his job with FAM.