Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Coach regards 2013 as crucial year for Harimau Muda A

Source: Borneo Post

KUALA LUMPUR: Harimau Muda A chief coach, Ong Kim Swee,  regards 2013 as an important year for him to map out the right strategy to defend the SEA Games crown which the national football Under-23 side have won twice in a row.

Malaysia broke Thailand’s stranglehold on the biennial sports Games in 2009 under the stewardship of Datuk K Rajagobal to win the coveted medal for the first time in Laos.This was followed by Kim Swee’s achievement in 2011 when they beat hosts Indonesia 4-3 through a penalty shootout in the final.

“My main focus is on retaining the SEA Games gold in 2013 which will be hosted by Myanmar,” Kim Swee was quoted as saying in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) website www.aseanfootball.org.

“To defend the crown is already hard, what more when we are defending the double crown. Everyone will be out to beat us.

“But we have been strategising since last year when we won in Jakarta on how to defend the title.
“So the next year will be important to put our programme together,” he said.

Kim Swee said that the team had shown to be competitive after winning the SEA Games gold, besides having won the Thanh Nien Cup (Newspaper Cup in Vietnam with the U-21 squad) early this year.

“Obviously, we cannot sit on our laurels as the other teams are also making progress.

“That is why it is important for us to take part in regional tournaments as it is a definite way to assess our level and to also gauge the quality of our opponents.

“The final three months before the Games in Myanmar will be important where by then, I would already have the core players on board” he added.

Harimau Muda A squad will not compete in the Singapore League (S-League) to prepare themselves to defend the SEA games football crown for a third time in a row.

They, instead will undergo  a five-month training stint in Slovakia from March  until August where they are expected to hold 15 friendly matches.

Prior to this, they will hold be friendly matches in Gold Coast, Australia from Jan 23 until Feb 6, 2013 before starting their training stint at Slovakia.

After returning from Slovakia, Harimau Muda A are expected to be involve in the Pestabola Merdeka and also the Newspaper Cup.

Harimau Muda B squad under the tutelage of former Kuala Lumpur coach, Razip Ismail will replace Harimau Muda A in the S-League next year. — Bernama

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