- BY ERIC SAMUEL -
PETALING JAYA: National Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee will have the core of the Harimau Muda A squad until the Incheon Asian Games in 2014.
He said 11 players from the winning team at the 2011 Jakarta SEA Games will be eligible – for next year’s SEA Games in Mynamar as well as the Asiad the following year.
“I am not bragging but we do have the core of the players for the two Games. We are on the right track but the players need more exposure to elevate their standards at international level,” said Kim Swee.
The Harimau Muda A squad under Kim Swee are currently playing in the Singapore League and next year a training-cum-playing stint in Brazil is on the cards.
“If we find the setting in Brazil suits the boys we will make it our training base for our preparations to retain the SEA Games football gold medal,” said Kim Swee.
The 11 from the Jakarta gold medal winning squad are Izham Tarmizi (goalkeeper), Mohd Fadhli Shas, Amer Saidin, Fandi Othman, Zubir Azmi (defenders), Nazmi Faiz, Irfan Fazail, Wan Zaharulnizam Zakaria (midfielders), A. Thamil Arasu, Izzaq Faris Ramlan and Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim (strikers).
Kim Swee said they have another two Harimau Muda A players who missed the Jakarta SEA Games due to injuries – midfielder’s Gary Steven Robbat and Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor – with the first team.
“There are a couple more of attacking players like Rozami Abdul Rahman (Sabah) and Ashri Chuchu (Sarawak) featuring for their respective state teams in the M-League, are also eligible for the two Games.”
In the S-League, the boys have dropped to fifth spot in the 13-team standings after the 3-0 defeat by Home United FC on Saturday. They have 32 points from 10 wins, two draws and six defeats. Kim Swee said they should be able to meet their target of a top five finish in the S-League with six more matches to play.
“I am sure we can finish better than our present fifth place,” he said.
Six of Kim Swee’s boys have been called up for trials with the national team by coach Datuk K. Rajagopal for the Suzuki Cup AFF championships scheduled for November.
The Harimau Muda A will be competing in the Newspaper Cup Under-21 tournament in Vietnam from Oct 11-21. They have been drawn with Indonesia and Iraq in Group A while in Group B are Singapore, Syria and hosts Vietnam.
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