Exclusive: Malaysia U-22 to play in S.League next year – OKS

Datuk Ong Kim Swee will once again guide Harimau Muda A in the Singapore League (S.League) next year.

During their first stint in the S.League back in 2012, Harimau Muda A (Malaysia U23) involving the likes of Thamil Arasu, Wan Zack Haikal, Wan Zaharulnizam, Izham Tarmizi, Mahalli Jasulli, finished fourth.

In 2013, the team decided to train and participate in the National Premier League of Queensland and their place in the S.League was replaced by Harimau Muda B, who finished the 2014 season at the bottom of the table with only 20 points in 27 games.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) recently announced that Harimau Muda A will return to the S.League in 2015 under head coach, Datuk Ong Kim Swee, whose team will also be competing in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.

However, this time around it won’t be the Malaysia U23 team. Instead it would be an U22 team who will use the S.League to prepare for the AFC U22 Championship qualification round in March 2015 and eventually the SEA Games at the end of the year.

Speaking exclusively to, Datuk Ong Kim Swee said: “I will most likely form an U22 team for the S.League, who will at the same time prepare for the AFC U22 qualifying round and majority of them will also play in the SEA Games 2015.”

It is also understood that the squad will be completely different from the one that participated back in 2012.

“I am currently holding trials for players from Harimau Muda B, C and also from other clubs to form a team for the S.League next year.

“This is how I see my team shaping up. Majority of the players will be from Harimau Muda A, especially those who were with us in NPL Queensland this year. I’ll also select some players from Harimau Muda B, C and some good players from other clubs upon spotting any. I think by December, I should have a team ready.” he added.

Half of the current Harimau Muda A team are likely to be leaving the team to play for M.League clubs and Datuk Ong Kim Swee will expect his new team to at least improve their standing in the S.League from the past two years.

“This team is totally different from my team in 2012 where we finished fourth in the league. Most of the players we had then, had more exposure and experience in international matches, so we were one of the title contenders in the S.League.

“But this time there are very few players who have experience at international level and also the S.League like Shahrul Saad and Farhan Abu Bakar but as a whole, the team will need time. So I’m not targeting high for the team next year. We just hope to improve from last two years and gain as much experience we can.”

The head coach also went on to add that he expects his team to make it to the final of the 2015 SEA Games.

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