National training has started but OKS isn’t too happy about something

Harimau Malaysia head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee said that training the national team players separately is an uphill task, but he believes that it is the best option at the moment.

The ex-Harimau Muda A coach explained that he has to carry out training sessions in phases because a number of the players on the call-up list are involved with the FA Cup and AFC Cup, whereas only seven players are not taking part in either competition.

“The first thing that needs to be done is to maintain the fitness level of the players.

“Their teams are not involved in the FA Cup, which means that they would have a week off. If I had not called them, who knows what would happen to their fitness level?

“There is definitely not a coach who enjoys training in phases. Therefore, I understand the current situation and this is the best I can do before they face Saudi Arabia.

“That is why I decided to go to Jeddah on the same day that the players report in because then I would have more time to prepare rather than stay here and focus on the players’ recovery,” Datuk Ong Kim Swee said yesterday as quoted by Utusan Malaysia.

The seven Harimau Malaysia players that are currently present are Khairul Fahmi, Wan Zack Haikal, Brendan Gan, Matthew Davies, Norshahrul Talaha, Joseph Tie and Yong Kuong Yong.


Datuk Ong Kim Swee has had a lovely start to his tenure as national team head coach. He was warmly welcomed by Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Tengku Abdullah, who claimed that the Malacca-born coach was not his first choice to replace Dollah Salleh. He was criticized after announcing his 23-man squad for the upcoming matches against Saudi Arabia and Macau, leaving out the likes of Norazlan Razali, R. Gopinathan and Hadin Azman. Now, he began his first training session as Harimau Malaysia coach with only seven players.

Despite the setbacks he has suffered for the past two months, he has proven time after time that he is not easily broken down. The ex-Harimau Muda A coach made the best out of the current situation with the national team by giving them fitness regimes to work on, in order to avoid getting injuries before the other players report in. Once all of the players arrive, he will have less than week to prepare the newly-arrived players before they play their last 2018 World Cup/2019 Asian Cup qualification, but will be ready for their tie against Macau.

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