Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Kim Swee demands more

NATIONAL interim coach Ong Kim Swee admitted his team need to tighten their defence and sharpen their attack ahead of tomorrow's Asian Cup Qualifying Group D match against Yemen in Al Ain.

   Malaysia, third in the group with four points, have a chance of qualifying for the 2015 Finals in Australia as the third-best ranked team if they beat Yemen convincingly and  former champions Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Hong Kong all fail  to win their  group matches.

   The national team produced exciting football but could not find the net in last weekend's 0-0 draw with the Philippines in Kim Swee's first match as senior coach.

   The coach has taken a calculated risk by leaving out Darul Ta'zim striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha but he believes those in the team are good attacking players.

   "We have only one day left to prepare for this match. I will be focusing on polishing-up our attack and defence," said Kim Swee when contacted in Al Ain yesterday.

   "Our strikers had numerous chances against the Philippines but could not find the net. However, the players did well to create those chances.

   "We may not get many chances against Yemen so  it is important our strikers make any that come our way  count."

   Former AFF Cup top scorer Safee Sali, Bobby Gonzales, Ahmad Fakri Saarani, Amril Yahyah and Baddrol Baktiar are Kim Swee's options in attack.

   "My defenders need to shape up into a variety of formations. They should adapt to  the changes in training," he said.

   Kim Swee also reminded his players the importance of performing well and beating Yemen.
 "I have selected the best players  for this match. My players are excited and eager to make an impact but they should play to instructions for the three points.

   "I have also reminded them the areas they need to improve on and adapt in training and also implement in the match," said Kim Swee.

   Kim Swee has done his homework analysing Yemen's previous matches and singled out striker Aiman Al-Hagri as their  most dangerous player.

   "Yemen were impressive in the 2-0 defeat to Bahrain recently. They have good individual players with Aiman being the most dangerous.

   "We need to take a cautious approach as Yemen are enterprising in counter-attacks. Aiman is skilful so  we must stop him from having too much of the ball," Kim Swee added.

Malaysia’s Safee Sali (left) in action against the Philippines in the friendly last weekend. The match ended 0-0. Pic by Goh Thean Howe

Read more: Kim Swee demands more - Soccer - New Straits Times

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