KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 : The Malaysian Under-23 football squad will only have about three weeks to prepare for their SEA Games mission in the Philippines next month, but the ‘boss’ is not perturbed.
According to head coach, Datuk Ong Kim Swee, his charges will begin training on Nov 4, two days after the Malaysia Cup final.
The players now in the senior squad for the 2022 World Cup / 2023 Asian Cup qualifying campaign, meanwhile, will only check in on Nov 20, after their two home games against Thailand on Nov 14 and Indonesia five days later.
Kim Swee, however, was not about to raise the short preparation time as an issue as he believes his boys would have had enough intensive training while with the national senior squad and their respective clubs.
“It’s not just us, the other teams such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia also in the same situation. They also have many U-23 players now playing for their senior teams.
“So, I do not see an issue here. The boys, except for those in the senior squad, will have three weeks to prepare before we fly to Manila on Nov 23 or Nov 24,” he said in a Team Malaysia media conference at the National Sports Council here today.
The football event at the games will take place between Nov 26 and Dec 10.
Kim Swee said there are also plans to hold a friendly match either on Nov 21 or Nov 22, and the opponent will be decided after the SEA Games draw to be held in Manila next Tuesday.
On the two overage slots, Kim Swee said a decision on who will make the cut will only be made after the pre-World Cup/Asian Cup matches were done.
Kim Swee said Malaysia was aiming for the gold to avenge their heartbreaking loss in the final to Thailand on home soil in the last edition two years ago.
Since football was contested in the first SEA Games organised in 1959, then known as the Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games, Malaysia has won six gold, six silver and seven bronze.