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Let’s keep improving, says football coach Kim Swee

by June 12, 2016 General

Harimau Malaya coach Ong Kim Swee on his return with the team at KLIA airport October 14, 2015, from Timor Leste. — Bernama picHarimau Malaya coach Ong Kim Swee on his return with the team at KLIA airport October 14, 2015, from Timor Leste. — Bernama picPETALING JAYA, June 12 — National coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee says Malaysia will first need to prove themselves against lower ranked opponents before they can pit forces against stronger nations as the national team embarked on a two-week playing stint to Australia yesterday.

Malaysia, who made the final round qualifiers of the 2019 Asian Cup following a 6-0 aggregate playoff triumph against Timor Leste last week will play Papua New Guinea (June 17), New Caledonia (June 22) and Fiji (June 26).

All three countries are below the 173-ranked Harimau Malaysia on the world rankings, with Papua New Guinea occupying 193rd spot, New Caledonia (183) and Fiji (186).

“We want to play better teams, but first we must be on par with them. So let us prepare ourselves better before we can play higher ranked teams,” said Kim Swee during a breaking fast ceremony before the team departed for Brisbane, Australia yesterday.

The 45-year-old was also pleased with the fact the team are poised for a couple of friendlies against Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia as build-up to the biennial AFF Cup in November.

“Before this, nobody wanted to play with us, but now we are getting are some competitive friendlies. This Australia tour is important not only for results and ranking, but also for team building and to strengthen the camaraderie within the team,” said Kim Swee.

Khair Jones, who netted Malaysia’s opening goal against Timor Leste in the second-leg 3-0 victory on his debut was eager to build on that success.

“It still feels surreal for me to have been selected, and then get on the scoresheet. I never expected to get a national call-up so early, its built up my confidence knowing I can deliver on a big stage.

“That performance is certainly motivation for me to continue doing well in national colours. It will be a challenge to continue making the first team, as we also have Fazly Mazlan who is a great player,” said the leftback.

The national team left without national skipper Safiq Rahim, Matthew Davies and R.Gopinathan who are all injured.

They were replaced by Mahali Jasuli and Zaquan Adha.