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Saturday September 21, 2013 MYT 7:25:00 PM
Saturday September 21, 2013 MYT 7:27:04 PM
Ong Kim Swee: 'I believe this match will be a good experience for our second stringers because they rarely have a chance to play for the team.'
PETALING JAYA: Coach Ong Kim Swee wants the reserves in the Harimau Muda A team to step up when they take on Australian League’s Central Coast Mariners in the invitational Menpora Cup Group A match at the Jalak Harupat Stadium in Bandung on Sunday.
The Harimau Muda will be without skipper Mohd Irfan Fazail and centreback Mohd Fadhli Shah after the duo suffered injuries in the 2-2 draw against Persib Bandung in their opening match on Friday.
“We will miss a number of key players through injury. I expect their replacements to step up and be counted. They should show a positive attitude and try to break into the first team,” said Kim Swee.
The former international said it would be tough for his Under-23 side to beat A-League runners-up Central Coast Mariners, who outclassed Sriwijaya 2-0 in their first match.
“The Central Coast Mariners have brought their best players here. They are using the competition as part of the build-up to the new season.
“We have to be realistic here ... we are an Under-23 side and they are a club that play in the Asian Champions League. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t try to win the match.
“I believe this match will be a good experience for our second stringers because they rarely have a chance to play for the team.”
One area which Kim Swee will be looking to improve is defence.
“We did well against Persib Bandung. Playing an Indonesian side in front of their home crowd is never easy but the boys showed great courage and kept their cool despite several questionable refereeing decisions,” said the 43-year-old coach.
“They need to maintain that maturity against the Central Coast Mariners and we need to work on our defence. We can’t afford to give space to the Australians as they are physically superior and will pounce on our mistakes,” added Kim Swee.
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football, Harimau Muda, Ong Kim Swee, reserves, Menpora Cup, Persib Bandung, Central Coast Mariners
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