Football

Published: Tuesday December 3, 2013 MYT 6:19:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday December 3, 2013 MYT 6:35:01 PM

Injuries main concern for football squad ahead of SEA Games

Wan Zack Haikal (center) is one of five SEA Games football players who are sidelined through injury as Malaysia's coach Ong Kim Swee prepares the team to defend the Games gold medal won in Jakarta two years ago. - Filepic

Wan Zack Haikal (center) is one of five SEA Games football players who are sidelined through injury as Malaysia's coach Ong Kim Swee prepares the team to defend the Games gold medal won in Jakarta two years ago. - Filepic

PETALING JAYA: National Under-23 coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee has told his players to be wary of picking up injuries when they face FC Ryukyu in a friendly at the MBPJ Stadium Wednesday night.

The friendly against the J-League Third Division side will be the national Under-23 team’s final warm-up before leaving for Nyapyitaw on Sunday to defend their gold medal in the Myanmar SEA Games.

The Harimau Muda squad have already lost Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor (anterior cruciate ligament), Junior Eldstal (back), Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim (knee), Nik Mohd Shahrul Azim Abdul Halim (knee ligament tear) and Gary Steven Robbat (back) through injuries.

“I will name the final 20-player list after this friendly ... so, I will field all the players against FC Ryukyu,” said Kim Swee in a pre-match press conference at Wisma FAM on Tuesday.

“We have lost a number of key players through injuries and I intend to test the other players before dropping six more from the training squad.”

For the SEA Games, defending champions Malaysia are in Group A with Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei and Laos. Group B comprises Indonesia, Thailand, Timor Leste, Cambodia and hosts Myanmar.

Kim Swee’s boys will play against Brunei in their opening Group A match in Naypyitaw on Dec 10.

“I need players who can play in several positions because there is a high chance that we’ll have to play five matches in 10 days. I need to use the full squad to keep the players fresh,” said the 43-year-old coach.

FC Ryukyu manager Norihiro Satsukawa, meanwhile, said that he has left some first-choice players behind for the friendly.

“I believe our visit here will strengthen our ties with the FA of Malaysia (FAM). We believe that this match will be beneficial to both teams,” he said.

Tags / Keywords: SEA Games, Nyapidaw, Nyapyitaw, Myanmar, badminton

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