Tuesday, 11 February 2014 | MYT 9:59 PM
Kim Swee laments lack of hitmen
Datuk Ong Kim Swee in a file photo. He is facing the dilemma of a lack of local strikers to pick for the national team.
PETALING JAYA: Datuk Ong Kim Swee, the interim coach for the national football team, is facing the same problem that beset his predecessor, Datuk K. Rajagopal.
After five rounds of the Super League season, the local strikers have again been outgunned by their foreign counterparts, with Sarawak midfielder Joseph Kallang Tie the only Malaysian to have scored two goals.
Kim Swee can now only hope for the local strikers in the M-League to raise their game before the Super League takes a three-week break for the Asian Cup Group D qualifiers.
The national team will play a warm-up game against the Philippines at the Selayang Stadium on March 1 before meeting Yemen in the final Asian Cup Group D qualifier at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on March 5.
“I can only expect the players to be professional and fight to be in the starting XI,” said former international Kim Swee on Tuesday.
“I told the same thing to the players who left the Harimau Muda A squad. They have to play regularly if they want to be picked for the national team.”
Kim Swee said that he had no option other than to rely on national team regulars – like Mohd Safee Sali, Mohd Amri Yahyah, Mohd Azamuddin Akil and Ahmad Fakri Saarani – who have only found the back of the net once.
Another striker, the ever-reliable Norshahrul Idlan Talaha has only recently recovered from dengue fever and has yet to start for his team, Johor Darul Ta’zim in the Super League.
“The other departments are okay but it is the attack that is a big concern for me,” said Kim Swee.
“I want to pick the best strikers for the national team but, at the moment, they are being outshone by the foreign hitmen.
“That’s why I have no choice but to rely on the regulars.”