PETALING JAYA: National interim coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee wants his men to keep their momentum going when they take on the Philippines in an international friendly at the Cebu City Sports Complex on Sunday.
Malaysia drew 0-0 with the Philippines on March 1 before edging Yemen 2-1 in an Asian Cup qualifying match four days later.
The 43-year-old coach said that winning Sunday’s friendly would help improve Malaysia’s world ranking as it will be hard to fix other “A” international matches during the World Cup.
The national team have been boosted by the return of several key players after their AFC Cup campaigns — goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, midfielder Mohd Badri Radzi and striker Ahmad Fakri Saarani from Kelantan together with Selangor trio of defender Mohd Bunyamin Umar, goalkeeper Mohd Farizal Marlias and winger S. Kunalan.
“I have retained most of the players from our last assignment ... so everyone will be on the same page for this match. We need a positive result to continue the winning momentum,” said Kim Swee before leaving for Cebu on Friday.
“All the 23 players called up for training are going to Cebu. The players from Kelantan and Selangor are injury-free but tired after mid-week exertions in AFC Cup. I will evaluate the players in Cebu before finalising the squad for the match.”
Malaysia are currently ranked 142nd in the world, while the Philippines are a rung below at No. 143.