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Wednesday May 13, 2009

Ong out to elevate Harimau Muda

PETALING JAYA: Ong Kim Swee hopes to elevate the Harimau Muda squad to bigger goals.

The newly-appointed national Under-19 coach said that his immediate task was to see through the team’s strong showing in the Premier League where they are unbeaten in 11 matches, chalking up 31 points from 10 wins and a draw.

“It is a challenging task to take over the team from the half-way mark,” said the former international yesterday.

Kim Swee took over the duties as the Harimau Muda coach from K. Rajagopal on Monday and got off to a good start with the team edging Kuala Lumpur 2-1.

“I will have to maintain the team’s consistent run and work on improving the individual techniques of the players,” he said.

“It is a challenging task and to me, the results are not important. I want all the boys to play in the competition.

“I am not sure what plans have been lined-up for them by the National Sports Council (NSC).

“Ultimately, the boys need international exposure to go places.

“They have quality and are better than the average Under-19 boys. Unless they get international exposure, it will defeat the purpose to raise the standard of our football.”

Kim Swee is also in charge of the national Under-18 squad, who have two major tournaments lined up for them this year.

His first task is to prepare the team for the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-19 championships scheduled for August in Vietnam and the AFC Under-19 qualifying rounds in China in November.

Kim Swee has five boys from the Harimau Muda squad eligible to play in the two tournaments. They are Fandi Othman, Mohd Fadli, Tamil Arasu, Mohd Irfan and Gary Stevan.


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