Kim Swee to be without two key players for Thailand game

  • Football
  • Friday, 21 Jul 2017

Malaysia coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee during Group H 2018 AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers training session at 72nd Anniversary Stadium Bangkok, Thailand on 20 July 2017.Photo by Nur Ridzuan /

PETALING JAYA: Only a win will do for national Under-23 coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee (pic) when they take on hosts and favourites Thailand in their penultimate Group H match in the 2018 AFC Under-23 Championship at the Supachalasai National Stadium in Bangkok today.

Malaysia got their campaign off on the right foot when they beat 10-man Indonesia 3-0 on Wednesday.

Thailand, however, were stunned by minnows Mongolia who held them to a 1-1 draw in a rain-soaked opener.

And Kim Swee reckons that Thailand will be baying for blood after that setback.

The former international also admitted that his tactics against the Thais will be influenced by the weather.

“Thailand’s play was affected by the heavy rain, so we will change our tactics accordingly depending on the weather,” said Kim Swee from Bangkok yesterday.

“But the target remains the same – which is to get a win.

“We can’t go into the match looking for a draw. We want to win because it will make it our qualification route easier.

“But that does not mean we are looking down on Mongolia, who we will play in our last match.

“We know that Thailand will be more aggressive against us after only collecting just a point against Mongolia. The group is more open because of their draw and we need a win to make it easier for ourselves.”

Malaysia will be without striker Syafiq Ahmad and first-choice goalkeeper Mohd Ifwat Akmal Che Kassim, who were injured in the win over Indonesia.

The Kedah duo were in their elements against Indonesia, with Syafiq scoring the opener and Ifwat pulling off several saves to help Malaysia keep a clean sheet.

Syafiq is out with a groin injury while Ifwat has a hamstring problem.

Kim Swee said that “the players are in a high spirits after the win over Indonesia”.

“Ifwat and Shafiq are out of tomorrow’s (today’s) game but I believe we have the players who can fill in for them. We may not have any star players, but we still can get a result with our teamwork,” he said.

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