PETALING JAYA: Sabah’s task in New South Wales is not going to be easy, especially with the absence of Indonesian winger Saddil Ramdani (pic).
The nippy player is down with a muscle injury, making him unavailable for the game AFC Cup Asean zone semi-final match against Australian club MacArthur at the Campbelltown Stadium in New South Wales today.
Questions were asked about Saddil’s absence but coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee is focused on the squad he has now for the all-important tie in Australia.
“For four weeks, we have prepared for this game. We had no friendlies but our trainings have been good and intense, which bodes well for our game against MacArthur,” said Kim Swee.
But it would not be an easy task to topple Macarthur, who are on a seven-game unbeaten run and currently third in the A-League.
They also boast some top-quality players like French striker Valere Germain, who played for top French clubs Monaco and Marseille, in the past.
They also have Mexican midfielder Ulises Davila and New Zealand centreback Tommy Smith, players who are vastly experienced on the international stage.
“I am not sure who they are going to play but they have quality, which is evident. They are unbeaten in seven matches for a reason. It’s going to be a real challenge for us.
“We have been in Australia for a few days now and the weather is almost similar to Kota Kinabalu.
“The game would be played at night, so there is no issue for us, but in terms of form, the home side are better.
“We have to be at our best.”
But Kim Swee does have a secret weapon as he has got some intelligence info from his assistant during his national team days.
“Yes, I have spoken to Brad Maloney (Australian Under-17 coach) on the team and their performance. We got the necessary information but like I said, they are in form. Our last game was in December, while they have played so many games, so match fitness isn’t an issue for them.”