Malaysia U22 coach sweats on fitness of key players

Malaysia U22 coach Ong Kim Swee could lose several key players ahead next week’s SEA Games tournament in Kuala Lumpur.

Four days into the Malaysia U22 centralised training camp ahead of the 2017 SEA Games, the fitness of the players has been the foremost worry of Kim Swee.

According to reports from the New Straits Times, the 46-year-old coach may be forced to do without the services of Perak midfielder Ahmad Khairul Anuar Ahmad Zamri, Kuala Lumpur goalkeeper Ahmad Solehin Mamat and Negri Sembilan duo Fauzan Fauzi and L. Kalaiharasan due to injuries.

On the other hand, Kim Swee has given a second chance for six players who ignored a call-up for last month’s AFC Under-23 Championship qualifying tournament.

“This is the best group I have been able to bring together and for me these 27 players are even better than the 22 players we took to Bangkok last month,” said Kim Swee.

“When centralised training begins on Sunday, I will have a week to decide the final squad of 20 players to be registered on Aug 20.

“I will use the time remaining to ensure each position is covered by two players because we know that the Sea Games schedule is hectic. All 20 players selected must be ready and fit to play whenever called upon.”

Malaysia will face Brunei in the opening Group A match on Aug 14 before taking on Singapore two days later ahead of games against Myanmar (Aug 21) and Laos (Aug 23).