PETALING JAYA (26 Dec 2012) – Ong Kim Swee, the chief coach of the Harimau Muda team has regarded 2013 as an important year for him and he look to map out the right strategy to defend the SEA Games crown which the Malaysians have won twice in a row.
Malaysia broke Thailand’s stranglehold on Under-23 football in 2009 when K. Rajagobal won it for the first time in Laos. This was followed by Kim Swee’s achievement in 2011 when they beat hosts Indonesia in the final.
“My main focus is on retaining the SEA Games gold in 2013 which will be hosted by Myanmar,” said Kim Swee. “To defend the crown is already hard, what more when we are defending the double crown. Everyone will be out to beat us.”
“But we have strategizing since last year when we won in Jakarta on how to defend the title. So the next year will be important to put our program together.”
Kim Swee said that the team has shown to be competitive where after winning the SEA Games gold, they also won Thanh Nien Cup in Vietnam with the U21 squad.
“Obviously, we cannot sit on our laurels as the other teams are also making progress,” he added. ”That is why it is important for us to take part in regional tournaments as it is a definite way to assess our level and to also gauge the quality of our opponents.
“The final three months before the games in Myanmar will be important where by then, I would already have the core players on board.”