KUALA LUMPUR (26 Nov 2011) – It is make or break for Malaysia in their third game of the third round 2012 Olympic Games qualifiers when they take on Bahrain tomorrow night at the Bukit Jalil Stadium.
After losing 2-0 to powerhouse Japan in the opener, there were hopes that the Malaysians would at least get a draw in their second game against Syria.
But with the fact that the team had only just returned from successfully defending their gold medal at the SEA Games in Jakarta, a 2-0 defeat was a little expected.
“We now have more rest to play Bahrain. We played the SEA Games final (against Indonesia) on 21 November. And then we took on Syria just two days later. It was hard on the boys although we put up a strong performance in the first half,” said Ong Kim Swee (pix), the chief coach of Malaysia.
“It is imperative that we look to win the second spot from the group as that will allow us to take part in the play offs. I’m confident against Bahrain although several payers are injured.
“And with the news that the play-offs will now be played in Kuala Lumpur, it is definitely an incentive for us to look to win the full points against Bahrain and aim for the runners-up spot from the group.”
The AFC (Asian Football Confederation) announced this week that the Olympic qualifying play-offs for the three runners-up team and the fourth placed from the African qualifiers be played in Kuala Lumpur.
The playoffs have been pegged for 25, 27 and 29 March 2012.
“If Syria lose to Japan tomorrow, it would mean that the fight for the second spot is still open. So it is imperative that we beat Bahrain tomorrow,” he added.
Kim Swee added that among the players who might not see action are defender Mohd Muslim Ahmad, Irfan Fazail and Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim.