Ong Kim Swee regards U-23 AFC qualifiers as pre-SEA Games

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The Malaysia U22 boss has no doubt which competition will receive more emphasis by his team.


BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter


The results of Malaysia U22's three friendlies in China will not be a major focus of the Young Tigers head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee. Instead, he is looking to use the matches to analyse his side, as preparation for the U23 AFC Championship qualifiers in July, and the 2017 SEA Games in August.

The team depart for China on June 8, and will take on China U22 on June 10, and the reserve teams of Guangzhou R&F (June 11) and Guangzhou Evergrande (June 13), before returning to Malaysia on June 16.

When met by the press on Wednesday at the Malaysian FA headquarters in Kelana Jaya, Kim Swee said that the three encounters will be used by him to analyse his side further.

"It'll be more for me to analyse our strengths and weaknesses, a few combinations. Most importantly, how we're going to perform as a team, rather than (focusing on) the results.

"For me, it's a matter of getting the players used to the system, and the three games will definitely help our preparations for the qualifiers," said the former Malaysia senior team boss.

Asked about his take on the AFC qualifiers, Kim Swee responded that it is just like a pre-SEA Games tournament for his side.

"It's very important. Our (AFC qualifiers) group is like pre-SEA Games, Indonesia and Thailand are both in it.

"Both teams are preparing for the SEA Games, and we can learn a lot from the AFC (qualifiers), while at the same time trying to qualify for the finals in 2018," revealed Kim Swee.

Malaysia have been drawn in Group H of the qualifiers, alongside Thailand, Indonesia and Mongolia. All Group H matches will be held in Bangkok, Thailand from July 19 to July 23.

However the Young Tigers are expected to put more focus on the SEA Games, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August, as they have been given the objective of capturing the gold medal in front of their own fans.

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