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The Malacca-born trainer believes friendlies and training sessions can only help them prepare for major tournaments next year

National Under-23 squad coach Ong Kim Swee, is hoping that all the friendlies his boys are going to play in will help them get into good shape for the new season.

Harimau Muda A had their first friendly last week against Sarawak where they were held 1-1. Next up for them are Sime Darby FC.

They play Sarawak again on December 28.

Kim Swee told The Star that the team needs to play every week to build understanding.

“It's too early to expect results from these friendlies. These matches can help me build up the players' fitness level, strength and endurance.”

The team will also be going for a training stint in Australia and Europe, before they take part in the Merdeka Tournament in August.

Their biggest assignment of the year is to defend their SEA Games gold medal in Naypyidaw, Myanmar in December.

Kim Swee also confirmed that regulars A. Thamil Arasu, Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim, Fandi Othman, Amer Saidin and Rozaimi Abdul Rahman are injured, and need to recover properly to be considered for the foreign trips.