BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
Ong Kim Swee will embark on his first foray into full international management as Malaysia takes on Philippines tonight at Selayang Stadium. With the news of FAM still on lookout for a national coach and the likes of Marcel Desailly piping up, Kim Swee's helm may well end up shortlived.
However, those concerns are probably the least of his worries at this point in time. While Philippines may be 23 spots ahead of Malaysia in the FIFA rankings, there isn't a huge disparity between the two teams. As such, a win for the home side will not only prove that there's life after K. Rajagopal but also prove that the rankings are nothing more than metre numbers than a measure of a team's strength.
It all points to Kim Swee selecting his best available side and temporarily putting aside any thought of experimentation. With the Kelantan players arriving later than the others due to their AFC Cup involvements, they look unlikely to feature from the start. Leaving the possible starting line-up to look Johor Darul Ta'zim heavy.
The opponents, Philippines will also have a new man in charge. American, Thomas Dooley will be hoping that he can continue to maintain Philippines' upward climb up the rankings chart. That said, it will take some time for him for him to get to know his players and what type of tactics which they would be suited to use.
Which likely means that Dooley just like Kim Swee, will go for the tried and tested before deciding what changes need to be done. The Younghusband duo will form the backbone the team with support expected from the likes of Gier and Greatwich.
Fans expecting fireworks and new ideas from tonight's game will have to have their expectations tempered. All said and done, it is a match up between teams who wants to be the top dogs in South East Asia and that should be motivation enough for both sides.