After the Young Tigers put on a convincing 3-0 win over the Thailand Selection with mostly second team players, coach Ong Kim Swee was visibly happy, and full of praise for his charges in the post-match interview.
Kim Swee congratulated his team's performance, and was delighted with how his fringe players' were ready to play. First of all he was happy with forward Rozaimi Rahman who scored two goals in his first full 90 minutes in the tournament tonight, expressing his belief that Rozaimi is a "natural born finisher". But he conceded that scoring two goals in the match does not translate to automatic selection in the final match for the Sabahan.
He was also glad with Nasir Basharuddin's hard work and willingness to help his team, despite this being his debut for the Young Tigers.
Ariff Farhan also caught his attention despite coming on for only 5 minutes, and Kim Swee looks forward to giving the 17-year old more playing time.
Overall, he concluded that the good performance of his first eleven and second-stringers is the kind of situation that will give any coach a headache, as he needs to select the best squad for the final match against Myanmar U23, the same team they beat 2-1 two days earlier. He further added that squad rotation is still on his mind as they have been playing three matches in the past six days.
Meanwhile, the Thailand Selection coach; Kairung Threejagsang admitted that the Malaysian team were very strong, despite having prepared his boys well. He conceded that the Young Tigers second team were fresh, came on with a strong desire to play and win, and took advantage of the absence of his team captain; Mahamasabri Awaebuesa.
Kairung now wants to focus on winning the third place on Saturday, as their defeat to Malaysia means that they concede their second place to Myanmar, who beat Singapore U23 2-0 in Temerloh.
Follow Zulhilmi Zainal on