OKS using China tour to test players

Malaysia's Ong Kim Swee during the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup match against Cambodia 20/11/16
Datuk Ong Kim Swee will give the players a chance to prove their worth during the China tour before he selects squad for AFC U23 qualifiers

Datuk Ong Kim Swee takes charge of the national U-22 squad for the first time in Monday's training session and despite the unforgiving weather on show, the former senior team head coach knows what is required from the team.

There are two important competitions coming up on the horizon - U23 Asian Cup qualifiers and South-East Asian (SEA) Games and in Ong, the team has someone with the necessary experience, having previously been in charge at the same level.

The team is scheduled for a playing tour in China and Ong is taking that chance to assess the players on whether they fit into the style and system that he wants the team to employ. When asked prior to the start of the Monday training, Ong is adamant that it's a new start for the team.

"We only have 80 - 90 days for SEA Games and 40 - 50 days for AFC qualifiers. I cannot make too many changes and most of the players from the previous squad have been called up including a few new ones who I think can do a job at international level."


"I have my own program. Our purpose to go china is to give me a chance to evaluate the players. We have 3 important matches there for us to choose players for the AFC qualifiers," said Ong.

Ong has won the SEA Games gold medal with the 2011 squad and for him, despite not being given a target yet, knows there's only one possible result that would be termed a success.

"I've not been told of the target but this will be my fourth SEA Games. And all the other games, it has been gold medal and I think there won't be much change. What more we are the host and we want to achieve that target," added Ong.

Most of the call-up have reported in well, with the exception of Felda United's Ariddin Rosli and Sarawak's Nur Shamie who both will be given checks by the medical team to assess their condition. Meanwhile one final member of the squad, Safawi Rasid will join the team after the completion of Johor Darul Ta'zim's AFC Cup match in Philippines.