Kim Swee sees glitzy SEA Games opening ceremony as motivational tool

SEA Games 2017 Opening day
Malaysia boss Ong Kim Swee looks to inspire his side with the pageantry of and lessons from the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games opening ceremony.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Ahead of Malaysia's Group A SEA Games clash against Myanmar on Monday, head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee has remarked that Malaysian athletes' success in the multi-sport competition and the glitzy opening ceremony are a motivational tool for his football team.

When met by the press before his team's final training session on Sunday in Shah Alam, Ong said that Malaysia's all-out effort in putting on a good show in the opening is something that his side need to keep in mind.

On Saturday evening, the SEA Games opening ceremony was held at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, showcasing almost an hour of pageantry and cultural dances, as well as light, pyrotechnics and fireworks shows.

"We should be proud, not just with the gold-medal winning Malaysian athletes and teams.

"The grand opening ceremony showed everyone that Malaysia are also capable of achieving what other nations can. That's something that motivates us to perform as part of the Malaysian contingent," said the coach when asked by Goal.

However, motivation alone is not enough, and the former Malaysia senior national team head coach wants his side to hit the ground running against the 2015 silver medalists, unlike in their earlier two group matches.

In their campaign opener against minnows Brunei, the Young Tigers were made to work hard for the winning goal in the match that ended 2-1, while against Singapore they recorded a come-from-behind 2-1 win after initially going behind to a second best Lions side in the first half.

"It's good that they responded well, but we can't allow that to happen all the time. We must take control (of the match).

"If we take control and have a very good lead, then things will be much easier for us.

"I hope tomorrow we don't have to chase the game again, we can manage our style of play and the situation much better," explained the 46-year old trainer.

Asked about his target, Ong responded that a win is foremost on his mind, as none of his charges are injured.

Myanmar are top of the group with nine points after three matches with one match remaining, while Malaysia are currently second on six points after two matches, with two group matches remaining.

A win will present the hosts with a great chance of qualifying from the group stage as group winners, while a draw or a defeat means they can only qualify to the semi-finals as group runners up.

"Of course when we take to the pitch we want to win, but we must take into consideration the situation on Monday.

"I want to win tomorrow, then prepare for the semi-finals," said Ong.

The match will be held at the Shah Alam Stadium on Monday, with kick-off time at 8.45 pm.