OKS treading Atletico experience carefully

Ong Kim Swee, Malaysia U23Asiana.my

It was not an opportunity many in Malaysia had and the four weeks Ong spent at Atletico alongside his assistant Brad Maloney only serves to add on to the experience he previously gained.

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) through its former president, HRH Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim sent Ong and Maloney for a month long stint at Atletico Madrid last month and the Malaysia Under-23 head coach was effusive in his praise of the conditions there.

"We know that Atletico are a big team. They have fantastic facilities and a very different training style. There, they have 8 assistant coaches and that showed how serious they are. [Diego] Simeone has a good quality of players to do what they want. It was a great experience for me to be there," said Ong on his time there.

However, the former senior team head coach did not want to delve further as to how much of the learnings there that will be implemented with his U23 side. 

In 2017, Ong also spent some time with English club, Queens Park Rangers and it was from there that he learned how to utilise a back three formation, one which helped his side greatly during the 2017 SEA Games as well as the 2018 AFC U23 Championship.

It will be interesting if Ong took back the style that Simeone has brought to Atletico where they have a solid defensive organisation coupled that is combined with intense pressing at wide areas.  

"Knowledge comes from every where, not only at Atletico but also from QPR when I was there. What is important is how we use what is good to be bring back and what I think that the team isn't ready, hopefully we can use in times to come," added Ong.

Ong is expected to take his team to an invitational tournament in Indonesia later this month, a tournament served to test the facilities and preparations of Indonesia ahead of the upcoming Asian Games later in the year.

However, it is not yet confirmed players from which age-group that Ong will bring, considering that the tournament also coincides with domestic fixtures in Malaysia.