Kim Swee wants to defeat Bahrain first before focusing on knockout stage

Malaysia U-23 head coach Ong Kim Swee may make changes to his starting line-up against Bahrain U-23 on Monday evening.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Although Malaysia U-23 have qualified for the Asian Games men's football event round of 16 as Group E champions in sensational fashion, head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee will still concentrate on their remaining group match on Monday.

The Young Tigers' 2-1 win over a strong South Korea U-23 side on Friday secured an unlikely top spot finish in the group, with the result of their final group match against Bahrain U-23 inconsequential to Kim Swee's charges. They will face Japan U-23 in their round of 16 match, on August 24.

However, this does not mean that Kim Swee will start focusing on the knockout stage, he said in an interview arranged by the Malaysian FA (FAM) on Sunday.

"It's good that we have secured qualification earlier (than expected), but it does not mean that we are guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals. Let's focus on the game against Bahrain tomorrow (Monday) and Japan after that. My players know that we are not done yet, and they are eager to go further than where we've reached. We'll take it game by game.

"(Against Bahrain) I have to look at our situation. A number of players are carrying a knock while Rizal (Ghazali) is suspended for having accumulated two yellow cards. I may also have to rest our key players tomorrow, ahead of the match against Japan," explained the Southeast Asian Games gold medal-winning coach. 


Also follow Goal Malaysia's new Instagram account!