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OKS explains big 2024 Olympic plans for the FAM-MSN project squad

08:01 GMT 11/12/2020
Ong Kim Swee, FAM-MSN Project, Olympics 2024
Described as a lifeline to the NFDP players, the brand new FAM-MSN project squad is seen as the launchpad for a bigger target than just Premier League

Ong Kim Swee is a person synonymous with the Harimau Muda project, a past Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) program that was designed to group together the best young talents in the country for a sustained period in the aim of creating the next batch of players for the senior national team in the long run.

The program was discarded in 2015 but with the introduction of the FAM-MSN Project Squad yesterday, it saw a rekindling of the program albeit with various different subtleties. Having seen first-hand the kind of success that such a program can bring, Kim Swee is happy to see the program enabling the development of the type of players that are late bloomers.

As it was with previous graduates of the National Football Development Programme (NFDP), the best of the bunch have already been cherry-picked by the likes of Johor Darul Ta'zim and Selangor but what this new team will provide is an olive branch to those who were not deemed as part of the elite.

"If we look at past Harimau Muda program, it was when we collected the best of the young teenage talents around but for this FAM-MSN project, it is more focus on the continuity of the NFDP project where players aged 17 from AMD, PLD and SSM will get a second chance. Those who have not signed with clubs are the ones being given a second opportunity.

"With this project, the players will get to play every week. We have to understand that players have to get really huge amount of exposure, not only against their peers but also in a quality competition like the Premier League. We know that sometimes may not have shone when younger but rise to the fore when they are 18 or 19. So this is a chance for them to prove themselves.

"In the past Harimau Muda has shown that they are able to compete against teams with foreign players even when we don't one in our team. That's not to say the team can be champions or get thrashed but definitely lots of experience to gain in the first year and I'm sure that the team will be better in the second year, third year and beyond," said Kim Swee after the launch.

However, Kim Swee who is currently the Assistant Technical Director of FAM went on to reveal that the team is also looked at as the first step in the preparations towards Malaysia qualifying for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. While that team who will compete for the Olympics qualification will involve those already with other clubs, it is hoped that there will also be those from this project squad that can step up to the plate.

"The reason we set this team to be Under-20 is because we want these players to formed as part of the preparations for the qualification in 2023 for the 2024 Olympics. So the planning is not to just expose them to the Premier League but also internationally as we can use these players when we are involved in invitational tournaments," he added.