OKS plays down extra day's rest advantage

Datuk Ong Kim Swee, Malaysia, SEA Games 2017
Datuk Ong Kim Swee intends to use the full house at Shah Alam Stadium to help his boys through to the gold medal contention

Malaysia's head coach, Datuk Ong Kim Swee reckons that his team will not have too big an advantage despite an additional day of rest compared to Indonesia ahead of the crunch semi-final clash on Saturday.

Like Indonesia's Bima Sakti, Ong is also hopeful that nothing untoward will happen in the stands despite increased increased animosity between Indonesia and Malaysia following events in the past week.

"I believe that both teams are in good condition. Indonesia were in a tough group but they managed to make it to the semis, that showed their credibility. We have to be prepared for the match. We all have to realise that this is only a football match and like my Indonesian counterpart, I hope there are no issues, apart from what happens on the pitch."

"Every team that comes in the competition know the schedule and I'm sure they all have their own plans and it's no different from past games where we faced the same issue," said Ong in the pre-match press conference.

Malaysian fans are expected to be allocated 70,000 tickets with the Indonesian side given 10,000 for the match at Shah Alam Stadium. The partisan home crowd will out in full force and an electric atmosphere is expected to be generated, with the Malayan Ultras widely anticipated to be in full voice.

So it wouldn't take much for Ong to gee up the players and the 46-year-old coach intends to use the crowd to his advantage. He wants his players to keep their focus throughout the match - for 120 minutes if necessary. 

Both teams last met in the AFC Under-23 Championship qualifier in Bangkok last month where Malaysia won comprehensively. The situation this time around will be different given that it's a different competition. 

"The players know what they want, especially when we are up against Indonesia. What is important is for the players to keep their focus and follow the plan. There's no need for me to do any extra motivation. With the atmosphere at the stadium, that should be motivation enough," added Ong.

Malaysia have doubts in the fitness of S. Kumaahran but Ong has a relatively injury-free squad while Indonesia will be missing three key players due to suspensions in Hansamu Yama, Muhammad Hargianto and Marinus Mariyanto.