Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Danger Lurks for Kim Swee's men

With skipper Syafiq Rahim ruled out of the matches against Timor Leste, coach Dato Ong Kim Swee will need to conjure a magical touch in order to get a positive result.

With the demands of Football fans that expect a win each time Malaysia steps onto the pitch, Kim Swee is in a difficult position.

And the task is further confounded by the fact that Timor Leste is powered by several naturalised Brazilians for the two matches at Larkin Stadium on June 2 and 6.

Kim Swee who was in Cambodia to watch Timor Leste in action was particularly impressed with four players.

The four are Paulo Helber, Junior Aparecido, Henrique Wilson da Cruz Martin and Jose da Carlos Fonseca.

Junior is playing in Sarawak in the M- League having played for Selangor the previous season.

"These four are exceptional players that can spell trouble if left unchecked," said Kim Swee.

"Having said that we must not just look at individual brilliance but the team as a whole as they have shown improvement."

While scoring has been a bane for the national squad, Kim Swee can take heart from the fact that the team has yet to concede after 180 minutes of Football.

"We have to give credit where it's due and the defenders have been doing a pretty decent job so far, something I hope will carry into the next two matches," added Kim Swee.

"I have not decided the two strikers I will use for the first leg as the decision will only be made on match day."

Kim Swee also not discount the possibility of using Khair Jones on the left flank should the need arise.

" I have Christie and Chantiru and feel they can do the job well," said the Malacca born.

" What is vital is to get on the scoring chart to give confidence to the players.

" An early goal will settle the nerves and that's what we will be looking for come Thursday." 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Journey of hope for Kim Swee

Having endured a 10 hour trip from Myanmar to Cambodia, national coach Dato Ong Kim Swee sounded more positive.

Kim Swee travelled toCambodia to have a first hand look at the Timor Leste team who lost 2-0 to the hosts in a friendly.

Malaysia will take on Tomor Leste in a two leg play off for the Asia Cup on June 2 and 6 at Larkin.

"The Timor Leste team played all their naturalised Brazilian players and were impressive," said Kim Swee.

" It will be tough against them but not impossible to beat them.

" They have a good midfield and strike force that combines well and we must plan to disrupt this.

" But as in our case they lack cohesiveness due to their limited time together.

Kim Swee said that Malaysia had an issue with goal scoring and to beat Timor Leste this has to be rectified.

" To win matches we need to score and rest assured I intend to rectify this weakness over the next few days of training," said Kim Swee before leaving Cambodia for KLIA before going straight to Johor Baru today.

" I believe we have the players and capability of getting a positive result against Timor Leste.

" Watching them in action has given me several ideas on how to overcome them.

"But the bottom line is we need to raise out game then hoe we played against Myanmar.

"There are no two ways about it and I have complete faith in my team to overcome the odds."

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Kim Swee remains optimistic

While the critics have had their say or are sharpening the knives in anticipation of a failure against Timor Leste in the two leg play-off for the Asia Cup, coach Dato Ong Kim Swee is going about what he thinks is best for the national squad.

Having cone under fire after a drab and listless performance against Myanmar which ended scoreless, their third consecutive match under Kim Swee where the national team had failed to score, Kim Swee was philosophical when confronted with several thought provoking questions and had this to say..

"I have the line up at the back of my mind, not many changes, but a couple here and there. 

" Obviously Shafiq is one player that I would love to have in the starting XI but will have to asses his injury. 

"The strikers need time to gel and I am optimistic they can get the job done at Larkin. 

" I have faith and confidence in the ability of Hazwan, Kumarahan and Zaquan so let's be a bit patient.

"Give us time to find the right blend. 

"KJ ( Khairi Jones) had a good debut but there is still a long way before he can cement his place in the squad. 

"We need to be more clinical not only infront of goal but  also within shooting range, and this comes with confidence as well as technical ability. 

"We are not there yet but getting there and that's what matters when we play Timor Leste in a week"

Kim Swee said while he understood the frustrations of the fans, he hopes that they will back the team at Larkin and offer the team the support.

" We look forward to a better performance in the two leg matches against Timor Leste," said Kim Swee who will join the team in JB on May 30.

" There is no doubt that we need to be better but that takes a bit of time and I hope all will understand that a team cannot be built overnight."

Malaysia take on Timor Lesre at Larkin Stadium on June 2 and 6 with the kick off tines at 8.45pm and 10.00pm respectively.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chong Wei speaks his mind

Lee Chong Wei will not be part of Malaysia's Thomas Cup campaign in the future.

In other words the failed quest for the Thomas Cup will be the last Malaysians will see Chong Wei in the inter team event.

Below is my phone interview with Chong Wei today, having received two calls earlier in the day from the darling of Nalaysian Badminton.

" Words cannot describe how I feel now. Of course it is disappointing but this is reality.

" Losing in such a manner is obviously very painful. We had taken a 2-0 lead and won the first game of the second doubles.

' I am totally gutted at the turn of events as I wanted so much to deliver the Thomas Cup for the Malaysian public who have always supported Badminton.

" We cannot blame any player as we were simply not good enough to win, and the sooner we accept that fact the better it will be for our future.

" Iskandar tried his best but the pressure got to him. He was put in the deep end and did his level best but he just could not get his act together.

" As for the doubles and Wei Fung, I cannot fault them for trying as they did what they could under the circumstances

'We have a long way to go to win the Thomas Cup and I hope BAM will look very hard into their planning.

" The squad is the best we have in the country so it's not fair to blame anyone for the want of trying.

"I have decided not to play in the next Thomas Cup campaign although I am certain I will still be the number 1 ranked Malaysian  player in two years time.

"Anyone that wants to take my place as the top ranked player will have to earn their stripes as I will play on in the various tournaments.

" I am back in Malaysia on Mobday and on the courts on Tuesday, preparing for the Indonesian Open as I will leave for on Saturday.

" Once again I apologise to all Malaysisns for our failure at the Thomas Cup. There are lessons to be learnt and I do hope those responsible will take heed of it.

"It is not my job to tell others how todo their work. Suffice to say I will do my talking on the court."

From my assessment there was surely something wrong in China and hopefully I will be able to write more once I meet Chong Wei for coffee on Tuesday, my health permitting.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Give Credit Where Due

While there have been criticism on the ticketing aspects of the FA Cup, many have opted to exclude some good outcomes from the cup final.

With more then 70,000 fans packing the Shah Alam Stadium, credit must go to the security personnel led by the PDRM, FAM, FMLLP, Shah Alam City Council and others.

It was surely a cup final to remember from the security aspects as there was no glares, fireworks, pitch invasion or even throwing of items into the pitch.

When was the last time you remember a Football match not marred by incidents such as flares or firecrackers or even rockets?

The fans were well behaved and the manner in which the gates were handles was superb, not gate crashing, over crowding and infighting by the fans.

The credit must surely go to the PDRM who planned and handled the Cup final well, even holding a briefing prior to the final at the Shah Alam police HQ.

And the pitch held up well considering the fact that it rained earlier in the afternoon and the match was at times played at a steady drizzle.

Thus it was perplexing to see no credit given to members of the security who toiled hard to endure the safety of many fans.

A thumbs up also for the Organised way the prize presentation was held as the stage was a welcome relief  from the past as it was a sight to behold, visible to many and not overcrowded.

There can surely be improvements but one must be brace enough to give credit where it's due, especially to those behind the scenes like the security personnel, ticket collectors, stewards and Rela.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Uncapped Player in National Football Squad to be announced Wesnesday

There are expected to be some changes to the national squad when coach Dato Ong Kim Swee names his training  squad of 25 on Wesnesday.

Keeping his cards close to his chest, the Nakacca born coach said that his observation of matches in the M- League by him and his coaching staff as well as from feedback of coaches of state and clubs has given him a clear indication as to who will carry the Malaysian challenge for the Asia Cup playoffs.

Malaysia will play Timor Leste in a two leg playoff at the Larkin Stadium on June 2 and 6.

But before that Malaysia will take on Myanmar in a friendly on May 27.

" I have virtually decided on the 25 players to be named on Wednesday and all I can say is there will be sone surprises," said Kim Swee.

" The players will report for camp on May 22 with  the exception of players from JDT who must report after their AFC Cup match on May 26.

" We leave for Myanmar on May 27 and will then go directly to Johor Baru on May 29."

While scoring has been a problem for The national squad, Kim Swee however is not expected to pencil strikers Safee Sali and Nor Shahril Idlan Taaka into the squad.

However Hazuan Bakri of Selangor is expected to return to the team after recovering from an injury.

There is also talk of an uncapped player getting a nod as well as a former striker who is expected to be given a second lease of life.

After the Timor Leste matches, the national team will leave for Brisbane on June 11 to set up camp before playing matches against Papua New Guinea, Fiji and New Caledonia over a 20 day period, returning home in June 29.

" All I can say at the moment is that there will be surprises and that the team to be named is the best I am able to pick after observations of their performances over the past month," said Kim Swee.

" Wait till Wednesday and let's not speculate."

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Chong Wei gives Wife timely birthday present

" There are no words that can describe my feeling after defeating the top two Chinese players at their home turf," said Lee Chong Wei in a phone call to this blogger after defeating Chen Long to bag the Badmonton Asia Championships.

It was an amazing display of attacking Badminton as Chong Wei defeated the World number one in the final.

It was even more sweeter as Chong Wei got the better of his nemesis Lin Dan in the quarterfinal.

' Well you can say this Isa small birthday present for my Wife Wong Mew Choo. But it's a present to all adoring Badminton fans who stood by me even when results do not go my way," said Chong Wei.

" Although I cherish the win, I have my feet firmly planted on the ground and my head on my shoulders. No point getting carried away.

" It is the Olympics that matter and my preparations are on track towards that."

Chong Wei tool the first set but made uncharacteristic mistakes in the second and conceded that before winning the third.

" The air conditioning was switched on in the second set and this affected the flight of the shuttle," explained Chong Wei.

" It took me some time to find the rhythm again and hence I made those judgement errors."

Chong Wei said that he believed Lin Dan and Chen Long had something up their sleeves for the Olympics.

" I will now concentrate on the Thomas Cup followed by the Indonesian Open and the Aussie Open, " said Chong Wei.