LAST_UPDATEWed, 18 Jul 2018 9pm

SEA Games: Kim Swee Had Hard Time To Finalise Players

Pic: Berita HarianPic: Berita HarianSHAH ALAM: The national Under-22 (U-22) football squad chief coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee conceded it was difficult for him to select the top 20 players for the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games (KL2017).

Kim Swee who took the national squad to lift the gold in the 2011 Games in Indonesia said it was not easy to shortlist the 28 players after centralised training ended last Sunday.

“Choosing the current final 20 players was most difficult choice for me compared to the four editions of Games which I took charge of the squad. The eight players dropped have their respective credibility and I believe they will return for future tournaments.

“For me, the championship is short which made me picked the players who could perform in such a compact competition,” he told a media conference to announce to the final list of 20 players for the men’s football competition at KL2017.

Four players from the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Qualifiers Championship in Bangkok, Thailand last month namely Amierul Hakimi Awang (Terengganu), Raphi Azizan Mariappen (PJ Rangers), Danial Ashraf Abdullah (Kelantan) and Sean Eugene Selvaraj (Negeri Sembilan) were among the eight players dropped by Kim Swee.

On the other hand, Kim Swee picked six new players, Syamer Kutty Abba and S Kumaahran (Penang), Haziq Nadzli and Safawi Rasid (Johor Darul Ta’zim) as well as Matthew Davies and Nor Azam Abdul Azih (Pahang).

The national squad will open their Group A campaign against Brunei on Monday followed by Singapore (Aug 16), Myanmar (Aug 21) and Laos (Aug 23) at Shah Alam Stadium.
The following is the list of 20 players for the men’s squad for KL2017:

Goalkeepers: Ifwat Akmal Chek Kassim (Kedah), Haziq Nadzli (Johor Darul Ta’zim).

Defenders: Ariff Farhan Md Isa (Kedah), Adib Zainuddin (Felcra FC), Adam Nor Azlin (Selangor), Irfan Zakaria (Kuala Lumpur), Syazwan Zaipol Bahari (PKNP FC).

Midfielders: Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik (Kedah), Syamer Kutty Abba (Penang), Nor Azam Abdul Azih (Pahang), Daniel Amier Norhisham (Felda United), Syahmi Safari (Selangor), Matthew Davies (Pahang), Syazwan Andik Ishak (Johor Darul Ta’zim ll).

Forwards: Syafq Ahmad (Kedah), Akhyar Rashid (Kedah), Jafri Firdaus Chew (Penang), S.Kumaahran (Penang), Safawi Rashid (Johor Darul Ta’zim), N. Thanabalan (Felcra FC).

Meanwhile Kim Swee urged fans to turn out in full force as they were like the 12th player, an important factor for the success of Harimau Malaya.

“Everybody wants good results so I am calling on all supporters to flood the stadium to cheer the national squad in their first group A match against Brunei on Monday,” he said.