Malaysia begin their quest in the S-League with the Harimau Muda A (Under-23) boys playing Gombak United in the opening game at the Jalan Besar Stadium today.
Head coach Ong Kim Swee’s focus will now be on the S-League after their bid to qualify for the London Olympics failed.
Malaysia are at the bottom of the four-team competition after four straight defeats and their remaining two matches against Japan (Feb 22) in Bukit Jalil and Syria (March 14) are of no significance.
However, Kim Swee’s boys will have a long break after the opening game against Gombak United to prepare for the remaining two matches in the Olympic qualifiers. Their next home game in the S-League is against Tanjong Pagar United FC at the Yishun Stadium in Sembawang on March 2.
Besides the S-League, the immediate task for Kim Swee is to prepare his boys for the inaugural AFC Under-22 qualifiers in June.
The core of the team from the victorious 2011 SEA Games squad in Jakarta will be playing key roles in the S-League and AFC Under-22 qualifiers.
Among them are Mahali Jasuli, Mohd Fadhli Shas, Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor, A. Thamil Arasu, Mohd Irfan Fazail, Wan Zaharulnizam Zakaria, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Fandi Othman, Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim, Mohd Nazmi Faiz.
The same set of players are also eligible for the SEA Games in Myanmar next year.