Thursday, 9 February 2012

Olympic squad set to make history in Singapore league

All eyes will be on Young Tigers when they officially become the first Malaysian team to compete in the S-League, when they take on Gombak United at the Jalan Besar Stadium, today.

Young Tigers, however, may not be at their best due to their international schedule, where the core of the team played against Bahrain in an Olympic qualifying match last weekend.
Coach Ong Kim Swee also admitted that he has conducted little research on his team's S-League opponents.

"I have watched videos of Gombak but it is not enough for me to make an assessment," said Kim Swee yesterday.

"We did not give prior focus as we were busy with our international assignments.

"However, it does not mean that we are ill-prepared ...our players are fit and ready for this match."

Young Tigers, however, need to treat Gombak cautiously as they have the services of five players with international experience and four new foreign signings -- South Koreans Jung Hee Bong, Chang Jo Yoon and Park Kang Jin and Nigeria's Obadin Aikhena -- in their squad.

"They are, no doubt, quite a good side and we must not take them lightly. Their four import players will make a difference.

"My players will be exposed to different types of football in the S-League and I want them to make use of this opportunity to improve and also impress me," said Kim Swee.

The coach is using the S-League to gauge his players for upcoming Olympic qualifying matches and the AFC Under-22 Qualifiers in June.

On the team's target in the league, Kim Swee said a top-five finish is achievable.

"Fans must remember that the Tigers, not the Olympic squad, are competing in the S-League so they cannot expect too much."

Young Tigers are scheduled to play only Gombak this month with their next match against Tanjong Pagar United on March 2.

The Singapore FA granted Kim Swee's request to reschedule matches due to the team's Olympic commitments.

Young Tigers will play all their home league matches at the 6,000-capacity Yishun Stadium in Singapore.

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