Sunday, 5 February 2012

Olympic team looking for revenge over Bahrain in Olympic qualifier

Revenge will be the driving  factor for the national Under-23 squad when they face Bahrain in a Group C second round Asian Zone Olympic Qualifying match in Manama today.

It is expected to be an explosive match as both teams need the points.

A win for Bahrain, third in the group with three points, will put them back on  course for qualification while Malaysia, after  three straight defeats, need a good result to re-ignite their play-off ambitions.

Coach Ong Kim Swee said his team were better prepared for the match and would not repeat the  mistakes of last November's stunning loss to their opponents.

Malaysia had  outplayed 10-man Bahrain in the first round in Bukit Jalil but lost focus after taking a 2-0 lead, allowing Bahrain  to score three goals in the last 10 minutes to earn their first win in the competition.

"We are fired up for revenge. I have told my players to forget about the past as what matters is the present," said Kim Swee when contacted in Manama yesterday.

"We need three points to stay in contention for the play-off and anything less will be the end for us."

The 21-member squad have brushed up on tactics during closed door training sessions in Manama and Kim Swee said his players had responded well.

"We only had a few 20-minute closed door training sessions but it was enough to test tactics as we had enough practice in Kuala Lumpur.

"I believe  Bahrain  are wary of us as we noticed the stadium people recording our training sessions," said Kim Swee.

The former international, however, is concerned with the match fitness of his players from the Young Tigers squad, who have not played competitive matches of late.

"I have looked into their condition and most of them are looking fit. I, however, have non-Tiger players in the squad as cover," he said.

Among those left out  were defender Fadhli Shas and forward A. Thamil Arasu, who are both suspended while striker Izzaq Faris Ramlan is out with a long-term knee injury.

Kim Swee named Kelantan goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat as captain.

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