# ‘There will be transition of players during 10 international friendlies’ – Kim Swee
# ‘There is lot of work ahead’ – Kim Swee
# Kim Swee hopes Fire Monkey will bring luck to him and Malaysian football
# Management’s KPI is a big challenge for the former international
There was no Christmas or New Year celebrations for him but Datuk Kim Swee will certainly celebrate next month’s Chinese New Year which falls on Feb 8.
This year’s lunar year falls under the Fire Monkey zodiac and it has brought early cheer for Kim Swee.
He was not sure of his career as a football coach and was even prepared to be a chef in his family restaurant “Banya” – a well known nyonya restaurant in the historic city of Malacca to earn a living.
Not many know that Kim Swee is good cook who whips up delicious dishes and had considered turning chef for a career if he failed to land the national football coach.
The period of uncertainty for Kim Swee changed on Monday when the FA of Malaysia finally made their choice and named Datuk Ong Kim Swee as the new national football coach in a three-way battle between Kim Swee, Dutchman Robert Alberts and Croatian Bojan Hodak.
Until then Kim Swee’s coaching career was in a limbo. While waiting for the reply from the FAM for confirmation as the new national coach, Kim Swee was ready to take the next step without blaming any party if he was left jobless.
Kim Swee had to turn down several offers from states and club because he was still tied down with the FAM.
The former international, who has been the interim coach after Dollah Salleh quit the team in a huff following a 10-0 bashing at the hands of United Arab Emirates in a World Cup qualifying Group A match in Abu Dhabi on Sept 4.
Although his contract with the FA of Malaysia (FAM) as the National Under-23 coach ended on Dec 31 last year Kim Swee severed his coaching links with the national football body because he remained as the caretaker coach of the national team.
There will be continuity in the national team as Kim Swee as he Malaysia plays Saudi Arabia away (Riyadh) on March 24, saying that he will keep the core of the current national squad for the match.
However, the 45-year-old Kim Swee was quick to point out that “there will be a fair amount of transition of players” during the 10 friendly matches that he has lined – both home and overseas.
“I have been given a big challenge by the management…the KPI (Key Performance Index) is challenging but I have submitted my plans for a well-structured progress of the team. Hopefully the friendly matches will come through.
“I plan to play a friendly match against a Middle East country before we play Saudi Arabia,” said Kim Swee.
“With due respect to the other contenders for the ‘hot-seat’ it is a big challenge for me to raise the standard of Malaysian football. It is not easy to move up the world rankings within a short period of time.
“But it can be done gradually. We need to play friendly matches against strong and higher ranked teams. This why the friendly matches I have planned are important.”
Topping the KPI list is to win the AFF Suzuki Cup this December.
For sure Kim Swee will cook some of his favourites dishes for the re-union dinner on the eve of the Chinese New Year.