Malacca-born Datuk Ong Kim Swee has taken it upon himself a massive job – a job that has become the hottest topic in the country and probably in this region.
The National Under-23 coach was appointed the interim national football coach hours after Dollah Salleh quit the job following a 10-0 hammering at the hands of United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Group A (Asian Zone) World Cup qualifying match in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Kim Swee is the obvious choice and has been given the green light by FA of Malaysia president HRH Prince Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah while the search for a foreign coach intensifies.
The 10-0 defeat in Abu Dhabi was the worst suffered by Malaysia in an international football match – which left Malaysians shell shocked. Malaysian football fans are still reeling from the disaster and what is in store for them this Tuesday is left to be seen.
Tuesday the national team will troop into the Shah Alam Stadium to face another Arab giant when they face Saudi Arabia.
“It’s a huge challenge. It is a mammoth task. I have been entrusted with the job and I take it as a challenge. Hopefully the fans and supporters will continue to throw their weight behind the team and give the players a chance to redeem their pride,” said Kim Swee.
“Frankly, playing another Arab nation soon after the demoralising defeat to UAE is not going to be any easy. But the players have to regain their confidence to play the next match.”
Kim Swee has taken some immediate measures and dropped six players from the present squad. Among those who have been dropped are striker Nor Farhan Mohammed, goalkeeper Zamir Selamat (injured), defender Zubir Azmi, Syamim Yahya and S. Kumarahaan. Among those who have earned a recall include Fadli Shaas and Fakri Saarani.
Kim Swee’s existing contract with the FAM is until the end of the year. It is learnt that Kim Swee has had several offers to coach national teams from a few countries in this region.