National Under-23 head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee is not too pleased with some happenings in Manila and is irked with “irresponsible state and club teams” who are chasing the signatures of some players at a time when the focus is the Sea Games.
“It is understandable that teams want to strengthen their sides for next season’s M-League and I have come to know that some of my players have been approached in Manila. I am not too happy with such happenings when we are in Manila carrying the nation’s flag,” said Kim Swee.
Malaysia opened its football campaign in the 30th edition of the Sea Games with a 1-1 draw against Myanmar on Monday and will play host the Philippines on Friday. Apart from Myanmar and the Philippines the other teams in Group A are Timor Leste and Cambodia.
The latest happening in Manila has riled up Kim Swee who has been helming the Sea Games team for a record fifth time. The former international first Sea Games was in Indonesia in 2011 where Malaysia retained the gold medal.
“Let us focus on the Sea Games…this is a national duty. I sincerely hope that M-League teams can wait for the Sea Games campaign to be over. Do not distract the players in Manila with offers for the new M-League season.
“Such offers can be made at the end of the Sea Games. For now, let us focus on the Sea Games. Our campaign has just begun and we have important matches coming up. I want the players to be fully focused and committed,” added Kim Swee.
It has been learned that defender Irfan Zakaria, who played for Kuala Lumpur this season, is a “wanted man” by many teams for the 2020 M-League. Irfan is one of the two overaged players in the Sea Games squad. The other is Johor Darul Takzim defender Adam Nor Azlin, who is also the skipper in Manila. RIZAL ABDULLAH