* Kim Swee believes Malaysia can still deliver against Vietnam
* New match strategies, new match plans without Nazmi
The name Nazmi Faiz Mansor became a hot topic for his direct red card for spitting on an opponent during Malaysia’s opening Group B match against Timor Leste and is still a hot name as Malaysia prepare for their match against Vietnam at the Bishan Stadium on Tuesday.
Nazmi became the first player in the 28th SEA Games football competition to get the sack for his disgraceful and disrespectful act which has tarnished Malaysia’s name even before the Games are officially launched.
Malaysia coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee does not wish to dwell on the shameful incident but he cannot avoid mentioning Nazmi’s name as Malaysia’s football fortunes have taken a plunge but the “battle is far from over” for Kim Swee and the team in their bid to regain the much sought after gold medal.
“I had my plans well laid for all the matches but unfortunately Nazmi threw a spanner into the plans. Without him in the team I am forced to change the plans and come up with new strategies. Vietnam is a strong contender for a top two finish in the group but we are ready,” said Kim Swee.
“What happens to Nazmi….whether he escapes lightly or faces a much harsher punishment does not matter at this stage. I am glad that there is still hunger in the team. The rest of the players are aware that the ‘show must go on’ and they are ready to do battle.
“Each player is aware that he has a responsibility and play his part. I have watched Vietnam and there are always the weak and strong points in any team. We have to exploit that to our advantage.”
Nazmi faces a minimum two-match ban for a direct red card but he could be handed a longer ban for the spitting offence to drive home the message that a footballer needs to be well disciplined on the field and show respect to his opponents or even his teammates.
Malaysia cannot afford to drop points against Vietnam and against defending champions Thailand on Thursday who roared to 6-0 wins over Brunei and Laos respectively in their opening matches.
“We need the points to stay in the hunt…it does not matter by what margin we win against Vietnam. I am optimistic that we can achieve a positive result against Vietnam. The players need to be focused and grab the opportunities to score,” added Kim Swee.