* Kim Swee had a sleepless night after 1-0 win over Timor Leste
* ‘If at all we fail in Singapore, Nazmi should take the blame’ – Kim Swee
* ‘Nazmi faces a hefty fine: Kim Swee
* ‘It is not easy to find a football talent like Nazmi in another five years but he needs to be disciplined’ – Kim Swee
A moment of stupidity saw one of Malaysia’s talented and future football star Nazmi Faiz Mansor getting a direct red card in their opening SEA Games Group B match against Timor Leste last night.
The red evening at the Bishan Stadium could also signal a premature end to Malaysia’s campaign in the football competition.
What was turning out to be “smooth going” for the Malaysian team after scoring the lead on 11 minutes turned out to be a nightmare which will live in coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee’s mind.
Kim Swee had worked out his plans well for the team in the Group of Death which also has defending champions Thailand and strong contender Vietnam. The other teams in the group are Brunei and Laos.
“I just went blank when I saw the referee flashed the red card as I knew it was also the end of my match plans. If there is any consolation, I am glad that we scored an early goal (before the red card) and held on to win the three important points,” said the Malacca-born Kim Swee who is handling the football team for the third successive Games.
Kim Swee led the team to retain the gold medal in Indonesia in 2011 after Datuk K. Rajagobal won it in 2009 in Laos.
At the last SEA Games in Myanmar, Malaysia could only finish fourth after losing to Singapore in the bronze medal playoff.
Talking about the Nazmi’s sacking for spitting at Timor Leste’s Filipe Oliveira in the 32nd minute, Kim Swee said Nazmi “spoiled Malaysia’s show” at Bishan on a night after D. Saarvindran had given Malaysia the lead.
“Frankly, I lost my appetite for dinner with the sacking and had no dinner on the night. I can expect Nazmi to be handed a suspension and with a direct red card it could be a minimum of two matches. But it (suspension) could be more because spitting is disrespectful. When a player is in the wrong, I will not defend him.”
Kim Swee added that depending on the disciplinary board’s verdict on the red card, which is also the first in the 28th edition of the biennial games, he will not hesitate to impose a “hefty fine” on Nazmi.
“Nazmi is a talented player and I don’t think Malaysia will find another Nazmi in the next five years. But he will have to check on his discipline if he wants to go far in his football career. He is still available for the next SEA Games (which Malaysia will host in 2017).
“If Nazmi cannot accept the fine, then I have no choice but to send the player home,” said Kim Swee, adding that he will discuss the matter with team manager Datuk Apandi Hamzah, who will only join the team tonight as he was away in Zurich for the FIFA Congress.
In the same breath Kim Swee gave credit to the team for their “tremendous fighting spirit” to carve out the narrow win over Timor Leste despite the numerical disadvantage after Nazmi’s sacking.
“Everyone was forced to work extra hard and they did all they could to get more goals which unfortunately did not come.”
Kim Swee is now cracking his head to work out his match strategies against Vietnam on Tuesday and against defending champions Thailand on Thursday – two back-to-back toughies which Malaysia cannot afford to lose after both teams registered 6-0 wins over Brunei and Laos respectively in their opening matches.