# Coach Kim Swee defends Safee Sali for missed penalty
The national football team has new found confidence following their 3-1 win over Laos in a friendly match in Bangkok on Thursday.
Caretaker coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee believes that it could turn things for Malaysian football as they search for their first win in Group A (Asian Zone) in the World Cup qualifiers.
Malaysia face Timor Leste in Dili on Tuesday – a tough match in many ways after Timor Leste drew 1-1 with Palestine at home on Thursday. For the record Timor Leste also drew 1-1 with Malaysia in the first round at Shah Alam.
It has been a bad run for the Malaysia in the World Cup qualifiers which also double for the Asian Cup.
Malaysian football is at an all-time low and the 171 Fifa ranking is the lowest by the national football team which even suffered a humiliating 10-0 defeat at the hands of United Arab Emirates (UAE) away which led to the resignation of then head coach Dollah Salleh.
Kim Swee has brought back some respectability to the team in terms of confidence, commitment and discipline since he took over. But alas…the Ultras Malaya had their own way to get at the FA of Malaysia (FAM) leadership and brought shame to the country in the home match against Saudi Arabia on Sept 8.
The match was abandoned after 88 minutes with Saudi Arabia leading 2-1 after play became impossible due to crowd trouble.
For now Kim Swee wants his players to ride on the momentum to face Timor Leste – fully focused, committed and disciplined for the much needed win that will give Malaysian football a shot in the arm.
Christie Jayaseelan showed that he can be a “valuable asset” in the team when he hammered a brace against Laos. Pahang utility player Azamuddin Akil got the other. Safee Sali missed a late penalty.
Kim Swee had nice things to say about Christie and also Safee and the team’s overall performance against Laos – now coached by Englishman Steve Darby – no stranger to Malaysia, having coached Johor, Perak and Kelantan in the M-League.
“Safee may have missed the penalty but it is something that happens in football. He gave a creditable performance overall in the game,” said Kim Swee, adding there is bound to be some pressure when a player takes a spot kick.
Christie was on cloud nine after his double strike which paved the way for Malaysia’s first win this year.
“I am glad to repay the faith coach had in me,” Christie was quoted as saying after the match.
Christie got his first in the 50th minute with a close range shot. He then got his second which came deep into added time while Azamuddin Akil got his name into the scoresheet on 53 minutes.
Laos made it count from their penalty in the 82nd minute when Sitthideth Khanthavong was on target.
Meanwhile, commenting on Malaysia’s predicament, said: “I know Malaysian football very well. I spent seven seasons in Malaysia and I know the crowd well.
“When the team loses they (crowd) go crazy and when you win they also go crazy… the other way,” said Darby.