KUALA LUMPUR: Coach Ong Kim Swee has confirmed that he will call up players from the national Under-19 team to join his training squad to prepare for the AFC Under-23 Championship on Jan 9-27.
Malaysia are in Group C with Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia in the Under-23 tournament in Changshu, China.
Kim Swee said several players from Bojan Hodak’s side that qualified for next year’s AFC Under-19 Championship recently have impressed him and their inclusion will add depth to his team.
The former international disclosed that most players for the AFC Under-23 tournament will come from his Kuala Lumpur Sea Games silver medal team.
“I will come up with my list of 28 players next week. They will report to camp later this month,” said Kim Swee yesterday.
The trainees will report in Johor Baru for a training camp on Nov 27-Dec 16. They will play two friendly matches on Dec 9 and 14.
They will then head to Mokpo, Korea for a 14-day camp on Dec 17, where they will play three international matches on Dec 22, 25 and 28.
After the stint, Kim Swee's side will move their base to Nanjing, China for eight days and play an international friendly on Jan 5 before they head to Changshu for the tournament on the next day.
“I will take 26 players to Korea for the second phase of training and from there, I will drop three members before we travel to China.”
“We have not finalised the teams that we will be playing against in friendly matches. However, we will mostly likely play international youth teams as they will likely be based in Korea or China for their training camps,” he said.
Kedah’s Akhyar Rashid, Kelantan’s Nik Akif Syahiran and Johor Darul Ta’zim II’s Hadi Fayyadh Abdul Razak are among those in the national Under-19 team who are likely to earn spots in Kim Swee’s training squad. Akhyar was a member of Kim Swee’s Sea Games team.
Kim Swee recently extended his contract for another two years with the FA of Malaysia (FAM).
“I thank FAM president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim for having faith in me. It is an honour to serve the country for another two years.
“I will do my best to achieve all targets and make the nation proud,” Kim Swee added.