Malay Mail Online

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Stamina key in Kim Swee’s plans

Kim Swee will drop another three players from his squad. — Picture by Ahmad ZamzahuriKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — Malaysia Under-23 coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee said only players who possess endurance will make the cut for the AFC Championships final in China next month.

Kim Swee will drop another three players for the final squad of 23.

“I don’t have any specific criteria I’m looking for but it is important for the players to be super fit besides listening and understanding instructions,” said Kim Swee yesterday.

“We are in South Korea for training camps and friendlies before heading to China.

“Here we will work to improve more on what we are lacking after a month of training in Kelana Jaya.”

Kim Swee has 26 players for the second phase training camp in Mokpo, South Korea.

He said the players must adapt to the cold weather as soon as possible, as well.

“Of course they need to be given time to adapt but I’m looking for the ones that can manage and adapt to the conditions easily. That’s important,” he said.

He was also quick to stress he remains positive on the team’s preparations. “I don’t want to think negatively. We need to be positive in everything,” he said.

After three months of the training camps in Kelana Jaya, the players are in Mokpo for a 14-day training camp after which they will move to Nanjing, China for eight days of final preparation.

The team will be in Changsu on Jan 6 for two early Group C matches against Iraq (Jan 10) and Jordan (Jan 13) before its last match against Saudi Arabia in Kunshan (Jan 16).

If Malaysia manages to finish top two in the group, it will be in the quarterfinals to be played on Jan 20.