Who would have thought that Datuk Ong Kim Swee’s appointment as head coach of Harimau Malaysia would result in Malaysia obtaining their lowest ever FIFA ranking in history?
This April marks the worst month in Malaysian football after the national team was ranked 174th in the world – eight spots below our previous ranking of 166. This also means that we’re only one spot ahead of 2019 Asian Cup play-off opponents Timor-Leste.
This comes after Datuk Ong Kim Swee’s first two games as the national team boss. The Malacca-born coach suffered a 2-0 defeat to a strong Saudi Arabia side in Jeddah during the 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifier last month. His Harimau Malaysia squad then drew 0-0 to an unimpressive Macau team at the Hang Jebat Stadium a few days later.
Malaysia will have a chance to improve their FIFA rankings when they face Timor-Leste in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup play-off match in June as well as Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and Fiji in the same month during the squad’s Oceania Tour.
WHAT DO WE THINK?
The pressure could not be piling up more for Datuk Ong Kim Swee. He was given a target to move Malaysia from being ranked 170 in the world to 140 in the world when he signed as head coach. However, things could not be worse as Malaysia fell to an all-time low of 174 in the latest FIFA rankings. Despite that, he needs to stop focusing on the number and spend his time training his players to be tougher and smarter for the upcoming matches in June. Sooner or later, with the players improving under him and performing at a higher level in the international matches, the FIFA rankings will eventually improve.