The National Sports Council (NSC) is confident that Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) will be able to dig deep to ensure that the preparations of the national Under-22 squad are fully optimized for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur in August.
NSC director general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said that his organization does not have a problem with the national football association making changes to their organizational structure, if the alterations assist the national squad with their preparations for the Games.
“We do not have any concerns with the change of head coach because Datuk Ong Kim Swee is no stranger to us here. We have worked with him numerous times and respect FAM’s decision for replacing the ex-national team boss with German-born Frank Bernhardt,” Ahmad Shapawi said as quoted by Berita Harian.
“We intend to offer our full support by providing our sports science services as requested by FAM in ensuring that the team can prepare more efficiently prior to the competition.
Ahmad Shapawi was reportedly saying that he believes that the young men have a good chance of clinching the gold medal at the SEA Games due to their progress in the Malaysia Super League (MSL).
“I am not worried of any last-minute preparations because most of the selected players have been consistent in the MSL with their respective teams.
“We hope that FAM makes the most out of these remaining four or five months because it will be the deciding factor between winning gold at the SEA Games or leaving empty-handed.
Malaysia last clinched the gold medal at the 2011 SEA Games in Jakarta after the boys in yellow defeated Indonesia 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out as the game ended 1-1 after 90 minutes. Thailand won back-to-back gold medals in 2013 and 2015 in Myanmar and Singapore respectively.