Malaysia U23 head coach Ong Kim Swee let rip at his playmaker Nazmi Faiz Mansor for showing petulance in the 1-0 win against Timor Leste U23 in their SEA Games opener last night.
The Young Tigers were made to sweat for the victory against the less-fancied East Timorese, after Nazmi was brandished a straight red card in the 32th minute.
The incident happened near the touchline after he was caught in a tussle for the ball with Timor Leste defender Felipe Oliveira.
In a show of petulance, the Selangor midfielder spat at the latter’s direction – an action which caught linesman Jeffrey Goh’s attention – leading to referee Jansen Foo reaching for his pocket for the dreaded red card.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, coach Ong was in no mood to defend the player in mention.
“Of course I’m not happy with that,” he said bluntly.
“If what Nazmi did was true, I definitely cannot tolerate that.
“It’s very unacceptable and it made our situation very difficult at the end of the day.
“We played well and created chances even with 10 men, but when you play 10 vs 11, the 10 players have to work extra hard.”
With Nazmi set to miss out for three games or more, ruling him out for selection for the majority of the upcoming group games, Ong warns that he could be on an early flight back to Malaysia.
“This time around, there are no star players in my team,” said the 44-year-old.
“If it’s true (about what he did) and whatever the disciplinary board comes out with, then I’ll see what I have to do.
“If he’s not available for a few games, then I’ll send him back.”
The result pales in comparison to the 6-0 victories which Group B rivals Thailand and Vietnam attained on Day One of the competition, but Ong was by no means perturbed.
“I don’t care about the result, as long as we get the three points; that’s the most important thing.
“Vietnam and Thailand scored six goals, but they still got three points only – not six points.”