OKS calls for more Malaysians to aim for Europe

Having seen first hand how things are done at Queens Park Rangers, Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee feels more Southeast Asian players should aspire to be in Europe. FourFourTwo Thailand caught up with Ong during his month-long attachment with the English club. 

Many from Southeast Asia have had stints in Europe over the years but only few can claim to have made the cut.

The likes of Singaporean Fandi Ahmad, Thailand coach Kiatisuk Senamuang and Malaysia's Akmal Rizal are those that come to mind while Lim Teong Kim built a reputation as a youth coach in Germany.

Ong, however, feels sending just a few players will not do much to improve the standard of football in the region.

If we could get more Malaysian players to play in Europe it would be really beneficial. Not just one or two players, a much bigger representation

"Look at Japan and Korea, most of their national team players don't play at home ... they go abroad," Ong told FourFourTwo.

"If we could get more Malaysian players to play in Europe it would be really beneficial. Not just one or two players, a much bigger representation. It could help countries in Southeast Asia.

"When you train regularly with better players, coaches and facilities, one will improve."

While in England recently for a training stint, Ong also saw first hand how Ian Hollaway prepared QPR for matches and was given an insight to the club's operations..

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OKS was in England recently on a learning trip

"It's totally different to teams in Malaysia. Even though QPR play in the Championship, everything is run professionally,” he said. “The facilities are superb too.

"I saw the first team train, attended matches and saw what is done away from the pitch.

There's a lot we can learn. I hope what I saw here would be implemented in Malaysian football in the future. Most importantly, we need to look at having very good set-ups at all teams.

"There's a lot we can learn. I hope what I saw here would be implemented in Malaysian football in the future. Most importantly, we need to look at having very good set-ups at all teams."

Southeast Asia has sought expertise from abroad in the past but there aren't many who could say with conviction that they changed the landscape of football.

Ong, however, felt foreign expertise could be better suited for development rather than filling the national teams. He opinionated that Thailand's decision to stick with Kiatisuk Senamuang was a good one.

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OKS is looking to extend his stay as Malaysia coach

"Thailand are making the right decisions. There is no reason to sack Zico. Remember that foreign coaches have not done so well," said Ong.

"Thailand are not doing well in the World Cup qualifier but I believe they are the best team from this region at the moment that could make that giant leap.

"In our Southeast Asian countries, you need to know the culture and if you need instant results, you need locals ... but if it was for development and such, I agree that foreign expertise could be utilised but it must a renowned name, not just because they are from Europe."

Photos: Asiana.my