Malaysia to forget football before AFF Suzuki Cup

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In search of having a close-knit squad at the AFF Suzuki Cup, Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee has ordered his players to stay away from the ball during a three-day beachside retreat. 

Malaysia will not have any training sessions over the next three days as the Tigers have placed team building as a priority ahead of the AFF Suzuki Cup in November.

Ong Kim Swee takes his charges to a three-day camp at Thistle in Port Dickson with team building his highest priority until Friday.

He tells FourFourTwo there will be no activity involving a ball.

There will be no football training or any gym sessions. It will not affect any rhythm. The first batch of players have been with us for over a week and I got to do a lot of work with them. Those from Selangor and Kedah could use a break after the Malaysia Cup final.

“We have set up plans for team building, which will be handled by a team of professionals. The hotel had a package for such activities … we communicated to them what were our objectives and what we expected from it,” said Ong.

“There will be no football training or any gym sessions. It will not affect any rhythm. The first batch of players have been with us for over a week and I got to do a lot of work with them. Those from Selangor and Kedah could use a break after the Malaysia Cup final.

“Anyway, there are endurance-related activities in store as well so that’s some sort of fitness work.

“I believe having a good relationship off the field is vital. I need more togetherness from the players… I’m not saying relations are not good now, it is okay, but I want something more before the Suzuki Cup.”

Malaysia play Papua New Guinea on November 14 before leaving for Yangon for the Suzuki Cup group stage, where the Tigers open their campaign against Cambodia on November 20 before matches against Vietnam and Myanmar.

The Malaysians have called-up a rather second-string looking side following several retirements in July and a club vs country row with Malaysia Super League winners Johor Darul Ta’zim.

Ong appears to have put the saga behind, insisting he had his attention on preparing the Tigers for the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Main Photo: Weixiang Lim/FFT