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Harimau Muda - How they fared.

As published in Mailsport.

The Harimau Muda lads finally completed their pre-Olympic campaign.

Having lost 3-0 to Syria on Wednesday en route to finishing at the bottom of Group C in the third round of the Asian qualifiers, the performance of the youngsters received mixed reaction from fans and observers alike.

Man-of-the-Match Mardek Mardkian scored a brace and later assisted teammate Al Suma to score the third goal for the Syrians.

National defender Fadhli Shas, meanwhile, was sent off for a questionable challenge forcing Malaysia to play with 10 men.

There are those who credited the team, saying it has been awhile since Malaysia actually made it to the final rounds of the qualifiers. The nation have only qualified for the Olympics on two occasions — the 1972 Munich and 1980 Moscow Games. However, Malaysia boycotted the 1980 edition after Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, Harimau Muda A coach Ong Kim Swee and his lads have received brickbats from certain quarters.

Not netting a single point in six matches was a bitter pill to swallow. Despite the over-the-top celebrations when defending the Sea Games title in Jakarta, it shows that we still have a long way to go to compete with Asia’s best.

Japan and Bahrain were the other two teams in the Group.

And to lose 3-0 to Syria — a war-torn nation that were forced to play their home match in Amman, Jordan — rubbed salt into the wound.

Kim Swee is not known to make excuses at times like these and he didn’t offer any.

“We were very unfortunate to not get a single point. It is very disappointing,” said Kim Swee.

“They (Syria) are a strong team but playing in the Middle East is different than playing in South East Asia.”

However, Kim Swee was quick to add that the matches offered valuable lessons to the team.

“We played six good matches ... six valuable matches that will not be the same even if we play 10 friendly matches against Chelsea.”

With the Olympics dream dashed, the team will now set their sights on the ongoing Singapore League and upcoming AFC U-22 qualifiers


  1. Overall our inability to score any points were due to lack of luck(both games against bahrain), timing (sea games) and tactical naivety (suicidal 4-4-2 against japan and high defensive line against syria in jordan). I still have hope and i think there is enough talent to see us through to afc u-22 finals provided coach Ong not make any tactical mistake against powerful oppositions again.

  2. We are lacking in the striker department. Off the ball movement of our players are pathetic. How about regular play with middle east team? Once we can pass the Arabian hurdles then we can dream.


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