One-on-one with OKS


On Sunday, the Central Coast Mariners will take on the Malaysian U23 National Team (Harimau Muda) in the Club’s second match of the 2013 Menpora Cup in Indonesia.

On Sunday, Central Coast Mariners will take on the Malaysian U23 National Team (Harimau Muda) in the Club-s second match of the 2013 Menpora Cup in Indonesia.

Ahead of the fixture at Stadion Si Jalak Harupat in Bandung, we caught up with Harimau Muda manager Ong Kim Swee.

Swee is a former Malaysian international, and played professionally with Malacca, Sarawak and Sabah in his homeland during the 1990s.

He is currently charged with mentoring Malaysia-s best young players so the Tigers can become a force to be reckoned with in Asian football.

Central Coast Mariners can stream Sunday-s match against Harimau Muda live HERE. Mr Swee, thank you for your time. Firstly, can you tell us about your team and the your preparation coming into the 2013 Menpora Cup?
Ong Kim Swee (OKS):
First of all the point of Malaysia having Harimau Muda, or it-s called Young Tigers in Malaysia, is to have all the best under 23 players besides the Clubs to play together. We have had Harimau Muda for almost five years now and we can see that it-s very fruitful. The boys have been getting a lot of exposure, and every year we travel to Europe. This year we were about five months in Slovakia where we played against Clubs from Hungary, Austria, and even the Czech Republic. The point is to give the players very good exposure, and our target is to retain our South East Asian Games Gold Medal at the end of this year in Myanmar. Secondly, we want to prepare the team for the 2014 Asian Games. Besides the Menpora tournament we have been playing in Malaysia, Merdeka Cup tournament. For this tournament (Menpora Cup) I didn-t get the best of the under 23 players because they are attached to their Clubs with their leagues going on. But in another way it-s good to have the reserves to come and play against good clubs such as Persib Bandung, Central Coast and Sriwijaya. Mariners fans will watch the game online via MNC TV. Who should they keep an eye out for?
OKS: The captain, number seven, Irfan Fazail, is a very talented midfielder. He had an attachment with a Club in Slovakia for three months and I think he has the potential to go abroad. But is all depends on how he can progress. Your team drew 2-2 with Persib Bandung yesterday. Were you happy with the result and the performance of your team?
OKS: Of course to play against Persib who have six foreigners and a few national players in their team against our under 23 team, for us to get a draw is a very good result. But I think we can definitely do better than what we did yesterday. Did you watch Central Coast Mariners against Sriwijaya FC and if so, what did you think of our team?
OKS: Yes, of course. I know they always play good football, are a very composed side, and are tactically sound. For me, Central Coast would be the favourites to win the tournament. You-ve just finished having a coffee with Graham Arnold, who played with Scott Ollerenshaw, who you work closely with in Malaysia. It-s a small world, football, isn-t it?
OKS: It is a good thing about football – you get to know a lot of people. With all the contacts and the relationships that we have, it is good for football in Malaysia generally. I have a good rapport with Scott Ollerenshaw and now with Graham (Arnold) and Mossy (Phil Moss). So all these will benefit us in the future. Definitely I am looking at talking about a joint program with Central Coast. Finally, Mr Swee, what are your hopes for your players and for Malaysian football?
OKS: It is my aim to get our young players to play abroad. At the moment we have two players that play in J3 (J-League 3). If you want to have a good national team, your players have to play abroad – especially in South East Asia because even in Japan you see most of the players are playing abroad. We need to have at least 20 or 30 players so we can come back with a strong national team. I think these boys will think about it and if they have the opportunity to play for a better Club outside Malaysia, I would definitely encourage them to do that. Thank you for your time, Mr Swee.
OKS: You-re welcome!

Central Coast Mariners 2013 Menpora Cup Squad:

1. Justin Pasfield (Gk), 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Marcel Seip, 5. Zachary Anderson, 6. Brent Griffiths, 7. John Hutchinson (c), 8. Nick Montgomery, 9. Mitchell Duke, 10. Marcos Flores, 11. Nick Fitzgerald, 12. Liam Reddy (Gk), 13. Hayden Morton, 14. Michael McGlinchey, 15. Storm Roux, 16. Trent Sainsbury, 17. Anthony Caceres, 19. Matt Simon, 21. Mile Sterjovski, 22. Tom Slater

Central Coast Mariners 2013 Menpora Cup Match Schedule:

Friday 20 September, 2013
Sriwijaya FC vs. Central Coast Mariners FC
Stadion Jalak Harupat
Kick-off: 3:30pm local (6:30pm AEST)
Twitter: #SRIvCCM
Result: 2-0 WIN | Goalscorers: Matt Simon & Nick Fitzgerald

Sunday 22 September, 2013
Malaysia U23 (“Harimau Muda”) vs. Central Coast Mariners FC
Stadion Jalak Harupat
Kick-off: 3:30pm local (6:30pm AEST)
Twitter: #HMvCCM

Tuesday 24 September, 2013
Persib Bandung vs. Central Coast Mariners FC
Stadion Jalak Harupat
Kick-off: 6:30pm local (9:30pm AEST)
Twitter: #PBvCCM

Official 2013 Menpora Cup Digital & Social Accounts:

Twitter: (@PialaMenpora)