Ong Kim Swee: Malaysia can beat anybody
Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee believes that a united and consistent front could bring Harimau Malaysia success in the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup.
In a sit-down interview with affsuzukicup.com, the 45-year-old expressed confidence in his team despite several high profile player retirements this year.
"This is the biggest tournament in Southeast Asia and [I think] all the teams are equal, except Thailand who I can see are moving very fast in front," he said.
"In this tournament, I believe the most consistent team throughout will have the best chance to become champions.
"For Malaysia, I hope if we can get most of our players and be in the right frame of mind, we can achieve what Datuk K. Rajagobal achieved in 2010."
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Malaysia won their first and only AFF Suzuki Cup title six years ago, in what was their second appearance in the final since the inaugural tournament back in 1996, as they beat Indonesia 4-2 on aggregate.
Under Dollah Salleh, an unfancied Malaysia made it all the way to the final once again in 2014, only to fall at the final hurdle as they lost 4-3 over two legs to a Kiatisuk Senamuang-led Thailand.
"I always believe in unity. If we can get the players working as a team, where they fight and play for each other, that would make us much stronger," Ong said.
"Tactically we are on par [with the other teams] but during match day, with the right tactical approach and the right frame of mind we can beat any team.
"I need the fans to be behind us. Everybody knows that in Malaysia we are [in a period of] transition where we are trying to get younger players into the national team.
"Whatever happens, I believe there are always positive things to come and we'll definitely do our best to qualify for the semi-finals and repeat what we
did in 2014. We'll try to do as good as we can."