KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — A frozen pitch dashed Ong Kim Swee’s preview of things to come as icy weather put off the last friendly match against the Syrian Under-23 squad to a review of playable situations today.
Currently in Nanjing, China to prepare for the AFC Under-23 Championship, the teams were scheduled to spar at 4pm at Jiangsu Training Base Stadium but cold weather froze the pitch and the Chinese Football Association (CFA) ruled it was too dangerous to play.
“The Syrians couldn’t even get to the stadium from their camp in Kunshan as roads were closed,” said Kim Swee yesterday.
“Thick snow has covered the pitch and we can’t train. CFA is looking for alternatives for us but it’s subject to weather and safety conditions. If we can’t play this final game tomorrow, we go straight into our first game against Iraq on Jan 10. It’s a disappointment for both teams as we wanted to test our own strengths ahead of the tournament,” he added.
Kim Swee was to use the friendly to finalise his line-up and tactics. For now, it’s wait and see what tomorrow brings.
Malaysia is in Group C with Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia while Syria is in Group D with South Korea, Australia and Vietnam. Defending champions Japan is in Group B with North Korea, Thailand and Palestine.