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Ong Kim Swee showed his uncanny ability to bounce back from setbacks, through his latest appointment to the Malaysian Federation.
On Monday, the Football Federation of Malaysia (FAM) announced the appointment of former Malaysian and Malaysian U23 head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee as its technical director.
The 50-year-old coach replaces Dutchman Peter de Roo, who left office at the end of last year.
Although he had three seasons as head coach of the Malaysian senior team, twice as an interim and finally as a permanent designee, it was his time as Malaysia Under-23 that was arguably the most memorable.
He guided the Young Tigers to the men’s soccer gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games (SEA) in 2011, and years later would lead them to a higher stage, the continental one.
After leading his teammates to the final of the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship first, he then defeated favorites Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the final group match to qualify for the round of 16, Malaysia’s best record in the competition.
Later that year, he further solidified his reputation as a coach who is capable of leading his team to hit above their weight, when Malaysia Under-22 achieved an impressive 2-1 victory in the group stage over the eventuals. South Korean champions on their way to qualifying for the round of 16 of the 2018 Asian Games football event.
Malaysia U23 v South Korea U23. Getty / Goal Composite
But all good things must come to an end, and their brilliant streak with the Young Tigers would end in 2019. At the beginning of the year they failed to qualify for the 2020 AFC Under-23 Championship final, and then they only made it to the group. stage at the SEA Games 2019.
Although his contract as head coach did not extend beyond the year, FAM still valued the services of the man who in 2017 had told him objective that he was “honored to continue serving the FAM” when he was later reassigned to the U23 team from the senior team, quite unfairly, following a change in the association’s management.
Following the second parting of ways between him and the Young Tigers, in January 2020, FAM appointed him head of the youth development unit.
Almost a year later, Kim Swee has been given a much larger role at FAM, evidence of her ability to take setbacks in stride and overcome any disappointments through her perseverance and great dedication to hard work.