U23 doors still wide open, likely to play UAE Aug 10.

It is probably divine intervention that coach Dato Ong Kim Swee has been given more time to work in his preparations before their first match on August 15.

The change of groupings will now see the National Under 23 squad playing on August 15 against Kyrgyzstan followed by South Korea on August 17 and finishing the group stage with a match against Bahrin.

The team, who lost 1-2 against their Chinese counterparts on Sunday will now return to KL and hold training sessions until they depart on August 13.

And Kim Swee is hoping to arrange at least one friendly match on August 10.

“ We need one match to iron out the chunks that were evident in our match against China,” said Kim Swee when contacted this morning after a workout with his team.

“We have an extr week to prepare the team and this is extremely useful as I need to shore up not the defence and midfield.

“ Considering it was our first match since January, I am played with the outcome and performance.

“ However we need to pay more attention to our midfield and defence as we are missing some key players.”

And Kim Swee hope that things will look up for his team with the extra days available before the team departs.

Several players who opted out due to commitments or injury or failure to secure release from their teams.

Aidil Zaquan and Syamer Kutty, both from JDT were earlier ruled out due to injuries while Hadi Fayyad was left out as he went to Japan to undergo trials.

Another two, Pahang’s Mathew Davies and Nor Azam Azih were not released by their employers.

“ The door is still open for these players if they recover or are released by their teams,” said Kim Swee.

“ No doubt the team could do with their services but at present I will work on what u have.

“ We need to see if the two injured players have recovered sufficiently and this needs to be assessed by the medical experts.

“ As for Hadi , I am hoping that with this extra days he will be able to join the team in training.”

It is learnt that three Asian Games bound teams are in Malaysia undergoing their final phase of preparation.

The three are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Baharin.

And it is learnt that the team will square off against UAE in August 10 though the FAM have yet to make any formal announcements.

Initially the team was to play Saudi Arabia on August 9 but the match had to be called off as the initial groupings and fixtures needed Malaysia to be in Indonesia by August 8.