The Harimau Muda team which arrived in Pleiku City on Friday for the Under-21 Youth Newspaper Cup 2012, have already been tagged as favorites against Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam Youth Newspaper and Sydney FC - the high expectations stemming from the team's success since their inception five years ago under the watchful eye of Ong.
Apart from guiding the side through a packed season on the pitch as well as protecting them off it, Ong has had to battle constant rumours - the latest being the speculation that he will take over as Singapore coach in early 2013.
The Malacca native, who has led the team from being Premier League champions in his first season to winning the gold in the 2011 SEA Games, is, however, unperturbed and has brushed the rumours aside, insisting that his eyes remain firmly on the prize.
"The rumours were sparked off from a comment on a Singapore newspaper website. We are used to distractions," said Ong calmly to ESPNSTAR in Vietnam, while preparing for his team's opening game against Laos on Saturday evening.
"My team, consisting of the players as well as the backroom staff, have been taking it all in our stride. Our target is to retain our SEA Games title," he affirmed
"I try to keep an open mind with everything, including the many opportunities offered, but I want nothing more than to continue developing Harimau Muda.
"The support that the FAM (Football Assosciation of Malaysia) has given us is immense. Still, I am flattered to have received the offers from the different parties.
"But this is my motherland, my heart will always be with Malaysia.
"The offers also prove that coaches in Malaysia are of calibre and have the potential set their sights higher."
The Young Tigers, who have been conditioned to compete against players at least twice their age, experience and physique for the past five years, have won over fans with their spirited and stylish play.
The results have spoken for themselves with Harimau Muda currently fourth in the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League and still in with a chance of winning the title in their debut season, despite the rest of competition being able to employ up to four foreign players.