Harimau Muda target top-five finish

Harimau Muda coach Ong Kim Swee has set his eyes on finishing in the top five of the Singapore League this season.

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Despite the squad being relatively young in nature, and only 11 players remaining from the South-east Asia (SEA) Games squad that beat Indonesia to claim the gold medal, Ong is confident that his team has what it takes to shine in the S.League.

"The Football Association of Malaysia has not set me any targets with this team, but I want my boys to finish in the top five of the S-League next year," he said.

The former Sabah midfielder hopes that by bringing a young team to the league will help the players gain more experience and build their own style of football, which he aims to use in 2013's Asian Football Confederation Under-22 Championship qualifiers and the next edition of the SEA Games which is also in 2013.

"About 75 per cent of the squad can play in the Under-22 qualifiers next year, and reaching that tournament is a must for me," said Ong.

"We need to give the younger players exposure and the chance to build a style of our own... and it helps that the same group of boys will also be eligible for the next SEA Games in 2013."

While he knows that his side will be tested all the way in the S.League, Ong remains confident that the likes of Mahali Jasuli and Izzaq Faris, who displayed an impressive performance during the SEA Games, as well as defender Fadhli Shas and the midfield duo of Irfan Fazail and Wan Zack Haikal, who have returned from Sloviakian club Zlate Moravce for the winter break, will help the side establish itself.

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