KUALA LUMPUR: National Under-22 squad head coach, Datuk Ong Kim Swee admitted it was hard to accept the fact that Malaysia failed to qualify for the 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 (U-23) championship.   

With wins over Philippines and Laos as well as a draw with China in the Group J qualifying matches and without conceding any losses, Kim Swee said this was a difficult outcome to accept.

“It is really bitter to be knocked out without losing. The seriousness and commitment of players is much appreciated but more has to be done,” he said in his site, Twitter@OKS HarimauMsia yesterday.

Malaysia completed the qualifying round as group runners-up sharing seven points with China who have better goal difference to be crowned group champions.

However, the dream of making into the finals scheduled on Bangkok next year went up in smoke when Malaysia failed to find a slot in the group of the top four runners-up to join 12 other teams.

In this regard, the 48-year-old coach appreciated the support shown by local football fans during the qualifying campaign including 26,183 supporters who were present at Shah Alam Stadium in the match against China which ended in a 2-2 draw on Tuesday.    Malaysia under Kim Swee qualified for the AFC U-23 final for the first time in 2018 in China and created history by advancing to the quarter-finals before losing 1-2 to South Korea. – Bernama