Selangor Journal
Harimau Malaya head coach Kim Pan Gon speaks to the press after a training session at Wisma FAM, Petaling Jaya, on November 29, 2022. — Picture by BERNAMA

Pan Gon not pressing panic button over crock list

PETALING JAYA, May 27 — Despite being beset by a series of injuries to key players, Harimau Malaya head coach Kim Pan Gon remains optimistic about fielding a quality lineup for the remaining two matches of Group D in the second round of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers against Kyrgyzstan and Taiwan next month.

He does not want to dwell on the injuries too much but instead prefers to focus on selecting other players capable of advancing the national team to the next stage of the competition.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) had previously announced a list of 23 players for the centralised training camp starting today.

Key players like wingers Arif Aiman Mohd Hanapi and Mohamad Faisal Abdul Halim, as well as forward Romel Morales, have been sidelined due to injuries.

“It is a tough situation with Faisal Halim’s case, Arif Aiman’s injury, Morales’ ankle injury. Our attacking power has got problems, and this is what we have at the moment, but we still have other manpower.

“I still believe all the other players have equal quality; maybe they have more motivation and this is their time to prove it. However, we will try to find the best fit and composition to prepare for the matches,” Kim said.

The South Korean was speaking to the press at the centralised training camp at Wisma FAM, Kelana Jaya today.

Star winger Faisal was injured in an attack at a shopping mall in Petaling Jaya earlier this month and suffered fourth-degree burns. He has undergone four surgeries, was recently discharged from a private hospital, and is currently recuperating at home.

The injury issue continued as another key player, Syafiq Ahmad, had to be dropped from the squad due to an injury.

However, Kim called up Kuala Lumpur City FC player Zhafri Yahya to fill the vacancy left by the Kedah Darul Aman FC player.

After four matches, Malaysia, in third place in Group D with six points, will face Kyrgyzstan at Dolen Omurzakov Stadium, Bishkek, on June 6 before meeting Taiwan in the final match at the National Stadium, Bukit Jalil, on June 11.

Kyrgyzstan currently leads Group D, followed by Oman in second place, both with nine points apiece, but the former with a superior goal difference.

Both teams will meet in the final group match on June 11, while Taiwan is at the bottom of the group without any points.

Malaysia needs three points in both of the remaining matches. They hope Oman defeats Kyrgyzstan to brighten their chances of making history by qualifying for the third round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers and securing an early spot in the 2027 Asian Cup.

— Bernama

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