Thai King’s Cup: Pan-gon undeterred despite failing to get players of choice

Thai King’s Cup: Pan-gon undeterred despite failing to get players of choice

Current squad ‘seems very strong’, says Harimau Malaya head coach

PETALING JAYA – National head coach Kim Pan-gon revealed that many players he had wanted in the squad were not listed in the list ahead of the King’s Cup Tournament in Chiang Mai, Thailand from September 22 to 25.

Pan-gon, however, did not reveal the exact number of players he wanted, claiming it was due to personal reasons and injury recovery process for some players. “I’m excited to see how they will react to our team’s style and philosophy. We will try to build our own Malaysian DNA, so I want to see their reaction if they are fit enough.

“I think, generally, I’m very happy with this (current) squad. It seems very strong and I will just keep moving forward,” he said when met on the first day of the national squad’s centralised training camp at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya here, today.

A total of 23 from 25 players in the list reported today with Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) defender Mohd Shahrul Mohd Saad set to join the team in coming days as he is reported to be unwell while another defender, Dion Cools will join the team in Thailand.

Pan-gon confirmed all 25 players will fly with the team to The Land of Smiles on Sept 19.

Commenting on the first game against the hosts, the South Korean coach said this is a good chance and opportunity to test his charges to face a higher-ranked team.

“Ranking reflects the last few years of what they have done but does not reflect this moment…we will try our best to compete with them and we want to see good performances,” he said.

In the four-cornered competition, Malaysia, which is ranked 148th in the world, had been voted to face Thailand (ranked 111th) on Sept 22 (Thursday) while Trinidad & Tobago (101st) will meet Tajikistan (109th).

The winners of the two matches will meet in the final on September 25, while the defeated teams will vie for third placing.

Malaysia had lifted the cup four times in the past, namely in 1972, 1976, 1977 and 1978.

– Bernama, September 16, 2022

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