Winning AFF Cup is Pan Gon’s aim

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PATHUM THANI: National head coach Kim Pan Gon admitted that winning the ASEAN Football Federation Cup (AFF) remains his important target with the Harimau Malaya squad.

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That was acknowledged by Pan Gon ahead of the clash against defending champions Thailand in the 2022 AFF Cup semi-final second-leg match at the Thammasat Stadium here, later today, for a place in the final.

The 53-year-old South Korean coach who was appointed in January last year said if Malaysia made it to the final this time, it would be an honor for him to make the country’s football fans happy before going on to challenge for the title against Vietnam.

“Personally to me the AFF Cup is a very interesting tournament. When I was in Hong Kong and South Korea it’s was very interesting to watch this tournament. When I became Malaysia’s national team head coach, to be champion is one of the main targets.

“This is one of the important targets for me, so if we go to the final it will be a great honor for me and the Malaysian football fans,” he told a pre-match press conference here, yesterday.

Commenting on tomorrow’s match, despite being grateful with the 1-0 win victory at home last Saturday, Pan Gon said his players must always focus and be aware of the capabilities of the War Elephants squad, especially when playing on their own turf.

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However, he said his squad was physically and mentally prepared for the match.

“We have a good advantage but we are fully aware that away games are very tough, however we are mentally and physically well recoverd and prepared for tomorrow’s game. All are ready and full of confidence to play against Thailand tomorrow, we want to have good result,” he said.

Meanwhile, midfielder Stuart Wilkin said the team can’t just play defensively, but instead need to find an early goal to keep pressuring the opponent.

“Coming to this game we know it’s not going to be easy playing away in Thailand against the good Thailand team but of course we are looking for goals to pressure them, it’s gonna be a challenge but something that we have to do,” said the 24-year-old Sabah FC player.

The victory at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday saw Malaysia extend their unbeaten record against Thailand to six matches after winning two and drawing three in their previous meetings since 2018. -BERNAMA


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