PAN GON WANTS TO STAY DESPITE SETBACK IN WORLD CUP QUALIFIER


KUALA LUMPUR, National team head coach Kim Pan Gon voiced his desire to continue guiding Malaysia although the Harimau Malaya missed the chance to qualify for the third round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers.

The South Korean whose contract ends early next year said he wants to stay with the national team until the 2027 Asian Cup.

However, the 55-year-old former Korean Football Association (KFA) team director would leave the decision on his fate to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

‘As for contract I stay here, I’m not asking to leave, if force me to leave I have to leave, I always put effort here but time to time I’m tired, very tired but in the end keep quite and fight.

‘But this (stay or leave) is not my decision, all media, fans, clubs and FAM – depend on that. So I’m not asked to leave, I never asked to leave, I said I want to stay here I want to go to the next Asian Cup, but this is not my decision,’ he said.

Pan Gon said this when asked about his future in a post-match press conference
after Malaysia beat Taiwan 3-1 in the last Group D match of the second round of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup at the National Stadium, Bukit Jalil tonight.

Malaysia’s hopes of going further in the World Cup 2026 qualifying campaign are as good as over despite the 3-1 victory.

Malaysia will now have to hope for Oman to thrash Kyrgyzstan in the other Group D match in Muscat which is scheduled to start at midnight (Malaysian time).

Oman need to win by at least 7-0 for Malaysia to pip Kyrgyzstan to second place in the group on goal difference and thus, qualify for the third round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers.

Malaysia, who have completed their fixtures, are currently third in the four-team standings with 10 points, the same as Kyrgyzstan (second). Oman lead the group with 12 points while Taiwan are rooted at the bottom with no points.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

PAN GON HAILS PLAYERS’ MENTALITY DESPITE FAILURE TO SPARK GOAL RUSH


KUALA LUMPUR, Harimau Malaya head coach Kim Pan Gon has described Malaysia’s failure to score as many goals as they had hoped for against Taiwan as ‘agonising’, more so since that was what they needed to do to advance to the third round of the World Cup 2026/Asian Cup 2027 Qualifiers.

He, however, praised his men’s strong mentality when they came back from going a goal down to score three times after the break to win 3-1 against Taiwan in their final Group D match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tonight.

‘Yes, we came into this match with a mission to score a lot of goals but we didn’t make it. It’s very painful, too many technical mistakes in the first half and we gave them a one-goal lead.

‘But, in the second half, we turned it around. So, I can say the mental strength of the squad is very positive,’ he said at the post-match press conference.

Malaysia are now third in the group with 10 points, the same as second-placed Kyrgyzstan. Oman lead the group with 12 points while Taiwan are bottom of th
e group with no points.

Taiwan coach Gary White, meanwhile, described the defeat by Malaysia as a useful lesson for his team, comprising mainly young players.

‘All of them are crying right now because we lost… but they need to feel it because its a process that they need to learn from the defeat of this match,’ he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

ERIK TEN HAG SET TO REMAIN AS UNITED MANAGER AFTER PERFORMANCE REVIEW


ERFURT (Germany), Erik Ten Hag is set to continue as Manchester United manager following the club’s performance review, the PA news agency understands.

Despite a poor second season in charge at the club, the Dutchman ended his tenure on high note by leading the Red Devils to an FA Cup final win against rivals Manchester City.

United have spent the past two weeks reviewing the 2023-24 campaign and the overall first-team operation, leading to questions about Ten Hag’s position.

PA understands that United have decided that the 54-year-old will remain in his post after considering all possibilities.

Ten Hag is said to be aligned with the club and negotiations over a contract extension have begun.

His current deal is due to expire next summer.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

PROMISING PERFORMANCES IN CHENGDU INSPIRE JUN HAO


KUALA LUMPUR, The ability to compete with some of the world’s most famous players at the 2024 Thomas Cup in Chengdu, China is the starting point of the rise of national men’s singles player Leong Jun Hao.

Jun Hao, who is ranked 28th in the world, said his convincing performance included surprising two players higher ranked than him, namely Angus Ng Ka Long (23rd) from Hong Kong and Koki Watanabe (21st) from Japan when representing the country at the 2024 Thomas Cup inspired him to show his stripes at the individual tournament.

The 24-year-old player admitted to feeling relieved after being able to prove himself capable of performing well in the individual tournament despite realising that outsiders thought he was only able to shine in the team tournament earlier.

“Maybe from there (Thomas Cup 2024) I will be able to play with more top players and after that I will take some time to build momentum for the next few tournaments.

“I was also able to learn from the strength of other top players in the world w
hen facing them in several recent tournaments,” he said when met after a training session here today.

In the Thomas Cup 2024, Jun Hao helped Malaysia crushed Hong Kong 5-0 in the opening action of Group D by coming from behind to surprise Angus 17-21, 21-12, 21-15 followed by a victory over Watanabe 21-13, 21-10 who saw the national team eliminate Japan, 3-1, in the quarter-finals.

The player from Kuala Lumpur then scored a sensational result by destroying Anthony Sinisuka Ginting’s dream of defending the Singapore Open 2024 title with a 21-14, 10-21, 21-8 upset in the second round, last month.

Last week, he managed to overcome the intimidating vocal support of the fans at Istora Senayan, to defeat the host representative who is also the world number three player Jonatan Christie 13-21, 21-16, 21-12 in the first round of the Indonesia Open 2024.

Jun Hao, who continued to advance to the second round of the Super 1000 tournament, scored a victory over the world’s 13th player from Taiwan, Chou Tien Chen, 21-
18, 13-21, 21-17 before succumbing to the Asian Games champion Li Shi Feng of China, 11-21, 12-21, in the quarterfinals.

In the meantime, he hopes to maintain the consistency of matching other world-class players in the future.

At the same time, the former 2017 Asian youth champion hopes to break into the world’s top 20 players besides targeting at least one title by the end of this year.

The last time Jun Hao won a title was at the Kuala Lumpur Masters 2023 last November by defeating the Taiwanese player, Lee Chia Hao, 22-20, 21-13, in the final.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

PERAK EXCO MEMBERS APPOINTED ‘PATRONS’ OF SUKMA SQUADS


IPOH, All state executive councillors have been appointed as ‘patrons’ for the Perak contingent in preparation for the 21st Malaysia Games (SUKMA XXI) in Sarawak in August.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad said in addition, five department and agency heads, as well as 11 members of the State Sports Council (MSN) Management Board, have been appointed to assist in the management, divided according to the different sports.

He said these appointments are intended to ensure proper monitoring before and during the meet.

‘We involve everyone because this is a state endeavour, and we need to prove that not only the athletes are striving to elevate the state’s name, but the state government and its leaders are also making concerted efforts.

‘The state government wants our athletes to be appreciated, knowing they have strong supporters behind them, consisting of representatives from the state government and related agency leaders,’ he told a press conference here today.

The following are the state executi
ve council members and the squads they will be overseeing:

Datuk Mohd Zolkafly Harun (tennis and archery), A Sivanesan (kabaddi and silambam), Datuk Salbiah Mohamed (petanque and aquatics), Teh Kok Lim (cycling, taekwondo and basketball), Mohd Azlan Helmi (e-sports and beach volleyball), Woo Kah Leong (wushu and rhythmic gymnastics), Datuk Seri Ir Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (pencak silat and softball), Loh Sze Yee (badminton and men’s football) and Sandrea Ng Shy Ching, (judo, netball and women’s football).

Saarani said these ‘patrons’ are appointed to help ease the athletes’ burden in managing unforeseen issues that may arise during the tournament.

‘They can also report any issues that we might not notice. With more individuals held responsible, Insya-Allah, we can achieve excellence,’ he said.

Perak has previously announced a top five target for the Games, which will be held from Aug 17-24. The aim is for the state’s 828 athletes to bring home between 30 to 35 gold medals under the slogan ‘Silver to Gold
‘.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency