Kim Pan-gon (54), Malaysia’s national team coach’s first trip to the Southeast Asian World Cup has come to an end. Although he failed to advance to the finals, coach Kim left a brilliant mark.
Malaysia, led by coach Kim Pan-gon, lost 0-3 in the away game in the second leg of the 2022 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Cup semi-final against Thailand held at Thammasat Stadium in Pathum Thani, Thailand on the 10th (Korean time). After a 1-0 win in the first leg, Malaysia fell behind by an aggregate score of 1-3 and lost their ticket to the final to Thailand.
It was a match where the difference in weight class appeared. Malaysia caused a turmoil that sounded the victory against the ‘defending champion’ Thailand in the home room, but it was hardly used in the enemy area. It failed to calm Thailand’s offensive, which showed cross-play using the side persistently.
According to Bernama News, coach Kim Pan-gon said after the game, “I have no complaints or regrets,” and “The players played hard and followed my instructions. They fought until the end,” he encouraged the team. He repeated, “All decisions were made by me. You can criticize and attack me, but you shouldn’t do that to the players,” he bowed his head. 안전놀이터
Most of the evaluations were that director Kim Pan-gon and Malaysia’s journey deserved applause. Coach Kim led Malaysia to the quarterfinals in a situation where key players could not be used. This tournament was not organized by the International Football Federation (FIFA), so players could not be selected due to their obligation. Johor Darul Takjim, the strongest team in the Malaysia League, faced difficulties even before the start of the tournament as they refused to give up players.
In fact, coach Kim Pan-gon, who entered the tournament with the strength of the 1.5 team, formed a team centered on Safawi Rashid and second-line striker Faisal Halim, and achieved results beyond expectations. Malaysia showed off its two-level performance against Laos (5-0 win) and Singapore (4-1 win), which it met in the group stage. This is the background behind the praise of ‘Pangon Kim Magic’.
After being knocked out in the group stage of the 2020 tournament, Malaysia made a successful return to the tournament. This is the best performance since advancing to the finals in 2018 under former coach Tan Cheng Ho. Advancement to the semifinals is also expected to be talked about in the history of Malaysian soccer.
Coach Pangon Kim, who took the helm in January of last year, led Malaysia to advance to the 2023 Asian Football Federation (AFC) Asian Cup finals five months after his appointment. It’s been 43 years. ‘Kim Pan Gon-ho’ is sailing vigorously, winning 7 wins and 2 losses in 9 games. Above all, it is noteworthy that coach Kim is transforming the Malaysian national team by transplanting quick offense and defense and active soccer.
Thailand, which defeated Malaysia in the semifinals of the Mitsubishi Cup, will clash with Vietnam, led by manager Park Hang-seo (64), over the trophy. Vietnam and Thailand will play the first leg of the final at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam at 9:30 pm on the 13th, and the second leg in Thailand on the 16th to determine the champion. Thailand, the winningest team in the tournament (6 times), took the throne in 2020, the previous tournament, and Vietnam in 2018.