27/05/2024 11:05 PM

PETALING JAYA, May 27 (Bernama) -- 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.

Pan Gon said that he does not want to overly dwell on the injuries but instead prefers to focus on selecting other players capable of taking on the challenge of advancing the national team to the next stage of the competition.

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

“Its 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 their time to prove it. However we will try to find the best fit and composition to prepare for the matches,” the South Korean coach said when met at the centralised training camp at Wisma FAM, Kelana Jaya here today.

Star winger Faisal Halim was injured in an attack attack at a shopping mall in Petaling Jaya earlier this month and sufferred fourth-degree burns. He has undergone four surgeries and 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 injury, as informed by FAM.

Pan Gon, however, 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, who are 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, here on June 11.

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

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

Malaysia need three points in both of the remaining matches while hoping Oman defeat 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.





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