SPORTS

PAN GON PREDICTS INDONESIA WILL RISE AS REGIONAL POWERHOUSE

12/06/2024 04:37 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's head coach Kim Pan Gon foresees Indonesia emerging as the region's powerhouse in the near future after the Garuda successfully qualified for the third round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers yesterday.

Pan Gon said he could see Indonesia working hard to achieve that success while emphasising Malaysia's need to step up to the challenge.

“To me Indonesia will be a top team around here soon, they put a lot of effort but we must challenge, Malaysia have to challenge,” he said at the post-match press conference after Malaysia defeated Taiwan 3-1 in the last Group D match of the second round of the 2026 World Cup/ 2027 Asian Cup, here last night.

Indonesia confirmed their spot in the third round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers by finishing second in Group F of the second round of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers after defeating the Philippines 2-0 in Jakarta yesterday.

This witnessed Indonesia making history by advancing to the third round of the World Cup Qualifiers for the first time and securing an early spot in the 2027 Asian Cup.

Among Indonesia's efforts from Pan Gon's perspective is the action of his South Korean counterpart Shin Tae Yong flying to Europe to scout mixed-blood players.

However, the 55-year-old South Korean said that, to him, local talent development should be a priority.

“To me first local development, produce best local players, then another extra effort (to strengthen squad),” he said.

At the end of Group D of the second round of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers, Oman and Kyrgyzstan qualified for the third round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers after emerging as the group champion and runner-up respectively, each accumulating 13 and 11 points.

Meanwhile, Malaysia finished third with 10 points and Taiwan at the bottom with no points..

Failure to reach the third round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers saw the Harimau Malaya squad having to go through the third round of the 2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers in an attempt to make a second consecutive appearance in the competition.

-- BERNAMA


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