PETALING JAYA, Feb 13 — There has been no official request from the Korean Football Association (KFA) to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) for Harimau Malaya head coach Kim Pan Gon to return to his country of birth.
This was confirmed by FAM vice-president Datuk Mohd Yusoff Mahadi, who said that Pan Gon would continue to helm the national senior squad, who are preparing for a crucial match in the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers against Oman in March.
“The South Korean team did not submit any official request to take back Pan Gon. It was South Korea who proposed Pan Gon’s name to help improve Malaysia’s performance. So, it’s unlikely that they would want to recall him when we need him the most.
“We have already signed a contract extension with Pan Gon. Our plans with Pan Gon are long-term. We (FAM) have our plans to ensure the continued improvement of our team’s performance and we can see that there has been improvement under Pan Gon’s guidance,” he said.
He said this at a media conference after the 10th FAM Executive Committee meeting for the 2021-2025 term, which was also attended by FAM president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin, at Wisma FAM here today.
Pan Gon’s name went viral on social media recently, with claims that he is being recalled to South Korea to help rebuild the Taegeuk Warriors’ shattered reputation after failing to end their 64-year wait to lift the Asian Cup.
The Harimau Malaya created a sensation when they held the Taegeuk Warriors 3-3 in their last Group E match of the Asian Cup at the Al Janoub Stadium on January 28.
However, that was not enough for the Harimau Malaya to create history by advancing into the last 16 as they had lost both their earlier Group E matches against Jordan (0-4) and Bahrain (0-1), resulting in them finishing bottom of the group with just one point.
Meanwhile, Yusoff also said that one of the decisions made at the meeting today was that national Under-23 team head coach Juan Torres Garrido would also be the head coach of the national Under-20 squad.
In addition, he said FAM also expressed their appreciation to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) for the RM5 million special allocation to the Harimau Malaya recently.
“FAM believe that the allocation from the Malaysian government is the manifestation of the solid and undivided support of the government leadership towards FAM,” he said.
Yusoff also said that FAM had received the official decision from the Sports Commissioner’s Officer (PJS) to maintain the Perak Darul Ridzuan Football Association (Pafa)’s registration status as a sports body on February 9.
The crisis surrounding Pafa following their cancellation and dissolution last June was resolved after the KBS approved their appeal to maintain their status as an entity.
This came after Pafa were suspended for six months due to the existence of two groups claiming to be the legitimate committee of the more than 100-year-old association.
Meanwhile, Yusoff said the meeting also confirmed that FAM would hold the Women’s Football Grassroots Programme, in collaboration with the Johor State Football Association (PBNJ) for the 10-15-year-old category in Pengerang, Johor on March 1. — Bernama