JOHOR BAHRU: The Harimau Malaya players are ready to speed up their game as demanded by national head coach Kim Pan Gon when Malaysia take on Hong Kong in a Tier 1 international friendly at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Iskandar Puteri on Tuesday (March 28).
English-born Malaysian striker Darren Lok (pix) said all the players are clear about the tactical approach that Pan Gon has been trying to implement since the 53-year-old South Korean took over the team early last year.
“The coach (Pan Gon) has been here for a year, we are very aware of what type of football he wants and, since he came in, he has made it clear that this (fast) is the type of football he wants (us to play).
“As players, we must understand that by now. So, we need to make sure that we come out fast against Hong Kong and, hopefully, play well and get a win,” he told the media when met at the team’s hotel, here, today.
Pan Gon had questioned the ability of his players in maintaining optimal performance after Malaysia beat Turkmenistan 1-0 in their first Tier 1 international friendly at the same stadium on Thursday (March 23).
The coach said he demanded a lot from the players throughout the match (against Turkmenistan) and saw some of them struggling to keep pace, adding that if they had faster players, Malaysia could have scored more goals.
Meanwhile, the 33-year-old Sabah striker said he was not disappointed at not scoring against Turkmenistan because “what’s important is that I played a role in helping the team win”.
“It’s not always about the goals, as long as I help the team and we perform well, that’s all that matters. It was a great performance against Turkmenistan and it’s just as important that we win this game (against Hong Kong),” he said.
Darren, who has scored two Super League goals so far this season, is determined to redouble his efforts against Hong Kong and try to get his name on the score sheet.
The last time he scored on the international stage was when Malaysia thumped Singapore 4-1 in the final Group B action of the 2022 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil in January. –Bernama