Respect decision on selection of 25 players for centralised training

PETALING JAYA: National football team head coach Kim Pan Gon said everyone should respect his decision in naming the 25 players called up for the centralised training camp ahead of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers.

The South Korean said he has his own reasons for selecting the 25 players and is confident that he has chosen the best players by taking into account the team’s tactics and strategies.

“Every single camp, we want to select our best and I know fans and the media have different views. But, hopefully, everyone understands we can only select 23 for the final list… and we have considered all tactical and technical reasons… every position demands something different,“ he said.

He told reporters this after a training session at Wisma FAM (Football Association of Malaysia) in Kelana Jaya here today.

Besides the tactical and technical aspects, he also prioritised issues like the commitment, loyalty and sacrifices made by the shortlisted players.

“Too much noise (from the outside) causes stress for me and, (on) this part (selection of players), give us some freedom to choose. Talk too much or demanding too much… that’s not a nice way and I think this is a technical and tactical decision and (of) team values… and we must respect each other,“ he said.

Pan Gon had previously named 25 players for the centralised training camp, which began today, including five players who have been recalled, namely Mohamadou Sumareh, Muhammad Afiq Fazail, Muhammad Syahmi Safari, Mohd Shahrul Mohd Saad and Sikh Izhan Nazrel Sikh Azman.

However, there were some disputes over the selection of some of the players.

The Harimau Malaya will begin their Group D campaign against Kyrgyzstan on Thursday (Nov 16) at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil before leaving for Taipei to face Taiwan in their second group match on Nov 21. –Bernama