When will the children (athletes) compete against world-class stars again?”
Malaysian national토스카지노 soccer team coach Kim Pan-gon (54) laughed out loud. As a result of the recent draw for the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup held in Doha, Qatar, Malaysia was placed in Group E along with Korea. The two countries will clash in the third round of the group stage to be held at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha on January 25 next year (Korean time).
Malaysia, which reached the Asian Cup finals after 43 years, is inferior in all aspects, whether it is objective power or international experience. It ranks 138th in the FIFA rankings, far behind Korea (27th), Jordan (84th) and Bahrain (85th).
Manager Kim is well aware that Malaysia is the most certain ‘victory sacrifice’ in Group E. In January of last year, he stepped down from the Korea Football Association’s National Team Strengthening Committee and took the Malaysian baton, and he knows every detail of Korean football. As he helped former coach Paulo Bento (Portugal) to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, he personally felt and confirmed how good Korean soccer was.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany) has been newly appointed, but the skeleton of the national team is not much different from ‘Bentuho’. The Asian Cup is the starting point of a generational change aimed at the 2026 World Cup in North and Central America, but in reality, a large-scale water change is impossible.
Director Kim, who returned to Malaysia right after the group draw, said in a recent phone call with Sports Donga, “The only thing I wanted was to avoid Korea only, and that was just what came true. My homeland, I will meet the strongest Asian player in the round of 16 of the World Cup,” he smiled bitterly.
photo source | Korea Football Association Twitter
Coincidentally, the Asian Cup is not the first time coach Kim has met Korea in an international competition. He led Hong Kong in the round of 16 at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and lost 0-3. “I met Korea not once, but twice. Don’t you think this is a joke of fate?”
However, I have no intention of unconditionally lowering my tail and giving up. No matter how difficult it is, even in the worst situation, you have to pour out everything. “It would have been nice if we bumped into each other when we were stronger, but it is irreversible. “There is no game to lose,” coach Kim said. “I will encourage you to play with courage and no regrets. When will the kids block Son Heung-min (Tottenham) and Lee Kang-in (Mallorca) and face Kim Min-jae (Napoli)’s defense? It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. There is no motivation like that.”
We need to set a realistic goal for third place in the group and secure as many points as possible against Jordan and Bahrain. It’s not impossible. In June of last year, they met Bahrain in the Asian Cup qualifiers and lost 1-2 after good performances. Coach Kim said, “I led Hong Kong to a draw with China in the second Asian qualifier for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. I was tied up with a team that I could try in the Middle East. If we analyze closely and respond well, great results are possible.”