Pan-gon targets minimum points needed for Malaysia to qualify for the third roundStephanie Chan
PETALING JAYA: It’s no laughing matter but national coach Kim Pan-gon is targeting a minimum of 12 points out of six matches to qualify for the third round of the 2026 World Cup-2027 Asian Cup qualifiers.
The South Korean is optimistic that the Harimau Malaya squad can confirm their slot as the 18 best teams in Asia if they can secure at 12 points.
Malaysia will be hoping to make a winning start to their objective by beating world No. 97 ranked Kyrgyzstan in their opening Group D match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tonight.
“This is a big challenge for us because we know Malaysia are currently ranked 137th in the world.
“Other countries will surely laugh when we aim to be among the 18 best teams in Asia but this is our dream,” he said at the pre-match press conference yesterday.
“We want to challenge the best teams in Asia. If we can get 12 points, that’s good enough but if we get 13 points, that’s even better.’’
Pan-gon also called on the fans to flood the venue tonight not only to support the players but to create an awesome atmosphere for Kyrgyzstan.
“This match is very important for us, so we want the supporters to be together in supporting us in this fight.
“We need their support as we want to use the home ground advantage to help us realise our mission to become among the 18 best teams in Asia.
“We have to create an atmosphere that scares Kyrgyzstan because without the presence of supporters, we cannot do that. I hope they can come to support us,” said Pan-gon.
As of last night, about 8,000 tickets have been taken up for the first qualifying action involving Malaysia against Kyrgyzstan.
The national side have been drawn in Group D for the second round of the 2026 World Cup-2027 Asian Cup qualifiers with Kyrgyzstan, Oman and Taiwan.
After Kyrgyzstan and an away match with Taiwan on Nov 21, Malaysia will play Oman twice, away on March 21, and at home on March 26 next year, followed by the away match against Kyrgyzstan (June 6) and finally at home against Taiwan (June 11) at Bukit Jalil.
Malaysia need to finish in the top two to book a spot in the third round of the qualifiers.