PETALING JAYA, Jan 21 — The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have appointed former Korean Football Association (KFA) team director Kim Pan Gon as the new Harimau Malaya head coach, replacing Tan Cheng Hoe.
FAM president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said the 52-year-old coach will report for duty in mid-February and has been offered a two-year contract with a two-year extension.
Hamidin said Pan Gon, who is the first coach from South Korea to be appointed to the position since 1963, would bring four of his own coaching staff, comprising an assistant coach, fitness coach, goalkeeping coach and analyst.
“After receiving applications from all over the world, we find him (Pan Gon) to be best candidate and among the selection criteria included an understanding of Malaysian football, having trained a national team, has international networking, knows Malaysian’s main opponents, meaning we play in the Asean and Asian regions, our expectations.
“If the FAM are happy with his performance in the first two years, we will extend (his contract) for another two years, (we) definitely want to qualify for the Asian Cup,” he told a media conference after the first special meeting of the FAM executive committee at Wisma FAM here today.
Pan Gon, who used to play for club sides Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in South Korea in the 1990s, began his coaching career as assistant coach of Busan IPark FC (2005-2008), Hong Kong national team head coach (2009-2010), assistant coach of Gyeongnam FC (2011) before returning to Hong Kong (2012-2017).
He replaces Cheng Hoe, who resigned from the post on Jan 2 by taking full responsibility for the Harimau Malaya’s dismal performance in the 2020 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup in Singapore, where they failed to advance to the semi-finals.
Hamidin, however, stressed that the appointment of a foreign coach would not resolve all of Harimau Malaya’s problems.
“So, we want to hold discussions with the Malaysian Football League (MFL) to ensure clubs in the Malaysia League (M-League) produce quality players,” he said, adding that Datuk Mohd Yusoff Mahadi had also quit as Harimau Malaya team manager.
As for demands on social media for Hamidin to step down following the Harimau Malaya’s failure in the 2020 AFF Cup campaign, the FAM president said he still had many responsibilities to carry out as leader of the national football governing body.