Pan Gon should stop saying sorry and start giving more concrete answers [NSTTV]

KUALA LUMPUR: The national football team are in a sorry state, and we are sorry that Kim Pan Gon is Harimau Malaya coach.

As expected, the South Korean apologised to the fans and reminded the media to blame only him, not the players, for the 2-0 defeat to Oman in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier.

This recurring pattern or modus operandi of apologies from Pan Gon surfaces whenever Harimau Malaya face a setback.

It is best for the South Korean to return to his country and pursue a career in politics because that is what politicians do to appease the people.

Realistically, nobody expects Malaysia to qualify for the 2026 World Cup. However, there were hopes for the team to at least advance to the third round of the qualifiers for the first time, especially with the presence of naturalised players.

Unfortunately, Malaysia now face an uphill battle to reach the third round. They must defeat Taiwan at home and Kyrgyzstan away in their remaining group matches to stand a chance.

Fans naturally expect more from Harimau Malaya after decent results over the past two years.

However, the match against Oman exposed that Malaysia still have a long way to go to compete at an elite level in Asia.

Oman proved to be the superior team in both the 2-0 victories in Muscat and Bukit Jalil, despite not being considered an elite side in the continent.

Malaysia often struggle against Arab teams, and Tuesday's match was no exception.

Oman outplayed a weary Malaysia with their quick transitional play, despite not even testing the National Stadium pitch on the eve of the qualifier.

Oman could have won by a bigger margin if not for the outstanding performance of goalkeeper Ahmad Syihan Hazmi. They even hit the Malaysian goalpost several times.

Malaysia appeared tactically weak, made poor decisions and lacked consistency although they had their moments in the match.

Some players seemed disconnected from the game, merely going through the motions.

Pan Gon needs to cease deflecting questions and instead provide more concrete answers.

He must disclose the team's tactical shortcomings and propose solutions to address them.

If the pitch at the National Stadium was an issue, Oman demonstrated maturity by adapting and using it to their advantage.

However, the authorities must prioritise the readiness of the pitch whenever there is a game as the National Stadium is Harimau Malaya's fortress.

It is quite perplexing that the quality of the pitch is always in the spotlight, not Harimau Malaysia.

Despite the issues with the pitch before Tuesday's match, it was in decent shape to allow both teams to play quality football.

Perhaps if the M-League were ongoing, the players would have been more competitive and fit.

However, footballers should be disciplined enough to maintain their form regardless.

The FA of Malaysia should immediately conduct a post-mortem and fix the problems in the team.

Pan Gon is still the right man for the job but perhaps he needs more support and help to improve the quality of the national team.

Harimau Malaya have lost their claws and roar, and efforts must be made to regain them.

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