PETALING JAYA: National midfielder Brendan Gan (pic) is the darling of Malaysian football, thanks to his performances last year in the 2022 World Cup-2023 Asian Cup qualifying campaign.
In November, the 31-year-old helped Malaysia secure back-to-back wins against Thailand (2-1) and Indonesia (2-0) to put Malaysia in a favourable position in Group G.
He was also known as a hard worker for Perak and is now a key player for Selangor.
However, his rise in the Malaysian team did not come easy.
He has had to prove his worth every inch of the way since his debut in 2016.
“I think during the first few camps, there were mixed emotions from players, which I understood. I had to prove myself to show I was good enough and also how badly I wanted to play for the country,” said the former Sydney FC player.
“No one gets a free pass... everyone needs to show their commitment and earn their stripes.
“I think with the style of football I play, I give everything whether I play well or not. I guess that is what the supporters want most from players.
“The fans have given me so much support.”
Brendan, who has earned 15 caps, noted that it has been amazing to see the team grow on and off the field, and he knows there are only positive things to come from the current squad led by coach Tan Cheng Hoe.
Thanks to Brendan’s exemplary act on and off the field, it is no surprise to see fans wanting players of mixed heritage.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) are open to using naturalised players for the national team but stressed that they would not rush into taking in the players.
For Brendan, he says that two factors should be considered.
“I think it goes in waves, with the talk about naturalisation and mixed heritage.
“I have always looked at two key factors – are they good enough and mentally prepared enough to play here?
“And are they committed to the badge – will they give 100% for the jersey and the nation?
“If they fit in on both counts, why not give them a chance? It will also motivate players to work harder to keep their spots in the team.”
Watching him in action, it’s quite easy for the FAM to make a decision. Any new mixed heritage player for the national squad must first measure up against Brendan Gan.
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