PETALING JAYA: It may just be friendly matches but national head coach Kim Pan-gon does not want half-baked efforts from the Harimau Malaya players.
Even though there are many new faces lined up for the matches against Cambodia and Maldives, Pan-gon expects his players to follow the high pressing game model that has been put in place since he arrived early in the year.
Malaysia will play Cambodia in a Tier 1 international match at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium tonight (9pm) and will face Maldives at the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium in Cheras on Dec 14 as part of their preparation for the Mitsubishi AFF Cup from Dec 20-Jan 16.
Malaysia are ranked 146th in the world while Maldives and Cambodia are in 154th and 177th positions respectively.
The Korean coach said he would take advantage of the two friendly matches to assess the players readiness.
“We want to assess whether the players are suitable to follow our tactics and system,” said Pan-gon.
“We expect the best performance from everyone who will be fielded. They must maintain the standard of football of the national squad.
“We want these players to be more dynamic, progressive and dominate the ball with good possession.
“What’s important is consistency. We don’t want to put any pressure but we want them to just enjoy this match and show what they are capable of,” he said during the pre-match press conference.
Only 23 players will be selected for the final squad for the AFF Cup campaign after the two friendly matches.
Striker Darren Lok said the presence of old faces will help the newer ones to understand the style of play.
“Players who reported early will have enough time to prepare. I think we have a good combination of old, new and young players.
“All players will get good game minutes and matches like this will help players translate what have been taught by the coaching staff,” said Darren, the former PJ City player who will feature for Sabah in the Super League next year.
Malaysia will open their Group B campaign in the AFF Cup against Myanmar in Yangon on Dec 21.
Their remaining matches are against Laos in Kuala Lumpur (Dec 24), Vietnam in Hanoi (Dec 27) and Singapore in Kuala Lumpur (Jan 3).
In the last AFF Cup, Malaysia failed to reach the semi-finals and that led to the resignation of coach Tan Cheng Hoe.