Pan Gon expects National Stadium pitch to be in prime condition for Oman clash

PETALING JAYA — Harimau Malaya head coach Kim Pan Gon is keeping his fingers crossed that the pitch at the National Stadium will be in tip-top condition when they face Oman in a Group D match in the second-round qualifier of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup in Bukit Jalil tomorrow.

The 54-year-old South Korean admitted that he had not seen the National Stadium’s pitch condition recently but was promised by the technician involved that the pitch would be ready for tomorrow’s match.

“I didn’t see the pitch… the technician that day promised me he would give (us) a good pitch. We need a good pitch, so we want to see a good pitch (tomorrow),” he told a pre-match press conference at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya here today.

He said this when asked to comment on the condition of the National Stadium pitch, which has become a hot topic among various parties after images and videos went viral recently depicting the pitch in poor condition.

Meanwhile, Oman head coach Jaroslav Silhavy said his team could not conduct official training at the National Stadium. 

The former head coach of the Czech Republic, who guided Oman to a 2-0 win over Malaysia in Muscat on Friday (March 22 Malaysian time), said they had not received permission to use the pitch because they were told it was not in the best condition.

“Yesterday, we were informed that we won’t be training there (National Stadium) because the pitch is not in good condition(for either team)… this situation is not good for both teams,” said the 62-year-old coach.

Based on information provided by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), the national team will conduct official training at the Wisma FAM ground here tonight while Oman will train at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) Stadium.

After three matches in Group D, only goal difference separates the top three teams, with Oman in top spot, Kyrgyzstan second and Malaysia third, despite all three having six points each. Taiwan are at the bottom of the standings without any points.

Malaysia’s next match will be away against Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek on June 6 before completing their group fixtures at home against Taiwan in Bukit Jalil on June 11. — BERNAMA / pic credit: MEDIA MULIA (picture)