Cheng Hoe head­ing back to na­tional team setup?

New Straits Times - - Sport -

KEDAH trainer Tan Cheng Hoe could be re­join­ing the FA of Malaysia (FAM) as as­sis­tant to na­tional coach Mario Gomez as his team are al­ready on a look­out for a re­place­ment.

Cheng Hoe was as­sis­tant to K. Ra­jagobal for four years be­fore the na­tional coach’s con­tract was not ex­tended at the end of 2013.

Spec­u­la­tion is rife that Cheng Hoe has met rep­re­sen­ta­tives of newly elected FAM pres­i­dent Tunku Is­mail Sul­tan Ibrahim over the po­si­tion and his days with Kedah are now said to be num­bered.

Cheng Hoe is one of the most ex­pe­ri­enced coaches in the M-League and has led Kedah to sev­eral suc­cesses since join­ing them in 2014. His big­gest achieve­ment was guid­ing them to the Malaysia Cup ti­tle last year.

But his im­pend­ing move will likely af­fect the team, who cur­rently lead the Su­per League stand­ings.

How­ever, Cheng Hoe de­bunked it as merely spec­u­la­tion but gave a clue over the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing hired as as­sis­tant to Gomez.

“It is just ru­mours .... you will never know un­til Tunku Is­mail of­fi­cially an­nounces the coach­ing staff for the na­tional team.

“Many have asked me about it but I do not want com­ment fur­ther,” said Cheng Hoe when con­tacted yes­ter­day.

It is learnt that Kedah FA (KFA) have spo­ken to for­mer as­sis­tant coach Ra­mon Mar­cote and sev­eral oth­ers over the pos­si­bil­ity of re­plac­ing Cheng Hoe.

Cheng Hoe is now fo­cused on pre­par­ing his team for the FA Cup quar­ter-fi­nals against Perak SEDC in Alor Star on Satur­day.

Newly pro­moted Perak SEDC are cur­rently third in the Premier League and they could pull a sur­prise over Kedah.

“Perak SEDC have noth­ing to lose go­ing into this match. They will surely be mo­ti­vated.

“Hope­fully, my play­ers will main­tain their fo­cus as we can­not be over­con­fi­dent. “There are no in­jury is­sues but we may have to do with­out first choice goal­keeper Ifwat Ak­mal Che Kas­sim and for­ward Syafiq Ah­mad as they are only ex­pected to re­port back two days be­fore the match from their as­sign­ment with the na­tional Un­der-22 team in Dubai.

“We need a win and avoid con­ced­ing goals as away goals count in the com­pe­ti­tion. There have been a lot of up­sets in the FA Cup and we want to avoid a de­feat,” Cheng Hoe added. Ajitpal Singh

Tan Cheng Hoe

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