VIN­GADA TO STEER MALAYSIA

Vet­eran Por­tuguese named as na­tional coach

New Straits Times - - Sport -

RE­PORTS BY AJITPAL SINGH ajit­pals­ingh@nst.com.my

ED­UARDO Vin­gada, nick­named “the Pro­fes­sor”, has been ap­pointed as the new na­tional coach, mak­ing the 64-year-old Por­tuguese the old­est ever for­eigner to as­sume the hot seat.

The Por­tuguese, who signed for two years, is also the first for­eign coach hired by the FA of Malaysia (FAM) since the late Ber­ta­lan Bicskei of Hun­gary (2004–2005).

Vin­gada re­placed Ong Kim Swee, who has been put in charge of the un­der-22 squad, and he will ar­rive in Kuala Lumpur on May 25 to be­gin his ten­ure. It is learnt that his salary is about US$30,000 (RM130,000) a month.

His im­me­di­ate task is to over­see the Asian Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion Group B cam­paign. Malaysia will take on North Korea in Py­ongyang on June 8, fol­lowed by Le­banon in Jo­hor Baru five days later.

Vin­gada, whose man­age­rial ca­reer spans over 35 years, was for­merly as­sis­tant to Car­los Queiroz for Por­tu­gal’s Un­der-20 World Cup win­ning teams in 1989 and 1991.

Af­ter tak­ing over from Queiroz, he led Por­tu­gal to the semi-fi­nals of the 1995 Un­der-20 World Cup and the 1996 Olympics in the United States.

Some play­ers in his ex­cit­ing youth teams went on to form Por­tu­gal’s “Golden Gen­er­a­tion” in the 1990s.

Among the play­ers that Vin­gada had coached were for­mer World Player of the Year Luis Figo, Joao Pinto, Rui Costa, Jorge Costa and Nuno Rocha.

Vin­gada is also a pop­u­lar coach in Asia and Africa. His big­gest tri­umph for a non-Euro­pean team was lead­ing Saudi Ara­bia to the Asian Cup crown in 1996 in the United Arab Emi­rates.

“I would like to thank FAM pres­i­dent Tunku Is­mail Sul­tan Ibrahim for hir­ing me. It is an hon­our to coach the na­tional team. There is a lot of work to be done and I can­not wait to get started,” said Vin­gada in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

His most re­cent stint was in the In­dian Su­per League this year, where he led North­East United FC to fifth po­si­tion.

Vin­gada is known for his nonon­sense style of coach­ing but it re­mains to be seen whether he can turn Malaysia into a force in Asia.

Whether he can work his magic in the open­ing Asian Cup match against North Korea will be in­ter­est­ing as he will only have 14 days to scout and pre­pare play­ers for the mis­sion.

Tunku Is­mail said: “I wanted the coach to also be a teacher. With the na­tional team, it is not all about coach­ing but also to ed­u­cate our play­ers.

“With his ex­pe­ri­ence and age, we see him as the best per­son to guide our team to suc­cess. His work with pre­vi­ous na­tional teams and clubs speak vol­ume of his work ethics.

“My gut in­stinct tells me that Vin­gada is the right man for the job. I may be wrong but only time will tell,” said Tunku Is­mail.

For­mer Kedah trainer Tan Cheng Hoe and goal­keeper coach Azmin Azram Ab­dul Aziz will as­sist Vin­gada.

Cheng Hoe, who re­ported to FAM in Ke­lana Jaya last week, is still wait­ing for the na­tional body to of­fer him a con­tract.

“The is­sue with my con­tract is ex­pected to be set­tled later this week. Frankly, I have not heard about Vin­gada but I am look­ing for­ward to work­ing with him.

“He has im­pres­sive cre­den­tials and I am con­fi­dent he will take our football to the next level,” said Cheng Hoe.

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