VINGADA TO STEER MALAYSIA
Veteran Portuguese named as national coach
REPORTS BY AJITPAL SINGH firstname.lastname@example.org
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.