SLOW AND STEADY AP­PROACH

Vin­gada to work on tak­ing the game to an­other level first

New Straits Times - - Sport - AJITPAL SINGH ajit­pals­ingh@nst.com.my

ED­UARDO Vin­gada could turn out to be Malaysia’s own ‘Spe­cial One’ as Jose Mour­inho was once his stu­dent while the Manch­ester United man­ager’s fa­ther, Jose Felix was his teacher.

“I have known Mour­inho since he was a young kid... his fa­ther was my coach in Por­tu­gal. My brand of foot­ball is ac­cord­ing to the ca­pac­ity and lev­els of play­ers. I do not have a closed mind about play­ing a cer­tain sys­tem,” said newly-ap­pointed na­tional coach Vin­gada who was un­veiled to the press in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

“I like fear­less and quick play­ers, and they must be men­tally strong. It is im­por­tant to have a win­ning men­tal­ity in foot­ball. I want to bring hap­pi­ness and pride to Malaysia. I want to take foot­ball here to the next level.

“Good re­sults come with hard work. I do not prom­ise re­sults. Play­ers here must have the self­be­lief that any­thing is pos­si­ble in foot­ball,”

The 64-year-old has worked through­out Asia — ex­cept for South­east Asia — and ad­mit­ted that he does not know much about Malaysian foot­ball.

“I, how­ever, have looked at Malaysia’s pre­vi­ous re­sults. The vi­sion is to make the best of the present sit­u­a­tion with a per­spec­tive of a promis­ing fu­ture. What I have achieved in the past is his­tory.

“With the co­op­er­a­tion of Tan Cheng Hoe, who has been of­fer­ing me in­sights on the play­ers here, and my two other Por­tuguese as­sis­tants, I will do my best for foot­ball here. I will treat all my as­sis­tants as equals.”

Vin­gada’s first task is the Asian Cup Qual­i­fiers, where his team will en­ter­tain Le­banon in a Group B match at Larkin Sta­dium on June 13. North Korea and Hong Kong are the other teams in the group.

“Look­ing at the rank­ings, North Korea and Le­banon are above us and they have de­cent teams. Hong Kong have also im­proved a lot. Lets go game-bygame and see how things go. We will fight in ev­ery match and play to win.

“We do not have much time to pre­pare for the match against Le­banon. Time is al­ways short for coaches. I be­lieve in Septem­ber, when we have had more time to work to­gether, we can show some­thing bet­ter than now.

“Mir­a­cles do hap­pen in foot­ball. For ex­am­ple, I ar­rived in Saudi Ara­bia a month be­fore the Asian Cup in 1996 but de­spite the lim­ited time, we went on to win it as I built the team around their strik­ers.

The na­tional trainees will re­port to Vin­gada on Sun­day and start train­ing a day later in Jo­hor Baru ahead of the match against Le­banon. Play­ers from Darul Ta’zim will only re­port af­ter the AFC Cup zonal semi-fi­nals re­turn leg match against Ceres Negros on May 31.

Vin­gada also brushed aside al­le­ga­tions that he had links with China agent Eric Mao, whose clubs were once in­ves­ti­gated for match-fix­ing.

“I would like to clar­ify that I do not have any re­la­tion with Eric. I was a for­mer player of Atletico Clube de Por­tu­gal and the owner re­quested whether I could help them (to se­cure in­vest­ment) as I was coach­ing in China.

“I agreed and helped the club. At that time, I al­ready had a con­tract with Iran (in 2013). Only this hap­pened and noth­ing more. Ev­ery­thing I have done in my life as a coach has been good. I am a good man... no doubt about it,” said the for­mer Por­tu­gal youth coach.

A re­port in Asia Times on May 10 claimed that Vin­gada helped Mao to buy a con­trol­ling stake in Atletico in 2013. The club were then in­ves­ti­gated by UEFA for match-fix­ing.

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