KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 – After being holed up in a hotel to serve a two-week quarantine after returning from Dubai on June 17,  national football head coach, Tan Cheng Hoe is back home with his family in Penang on Tuesday.
It was an emotional day for Cheng Hoe, as he will finally get to pay his respects to his late father Tan Chooi Siak who passed away due to old age in his hometown Alor Setar when he was on national duty with Harimau Malaya for the World Cup 2022/Asia Cup 2023 qualifiers in Group G.
The 95-year-old Chooi Siak died on June 11, the day Malaysia played Vietnam and was cremated on June 15, the day Malaysia took on Thailand. Cheng Hoe decided to stay with the team in Dubai with the blessings of his family.
From Penang, Cheng Hoe will travel to Alor Setar with his immediate members and will be in time for his father’s prayers. His physical presence for the prayers will allow him to mourn with his loved ones.
Cheng Hoe and the family have been vegetarians since his father’s passing.
”It is an emotional day for me to return home. Frankly, I have yet to come to terms with the loss of my beloved father,” said Cheng Hoe from the Subang Airport while waiting for his flight.
”To mourn with my beloved family members will give me solace and make up my absence during the passing of my father. I still feel the void left by my father’s death and it will never be filled. He was an inspiration to me.”
The two-week quarantine in Petaling Jaya was an experience itself – all alone in the room where he passed his time by listening to music. He also watched the live telecast of the Euro 2020 matches, apart from speaking to his family via video calls.
Putting his personal tragedy aside, Cheng Hoe did a remarkable job in Dubai to guide Malaysia to the Asia Cup third round after defeating Thailand 1-0 in the final second-round match in Dubai.
Malaysia finished third in the group with 12 points from eight matches. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) took the top spot on 18 points. Vietnam finished second with 17 points and Thailand ended up in the fourth spot with nine points. Indonesia was at the bottom with only one point.

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