KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 – The FA of Malaysia (FAM) needs to give serious thought to several factors before thinking of replacing national football chief coach Tan Cheng Hoe.
Under the circumstances, Cheng Hoe did a remarkable job in Dubai despite a personal tragedy when his beloved father Tan Chooi Siak, 95, passed away in Alor Setar due to old age.
It was just hours before Malaysia faced Vietnam on June 11 and Cheng Hoe decided to stay back with the team. That was a big sacrifice by Cheng Hoe.
His father was cremated on Tuesday, hours before Malaysia faced Thailand in their final second-round match.
That was another sacrifice by Cheng Hoe, who could only bid farewel to his late father with a prayer.
Harimau Malaya finally won in Dubai, defeating Thailand 1-0 with a penalty goal scored by substitute Safawi Rasid in the 52nd minute after he was felled by Ernesto Punya.
With the win Malaysia finished third in the group with 12 points from eight matches while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on top with 18 points and Veitnam second with 17 points. Thailand finished fourth with nine points and Indonesia at the bottom with only one point.
Although Malaysia failed to stay alive in the World Cup from the Group G qualifiers, Malaysia have made it to the third round in the Asia Cup.
It is the same Cheng Hoe who breathed new life into Malaysian football in the first round when the matches were played on a home and away format and was hailed as a hero.
He is still the hero. However, some quarters have other plans and it is nothing new in Malaysia.
Talks have emerged that the FAM will decide on Cheng Hoe’s fate as the national coach and this is simply not right.
Yes, the team needs some changes but it is the players as some of them did not perform up to expectations.
Rightly, the management of the national team needs a massive revamp. One wonders how many were “free loaders” with the team in the Middle East.
What was their role in the team? It is high time this is weeded out. It is common in Malaysia, known for its famous ”you scratch my back, I scratch your back” after the recent FAM Congress.
Here again, let’s not forget that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, time was against Cheng Hoe.
The national team was without a match for 18 months. The Harimau Malaya played two friendly matches in the Middle East and both were against higher ranked teams.
Malaysia lost 1-4 to Kuwait in Dubai and 2-0 to Bahrain in Manama. The rustiness was evident in both matches. Can Cheng Hoe be blamed for this when the authorities imposed tight SOPs for the pandemic that derailed his training plans for the team.
The gentleman Cheng Hoe is known for, is leaving his fate with the FAM.
*(Pic credit to FAM Media)

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