Cheng Hoe ‘no miracle worker’, says Under-23 coach Kim Swee

Been there and back — Kim Swee as national coach for the 29th SEA Games in KL, seen here in pensive mood as Malaysia played eventual champion Thailand in the football final match on August 29. — AFP pic
Been there and back — Kim Swee as national coach for the 29th SEA Games in KL, seen here in pensive mood as Malaysia played eventual champion Thailand in the football final match on August 29. — AFP pic

PETALING JAYA, Dec 9 — Malaysia football Under-23 head coach Ong Kim Swee waxed optimism with the newly appointed Harimau Malaya coach but stressed that Tan Cheng Hoe needed time as he is no miracle worker.

The combination of two giants on the local coaching scene, the Cheng Hoe-Kim Swee dynamo, could do Malaysian football a world of good, given that they intend to make an impact in the near future.

Kim Swee, a former Harimau Malaya coach himself, said Cheng Hoe brings with him wide experience over players in the local football scene as well as internationally.

“This is a good combination as we need each other to produce good talent for present and future.

“Cheng Hoe and I have been friends for more than a decade (12 years to be precise), we have no problems with each other, thus this relationship can help us to embark on new strategic development planning for both Harimau Malaya and the youth.

“However, I need to stress that Cheng Hoe needs time to ‘recover’ the team. In fact, any coach leading Harimau Malaya at this point needs time,” he said yesterday.

Kim Swee, who has been “there and back” in the national hot seat, assured that his strategic link-up with Cheng Hoe can revive Malaysia’s fortunes.

“Cheng Hoe is a good coach. He leads Kedah and a great assistant to (national) coach K. Rajagobal back then,” added Kim Swee.

On Thursday, the FA of Malaysia (FAM) appointed Tan Cheng Hoe to take over as national football head coach after Portuguese Nelo Vingada stepped down on Wednesday following a string of poor results.

The 49-year-old Cheng Hoe was Rajagobal’s assistant during Malaysia’s successful period when they won the 2009 SEA Games and 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup. Both were historic moments as Malaysia had not won the Games since 1989 and had never won the latter.

Cheng Hoe was then credited for turning Kedah from a second tier side to Malaysia Super League (MSL) contenders in under three years after he joined midway in the 2014 season.

Kedah won the Malaysia Premier League (MPL) title in 2015 and reached the Malaysia Cup final.

The following year, they came third in the top flight and won the Malaysia Cup (beating Selangor 6-5 on penalties after extra-time deadlock at 1-1).

Kedah won the 2017 FA Cup a month after Cheng Hoe left.