No discussion on Cheng Hoe’s position, says FAM deputy president

Tan Cheng Hoe's contract had been extended to 20222. — Bernama pic
Tan Cheng Hoe's contract had been extended to 20222. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — The position of national football squad chief coach, Tan Cheng Hoe ahead of the third round of the 2023 Asian Cup qualification is still safe as to date, there has been no discussion held on his position.

FAM deputy president, Datuk Mohd Yusoff Mahadi said Cheng Hoe still had his remaining contract until December 2022, other than the mission to guide the Harimau Malaya squad to qualify for the final round of the 2023 Asian Cup.

Mohd Yusoff, who is also the national squad manager, said the direction of the national squad including the preparations to face the third round campaign of the 2023 Asian Cup qualifier would only be discussed at the coming National Football Team Management Committee meeting.

“Actually, there was no discussion in that direction, except that day we talked about the players, namely, the performance of several players which were not as expected and what the team needs to do after this. On the chief coach, there has been no discussion.

“Cheng Hoe still has a contract until next year and we have not completed our mission to qualify for the Asian Cup yet,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.

However, Mohd Yusoff said there was no assurance that the position of the national team’s chief coach would not be raised at the National Football Team Management Committee meeting.

“Various matters will be scrutinised to ensure the national squad is optimally prepared to wade through the qualification campaign to ensure the mission to the 2023 Asian Cup is achieved.

“Indeed, all matters will be discussed if the committee convenes,” he said.

This development also parried the rumour that FAM was looking for a new chief coach candidate to guide the Harimau Malaya squad.

In the second round of the World Cup 2020/2023 Asian Cup qualifiers recently, Cheng Hoe guided Malaysia to end the campaign in third place in Group G to automatically advance to the third qualifying round of the 2023 Asian Cup, scheduled to take place in March, next year.

The last time Malaysia performed on the Asian Cup stage was when it was a joint host in the 2007 edition, but Malaysia has failed to advance on merit for over 40 years to the Asian Cup since the 1980 edition in Kuwait.

Prior to this, Cheng Hoe, who was appointed as national squad chief coach in December 2017, had his contract extended until the end of 2022 based on the positive changes he had brought to the team, including breathing new life into the national squad’s pattern of play. — Bernama

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