PETALING JAYA, Dec 6 — Nelo Vingada resigned as national coach yesterday, with diplomatic fervour and a fervent prayer that Harimau Malaya will shine again in the near future.
Under siege after a winless spell of six months, the Portuguese chose the honourable way out in a FAM press release.
“After discussions with the president of the FA of Malaysia (FAM), Tunku Ismail Ibrahim, the Crown Prince of Johor, I take responsibility for the performance of the national team.
“With this sense of responsibility, I hereby announce to relinquish my position as national head coach with immediate effect and the Tunku, (the) president himself has also accepted my decision,” he said in a statement yesterday.
The 64-year-old Portuguese added that his two assistants that he brought along, Joao Arnaldo Correia De Carvalho and Francisco Jose Bruto Da Costa, who have also resigned from their positions as national assistant coach and national fitness coach respectively.
“I like to take this opportunity to hope and pray for Malaysian football to shine again and that I was proud to be part of it in this relatively short period of time,” he said.
Meanwhile, FAM general secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin said Tunku Ismail has accepted Vingada’s resignation.
“The FAM would like to express its appreciation to Vingada and his two assistants for their services with Harimau Malaya since last May.
“Our two local coaches Tan Cheng Hoe and Azmin Azram Abdul Aziz will remain in their position as assistant coach and goalkeeper coach of the national squad respectively.
“Future plans and development of the national squad for 2018 will be announced by FAM or the president in the near future,” Hamidin added.
Eching local sentiment, football legend Datuk Santokh Singh said Harimau Malaya will not be wallowing in the deep end. “Vingada resigns, no problem. I always support local coaches because they understand our players more,” said the 65-year-old yesterday.
Asked who would best candidate then, Santokh chuckled, “Best coach would be ‘me’.”
For the record, in Vingada’s winless tenure since May, Malaysia drew one match and lost six of seven games in Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers. Harimau Malaya has not won since November, last year.