In Cheng Hoe we trust

KUALA LUMPUR: The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) will keep faith in head coach Tan Cheng Hoe to continue to guide the Harimau Malaya in the third round of the 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers next year.

National team manager Datuk Yusoff Mahadi feels that Cheng Hoe’s performance was not as bad as it’s been made out to be after he guided Malaysia to collect 12 points in Group G of the second-round qualifiers in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), although the coach had been set a target of helping the team obtain 15 points.

“A discussion will be held when FAM president (Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin) returns from Dubai soon, but we will not touch on Cheng Hoe’s position.

“The talks, which will also involve the head coach, will be geared towards the team’s preparations for the third round of the qualifiers next year,” he told a virtual media conference today.

Cheng Hoe, whose contract is set to expire in December 2022, has been in charge of the team since December 2017.

Meanwhile, Yusoff said that only Hamidin would be the right person to comment on Tengku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim’s offer to manage the Harimau Malaya and help the national team achieve greater success on the international stage after this.

Tunku Ismail, who is also the owner of Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), had, through several Instagram stories on Monday, said that he would provide the best training facilities and coaches for the national team.

Malaysia recorded a narrow 1-0 win over Thailand in their final Group G match in the second round of the qualifiers, thanks to substitute Muhammad Safawi Rasid’s goal from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute, at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai earlier today.

Malaysia ended the second-round qualifying campaign in third spot in Group G with 12 points, while the UAE topped the group with 18 points, followed by Vietnam (17 points). Thailand finished fourth with nine points while Indonesia ended up last with just one point.

The win over Thailand allowed Malaysia to automatically advance to the third round of the 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers and keep the national team’s hopes of competing in the Finals alive. – Bernama