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Tan Cheng Hoe resigns as Malaysia head coach after disappointing Suzuki Cup campaign

Tan Cheng Hoe resigns as Malaysia head coach after disappointing Suzuki Cup campaign

Tan Cheng Hoe speaks at a press conference after Malaysia's exit from the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 in Singapore on Dec 19, 2021. (File photo: SPORTFIVE)

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Cheng Hoe has resigned as Malaysia's head coach following his side's failure to qualify for the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 in Singapore last month, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) announced on Monday (Jan 3).

FAM secretary-general Mohd Saifuddin Abu Bakar said that Tan had stated his intention to step down during a meeting with the management of the national football governing body recently.

He said that following the "open-hearted discussion from all angles", the FAM management in the end respected his decision and parted ways with Tan by mutual agreement.

“FAM extends its deepest appreciation to Cheng Hoe who overall had served FAM for 14 years since he was assistant coach of the national under-20 squad in 2005," Saifuddin said in a statement.

“His services and contributions will always be remembered. Thank you. Good luck also to Cheng Hoe in continuing his coaching career after this."

The 53-year-old coach from Alor Setar, Kedah, had served as the assistant coach of the under-20, under-23 and Harimau Muda A squads before his strong partnership as assistant coach with K Rajagobal saw Malaysia win the 2009 SEA Games gold medal and the 2010 Suzuki Cup.

Tan, who later took over as Kedah's head coach from 2014 to 2017, proved himself to be one of the best coaches in Malaysian football when he helped the Red Eagles win the second-tier Premier League in 2015, the Malaysia Cup in 2016, and the FA Cup and Charity Shield in 2017.

He then returned to FAM in 2017 as national assistant coach to Nelo Vingada, before being promoted to head coach at the end of the same year.

Taking charge of the Harimau Malaya, he built up the national squad to emerge as runners-up in the 2018 Suzuki Cup, and put the team in a good position in the second round of the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup qualifiers in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the tournament schedule.

At the recently concluded Suzuki Cup which took place from Dec 5 to Jan 1, Tan's squad, which lacked preparation due to the pandemic, failed to advance to the semi-finals after they finished third in Group B.

Their exit followed a 3-0 loss to Vietnam and a 4-1 defeat against Indonesia, with their comfortable wins over Cambodia and Laos earlier in the campaign not enough to see them through.

Source: Agencies/Bernama/kg

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