BURIRAM – Last night’s 1-4 hammering by the North Koreans may have put National head coach Nelo Vingada’s “head” on the chopping block following a string of losses his charges suffered since the Portuguese, known as the “Professor” was appointed to the job last May.
As the fan’s voices for the national team’s long-overdue success grew louder, questions on Vingada’s position also became a topic during the post match media conference at the i-mobile Stadium, here last night.
The 64 years-old who arrived with an impeccable resume including a stint as Saudi Arabia national coach, seldom displayed emotions and coolly answered the question about his future as the head coach.
“Regarding my post, it all depends on TMJ (the Tunku Mahkota of Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, Football Association of Malaysia president),” he said, adding that he has a two year contract with the FAM.
According to Vingada, he has put his best in trying to revive Malaysia’s football fortunes and cautioned the journey to achieve success was long and with many hurdles and obstacles.
“I am dissapointed with last night’s heavy defeat but I will not give up,” he said, adding that the players managed to show improvement and the standard of the team against the rest of the teams has improved,” he said.
To be fair, their opponent last night were a level above the Malaysians, since the North Koreans had even participated in the World Cup and better ranked in the FIFA world ranking at 132 compared with Malaysia’s 170+.
Playing in front of an almost empty stadium except for several Malaysians, North Korean fans and curious Thai spectators, Jorn Andersen’s players, some currently playing in top notch leagues in Japan and Europe, easily ripped apart the Malaysian defence with pin-point passes and crosses.
“They (North Korea) are well above us,” said Vingada and also noted the difference in physique between the two teams had handed their opponent an added advantage especially during high-ball encounters.
The Portuguese coach is expected to make several changes to the squad when they meet North Korea for the second time next Monday including putting striker, Safawi Rashid who scored Malaysia’s consolation goal last night in the starting line up.
Safawi who starred in the SEA Games in August was fast with his moves and had put the North Korean defences under pressure on several occasions.
Malaysia’s heavy defeat last night almost certainly ended their Asian Cup qualifying campaign, and even wins in the last two matches against North Korea next Monday and Lebanon later, may not be enough to overhaul or change the fortune.
Malaysia are currently last in the group, with champion Lebanon already qualified to the final with Hong Kong and North Korea are in a better position to secure the runner-up spot to accompany Lebanon.
Since taking charge of Malaysia, Vingada had failed to deliver a single win in seven matches. – BERNAMA