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KUALA LUMPUR – Eduardo Manuel Martinho Braganza de Vingada, or better known as Nelo Vingada, has been confirmed as head coach and entrusted with the task of bringing Malaysian football out of the wilderness.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) said in a statement that the 64-year-old coach from Portugal would arrive in Malaysia on May 25, and his first task would be to prepare the national team for a 2019 Asian Cup qualifier match against North Korea in Pyongyang on June 8.

Vingada’s no-nonsense style of coaching and his direct and dominant assertiveness towards players were the main factors which favoured him as the best choice to be the Malaysian national team head coach.

“I wanted the coach to also be a teacher. With the national team, it is not all about coaching but also to educate our players. With his experience and age, we see him as the best coach to guide the national team to success.

“His work with previous national teams – both youth and senior sides – and the clubs he has coached speak volumes of his work ethics. We look forward to working with Vengada and, hopefully, enjoy new-found success,” said FAM president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim in the statement.

“After having seen numerous coaches, both local and foreign, doing their stuff, my gut instinct tells me that Vingada is the right man for the job. I may be wrong but only time will tell,” added Tunku Ismail.

Vingada, for his part, said:”I would like to thank Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim for getting in touch with me and then meeting me in Johor recently.

“It will be an honour to coach the Malaysian national team. There is a lot of work to be done and I cannot wait to get started.”

Nicknamed ‘The Professor’ for his astute managerial methods, Vingada started his coaching career as assistant to Carlos Queiroz for the Portugal Under-20 side where the duo led Portugal to back-to-back FIFA Under-20 World Cup successes in 1989 and 1991.

After succeeding Queiroz as head coach, Vingada consistently led the Portuguese Under-20 side to the semi-finals of major events like the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 1995 and Olympics in 1996.

Vingada, whose managerial career spans 35 years and counting, is a popular figure in the Asian region.

He coached the Saudi Arabia senior side (1996-1997), the Egyptian Olympic team (2004-2005), Jordan national team (2007-2009) and the Iranian Olympic squad (2014).

He also packs a wealth of coaching experience at club level as he led Egyptian Premier League side FC Zamalek and Korean K-League heavyweights FC Seoul to domestic league and Cup triumphs during his tenure with the clubs.

His impressive CV also includes coaching Iranian powerhouse, Persepolis FC, and Chinese Super League side Dalian Shide FC.

His most recent stint was in India where he took NorthEast United FC to fifth placing (just outside the championship play-off spot) in the Indian Super League. – BERNAMA

FOOTBALL Association of Malaysia (FAM) are reluctant to send their players to North Korea for next month’s rescheduled AFC 2019 Asian Cup qualifier because of fears of “sabotage”, despite clearance from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

The Asian body ruled this week that the June 8 match will go ahead in Pyongyang after confirmation from Malaysian authorities that no government restrictions were in place.

But the Crown Prince of Johor (TMJ), who is FAM president, expressed his grave concerns about the team’s safety if they travel to the Republic.

“I am hesitant to release them at this point of time. But if we don’t allow them to go to Pyongyang, North Korea will be given a 3-0 victory,” said TMJ in a FAM statement.

“Furthermore, we will also be fined $50,000 and be disqualified from the Asian Cup qualifiers. I am also concerned that it will result in us being disqualified from future AFC tournaments. So what do we do? I want this match played at a neutral venue for the safety of the players.”

TMJ said that by playing the match in Pyongyang, Malaysia could face many logistical problems ahead of the final-round qualifier that was originally scheduled for March 28.

The match was postponed due to strained diplomatic relations between the nations after the death of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb 13.

“I have been informed by several coaches that the situation there is quite bad. I have also been informed that we need to bring our own food because there may be sabotage elements,” TMJ said.

“If there are debatable refereeing decisions against North Korea, that could also put the referee’s safety at risk, and put him under pressure. I do not agree with this decision to go there, but the decision is with the Sports Minister and the government.”

On Tuesday, Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said he had no objection about Malaysia travelling to North Korea, provided that adequate security guarantees were given.

Malaysia, still without a national head coach for the qualifying campaign, say they will make a relevant appointment in the next three or four days.

“After getting confirmation from TMJ, I will reveal the new head coach from Portugal after both parties complete the documentation and contracts. The speculation of former Olympiakos coach Paulo Bento is also not true,” FAM secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said via an official statement.

Datuk Ong Kim Swee, who coached Malaysia in their most recent international match against Philippines in March, is now in charge of the under-23 side. – ESPN FC

KUALA LUMPUR – The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) is currently looking for a coach who is able to take on the responsibility to steer the Harimau Malaya for the long haul, and accept the wage package on offer, according to FAM secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin.

He said selecting a good coach was not as easy as buying a book because if the coach was not good enough and needed to be replaced, it would cost much more.

“Currently, many people are asking where is the national coach. You should know, that the current president (Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim) has just taken charge of the organisation from the previous management, with little remaining funds available.

“Right now, there is one candidate from Portugal and there is another who will meet Tunku Ismail in a few days. He also does not want to reveal much because it still under wraps…We can only share (any news) with the media once it is confirmed, “he said in his latest posting on FAM’s official Facebook page, today.

Hamidin said the offer to potential candidates for the job was not that high as the association was currently facing financial constraints, and Tunku Ismail has also decided to use his own money to supplement the budget to get a coach of better calibre.

“Therefore, be patient. Do not be quick to bridle,” he said. – BERNAMA

KUANTAN – The decision of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to ban Mohamadou Sumareh for an incident in the FA Cup quarter-final match has left Pahang head coach Dollah Salleh puzzled.

The experienced head coach wants to know the reason why FAM Disciplinary Committee chairman Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu punished the striker from Gambia since he did nothing wrong.

Sumareh was given a one match ban although the video footage does not show the referee giving him a card for the incident. He was the victim and not the aggressor,” he told reporters after the match against Felda United at Darul Makmur Stadium, here last night.

Dollah added the Football Association of Pahang (PBNP) has not received a letter regarding the one match ban on Sumareh meted by the FAM Disciplinary Committee.

Pahang and Felda United fought to a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup tie played at Darul Makmur Stadium, here.

With the one match ban, Sumareh will miss the FA Cup semi-final clash against Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) in Johor Bahru on Sunday.

Yesterday, Baljit Singh announced that four Super League players were suspended for one match and fined RM3,000 for making rash tackles.

They are Sumareh (Pahang), Afiq Faza’il (JDT) and Mohd Rizal Ghazali (Kedah). Mohd Fakhrurazi Musa (T-Team ) was suspended for two matches. – BERNAMA

JOHOR BHARU – The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) are in a major financial crisis said newly elected president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.

Tunku Ismail or popularly known as TMJ (Tunku Mahkota of Johor), said FAM’s financial situation could hamper his efforts to carry out development programmes or changes aspired by the fans and the people.

“On the first day I had entered the FAM in my officially capacity as president, oozing with confidence and ideas, ready to rock and roll. So, I started checking everything, I got all the files, I got everybody coming up to me…FAM has no money.

“You know how much shortage? RM40 million shortage of money. There’s no money in FAM. How am I going to run the league? How am I going to look after the national team, how to change a new coach, buy equipment?

“Of course no one has the answer. It’s okay, I don’t want to worry about it. I want to move forward,” he told about 40 media practitioners comprising chief editors and sports editors at Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim, here today.

TMJ said due to lack of funds, he had to take proactive measures, including terminating the services of 20 staff, although he had no intention to ‘throw sand into people’s rice bowl’ as claimed by some on social media.

“Everyone, including the fans need to know what we can do and what we cannot do. We have to be realistic. So, to restructure the organisation, we need not pay staff who are not productive because we don’t want to waste FAM’s money.

“My main focus is to protect the money and assets that belong to FAM, therefore 20 staff have been terminated. Media has to understand and highlight the positive things.

“I am not throwing sand into people’s rice bowl. That’s got nothing to do with my intention. I think the first priority should be given to the association,” he said.

He said FAM was in the process of discussing with prospective sponsors like Zenith and Fox Sport.

“I am working hard to find sponsors for the mid-season activities this year, next year and years to come,” he said.

Meanwhile, TMJ also chided state football associations and clubs that spent exorbitant amounts on import players.

“I have given ideas to restructure their financial status. We will see during the second window for registration of players. I want to rescue them from unrecognised player agents,” he said. – BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA – “We will give our best cooperation to FAM,” stressed Youth and Sports Minister when asked about the status of the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) yesterday.

He said he was confident the cooperation between the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) under the new leadership of Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, and NFDP, would provide a positive impact on football development in the country.

He said this after launching the bidding process for ‘Rimau’ vehicle registration numbers at his ministry here yesterday.

SEPANG – The former Under-22 coach, Frank Bernhardt said he was not surprised with the decision made by the President of Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim to terminate his services recently.

Bernhardt, who was appointed by FAM as Under-22 coach in 2015, said he knew the news about his duty termination through the media and wanted to meet FAM for further explanation as soon as possible.

“It’s correct, I heard that from the media. Personally, I’ve no information yet from FAM regarding this matter. I believe we will discuss this matter further and to clear some of the statement.

“This (termination) can happen when someone is appointed as the new president. When new people take over, they want to change or make a change and yes it can happen. This is a situation I had to deal with,” he told reporters upon arriving with the Under-22 squad from Dubai at the KL International Airport (KLIA), here, today.

Commenting on the appropriateness of FAM to announce his termination while he and the team were abroad, Bernhardt said: “The date of announcement may not be the right time but we cannot change anything.”

Bernhardt added as a coach he had a responsibility to finish up his job but he would abide by the decision.

“I don’t know that my philosophy is different from him because we (he and Tunku Ismail) never spoke to each other. At the moment, I can’t give any comment on the contract,” he said.

Tunku Ismail, who took over the post of the new president of FAM, has appointed Mario Gomez as the new chief coach for Harimau Malaysia (national football squad), replacing Datuk Ong Kim Swee.

Meanwhile, Kim Swee has been entrusted the task of coaching the national Under-22 squad.

The development saw the ouster of Bernhardt from the FA of Malaysia’s (FAM) football development plans under the new leadership of FAM. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – A total revamp of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) is among a 11-point manifesto released by FAM presidential candidate Tunku Mahkota of Johor (TMJ) Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.

Tunku Ismail, the owner of Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) who is vying for the post of president said in the manifesto that he was prepared to bring about changes, including a dialogue with football fans in the country as well as holding FAM exco meetings at every state.

“Hosting the FAM exco meeting in states would give committee members a chance to see the development in the respective states, facilities available, junior development programmes, financial status and condition of the state association premises or clubs,” said TMJ in the official JDT Facebook posting (The Southern Tigers).

Tunku Ismail said a total revamp was needed in the FAM due to lack of professionalism, poor management of funds, integrity issues, lack of passion, claims of corruption and biased treatment.

TMJ also has plans to review and amend the FAM Constitution to enable fans to elect the president of FAM instead of delegates from affiliates.

“Football belongs to the people, especially fans and I believe the people must choose the president,” he said.

During the congress, all other posts can be voted in by the delegates but the post of president must be the choice of the people.

The FAM must not be used for political gains and it must also be ensured that football does not fall in the hands of politicians.

“My main focus will be to increase the commercial value of the Super League and Premier League, development of football, adopt a global approach in developing football, improve the quality of refereeing and facilities.

“The structure of the senior national squad will also be reviewed,” said TMJ in the Facebook posting.

Tunku Ismail will be challenged by Kelantan Football Association adviser Tan Sri Annuar Musa during the 53rd FAM Congress on Saturday. – BERNAMA

JERLUN – Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) presidential candidate Tan Sri Annuar Musa said it has not crossed his mind to withdraw from the race.

While he has yet to receive the inspiration to withdraw, Annuar who is also UMNO Information chief said on the contrary many parties were urging him to continue the contest for the post.

“I do not want to make the FAM president fight as the ultimate goal, I am thinking more of the people and the government’s victory in the 14th general
election,” he said after attending the simultaneous opening of Kedah UMNO branch meeting here today.

The March 25 FAM presidential election will be a straight fight between the Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim and Annuar.

The UMNO leader said he did not want to carry out any politicking nor campaign to win votes as he was confident the affliate members had already made up their minds on whom to choose.

“What is important is that national football has to improve, it does not matter if I win or not,” he said.

Commenting on the action of some parties disputing his competency as FAM president, Annuar said he was prepared to accept any criticisms and views thrown at him with an open heart.

“I should be challenged because as a candidate if I am not challenged, it means I am perfect, similarly people who disputed my candidacy should also be ready to accept my criticism, but we will be courteous,” he said. – BERNAMA

BANGI – Affiliates of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have been urged to be rational when electing the new president.

FAM former secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Ibrahim Saad said they should not be emotional since it is crucial for the future of Malaysian football.

Asked who was more qualified to be the new president of FAM, Ibrahim declined to give a straight answer.

He said the Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim and Kelantan Football Association advisor Tan Sri Annuar Musa, have extensive experience in football management.

“Who ever wins the election will surely use his experience and ability for the good of football. No need to hurt the feelings of others,” he said when met at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) campus in Bangi here, today.

On Monday, Tunku Ismail and Annuar accepted their nominations as candidates to contest for the post of FAM president. – BERNAMA