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 By Paul Murphy

Malaysia promote Tan Cheng Hoe to head coach in place of Nelo Vingada

Nelo Vingada is out as the Malaysian national team manager after losing six of his last seven matches.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) appointed Tan Cheng Hoe as the new head coach of the national team on Thursday, just a day after the resignation of Nelo Vingada.

The FAM wasted no time in naming the ex-Kedah boss as their replacement as they clearly felt promotion from within the ranks was the best option.

Tan is very familiar with the national team set-up, having served as assistant coach under K. Rajagobal from 2009 to 2013 and under Vingada since his appointment in May of this year.

"We would like to congratulate Tan Cheng Hoe on being appointed as new Harimau Malaya head coach," the FAM said in a statement.

While he has considerable experience with the national team, it was in his time at Kedah that Tan marked himself out as one of the most promising young coaches in the country.

He took over in 2014 when the club were still in the Malaysian Premier League (MPL). They finished fourth in Tan's first season before winning the title and promotion in 2015. In the same year, they also reached the Malaysia Cup final, where they lost to Selangor.

Kedah followed this up with an even more impressive year in 2016 as they came third in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) and lifted the Malaysia Cup by gaining revenge on Selangor in the final.

From fourth in the MPL in 2013 to third in the MSL in 2016 was impressive enough, but to add silverware marked the coach out as one to watch.

Tan took the opportunity to move back over to the national team when Vingada took over, but Kedah have had another impressive season under his former assistant Nidzam Adzha.

They may have dropped one place to fourth in the MSL, but they reached both domestic cup finals, winning the FA Cup by beating Pahang in the final, while losing the Malaysia Cup final to MSL champions Johor Darul Ta'zim.

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The FAM clearly don't feel that Tan has been tarnished by his association with Vingada's short and dismal reign. The 64-year-old Portuguese failed to win any of his seven games in charge, losing six of them.

With Malaysia at an all-time low of 174th in the FIFA rankings, Tan starts his role at one of the most difficult points in the country's football history.

But Tan has known success with Malaysia, having been on the national team's coaching staff when they lifted the Southeast Asia (SEA) Games gold medals in 2009 and 2011, while also winning AFF Suzuki Cup in 2010.

This will give Harimau Malaya fans fresh hope as they head into 2018 and attempt to make an impact in the AFF Cup again.

Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK


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