KUALA LUMPUR – Tan Cheng Hoe (picture) has resigned as the head coach of the Harimau Malaya following Malaysia’s failure to qualify for the semi-finals of the AFF Cup 2020 in Singapore last month, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) announced today.
FAM secretary-general Mohd Saifuddin Abu Bakar said Cheng Hoe 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 agreed to release Cheng Hoe on a mutual agreement basis.
“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.
“His services and contributions will always be remembered. Thank you. Good luck also to Cheng Hoe in continuing his coaching career after this,” he said in a statement here.
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 to Datuk K. Rajagobal saw Malaysia win the 2009 SEA Games gold medal and the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup.
Cheng Hoe, who later took over as Kedah’s head coach from 2014-2017, proved himself to be one of the best coaches in the Malaysia League (M-League) when he helped The Red Eagles win the 2015 Premier League, Malaysia Cup 2016, 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 runners-up in the 2018 AFF Cup and put the team in the best 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.
In the AFF Cup 2020 from Dec 5 to Jan 1, Cheng Hoe’s squad, which lacked preparation due to the pandemic, failed to advance to the semi-finals when they finished the campaign in third place following 3-0 and 4-1 defeats to Vietnam and Indonesia respectively in Group B, apart from recording 3-1 and 4-0 wins over Cambodia and Laos.