Vingada should be axed if he can't qualify Malaysia for 2019 Asian Cup

Vingada should be axed if he can't qualify Malaysia for 2019 Asian Cup
From ESPN - September 13, 2017

Football, they say, is a results' business, and the buck stops with the head coach. Which is why Malaysia's Nelo Vingada and Singapore's V. Sundramoorthy must be held accountable if their respective nations do not make it to the 2019 Asian Cup.

Their campaigns have not begun well. Despite four of their five qualifiers so far being at home, neither nation has registered a victory to leave them both behind the eight-ball on the road to United Arab Emirates.

Vingada, a Portuguese import who came with a big reputation, will be feeling the pressure more than home-grown Sundramoorthy. The latter is not noticeably worse that Bernd Stange, the big-talking German whom he replaced two years ago.

The man known as Sundram has overseen improved performances in his last two games -- a come-from-behind 1-1 draw against Hong Kong in a friendly on Aug. 31 before an identical result in the Asian Cup qualifier against Turkmenistan on Sept. 5. The Lions will now face two difficult matches against Turkmenistan (Oct. 10, away) and group leaders Bahrain (Nov. 14, home).

As for Vingada, the former assistant of super-coach Carlos Queiroz was within a whisker of losing his fourth consecutive match to begin his tenure on Sept. 5. That was until goalkeeper Hafizul Hakim saved his blushes with an added-time penalty save to salvage a 1-1 home draw against Hong Kong in their second qualifier, having lost their Group B opener 2-1 to Lebanon in Johor Bahru in June.

Everyone seems to be singing the praises of the affable 64-year-old -- from the nation's Crown Prince football president to senior players from Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta'zim who came out of retirement to play for him -- but the wins simply have not come. They also lost friendlies to Syria and Myanmar.

And his miserable run has coincided with the man he placed delighting the nation at the recent Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on home soil. Ong Kim Swee, who was pushed aside in March to make way for a foreign boss, oversaw five wins in six matches as the Malaysia under-22 side won the men's football silver medal.

They might have won the gold had goalkeeper Haziq Nadzli not made a gaffe from a routine corner to concede the only goal in the 1-0 defeat to defending champions, Thailand, in the final on Aug. 29.

During the tournament, the Young Tigers played exciting football, delighting packed houses at Shah Alam Stadium, and all under the watchful eye of Ong, who rebuilt his reputation over the course of a fortnight. Since taking over an unloved and neglected U22 side in the middle of the year, Ong has an impressive winning rate of 80 percent in official matches.

Vingada will be hoping to produce the same kind of magic with the senior team, but the odds are stacked against him.


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