KUALA LUMPUR: Chief coach Tan Cheng Hoe will not be burdened with any other duty apart from guiding Harimau Malaya through the World Cup 2022/Asian Cup 2023 second qualifying round, which ends in June 2020, according to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).
FAM said that during this period the 51-year-old Cheng Hoe would not be considered for the post of the national Under-22 (U-22) squad coach.
FAM deputy president Datuk Mohd Yusoff Mahadi said Cheng Hoe’s focus in 2020 would be to help Harimau Malaya clear the qualifying round so that they can play in the Asian Cup 2023 finals.
“We haven’t discussed this matter (of becoming U-22 chief coach) with him because we want him to focus on the World Cup 2022/Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers. Before June, we do not want his focus on the national team to be distracted.
“There is no pressing need to appoint Datuk Ong’s (Kim Swee) successor because the U-22 squad do not have any major tournaments next year,” he told Bernama when contacted today.
Cheng Hoe’s name was among those bandied about as possible U-22 squad chief coach after FAM announced that Ong’s contract would not be renewed when it expires at the end of the year.
“If there are friendly matches, we might appoint the Under-18 squad chief coach Brad (Maloney) on an ad hoc basis,” he said.
However, Maloney said he had not given a thought to the possibility of replacing Ong as there had been no formal discussions yet.
Malaysia will play the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Dubai on March 26 and Vietnam in Bukit Jalil here on March 31 before winding up their group campaign with a match against Thailand in Bangkok in June.
Harimau Malaya are lying second in Group G of the World Cup 2022/Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers with nine points from five matches.
Vietnam lead the group with 11 points, followed by Thailand on third spot with eight points, the UAE fourth on six points with one match in hand, and Indonesia last.