KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia have appointed Nelo Vingada as head coach of their national side, the football association announced on Monday, entrusting the Portuguese with the task of reviving the fortunes of the team languishing at 158th in the FIFA rankings.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) did not reveal details of the 64-year-old’s contract but Vingada’s immediate task will be to oversee the 2019 Asian Cup qualification campaign.
Malaysia have appealed against playing their June 8 qualifier against North Korea in Pyongyang over security concerns, so Vingada’s first match in charge may be on Malaysian soil against Lebanon on June 13.
“I wanted the coach to also be a teacher,” FAM president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said in a statement announcing the appointment of the coach nicknamed ‘The Professor’.
Vingada replaces Ong Kim Swee, who has been put in charge of Malaysia’s under-22 squad, and will arrive in Malaysia on May 25 to begin his tenure.
“With his experience and age, we see him as the best coach to guide the national team to success,” the FAM chief added.
“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 Vingada and, hopefully, enjoy new-found success.”
Vingada has more than 35 years of coaching experience, including stints with K-League side FC Seoul, Iranian powerhouse Persepolis FC and Chinese Super League side Dalian Shide FC, as well as the Saudi Arabia and Jordan national teams.
“It will be an honour to coach the Malaysian national team,” the coach said. “There is a lot of work to be done and I cannot wait to get started.”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien