The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have appointed Nelo Vingada as the coach of the men's national team.
Nicknamed 'The Professor', the Portuguese is fondly remembered in India for his coaching stint with Indian Super League (ISL) side NorthEast United. The John Abraham owned team finished fifth last season, under his tutelage, and just missed out on a semi-final berth in the Indian subcontinent's most watched football competition.
Whilst Vingada was first choice for the franchise to continue at the helm of the first team, and was close to signing fresh terms with the Guwahati-based club, an impasse in tying up the deal led to him seeking greener pastures. In preparation for the ISL this season, the coach had even attended a few I-League games.
“With his experience and age, we see him as the best candidate to guide the national team to success," expressed a pleased Malaysian FA president, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, on Monday at the former's unveiling.
"His work with previous national teams - both youth and senior sides - speak volumes of his work ethics. We look forward to working with Vingada," he further added.
Aged 64, the Serpa-born Portuguese has a repertoire of impressive work established in countries and with teams such as Portugal (senior team as well as U20), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, FC Seoul, Persepolis et. al. and as assistant coach to teams such as Iran and Benfica.
“I would like to thank Tunku Ismail for getting in touch with me and then meeting me in Johor recently. It is an honour to coach the national team. There is a lot of work to be done and I cannot wait to get started," elucidated a proud Vingada, to the Malaysian FA's offical media portal.
Vingada is appointed on a two-years contract but early indication is that he would not be bringing in his own coaching staff which leaves the door open for former Kedah head coach, Tan Cheng Hoe to be roped in to be his number two.
The Portuguese replaces Datuk Ong Kim Swee in the hot seat with the latter moving down the national U-22 side that is preparing for the upcoming South-East Asian (SEA) Games tournament in August.