Newly appointed national football coach Tan Cheng Hoe says he needs to work very hard to ensure that he leads the team to a higher level. Bernama pic.

KUALA LUMPUR: New national coach, Tan Cheng Hoe is of the opinion that the trust and freedom (Big license) accorded to him by the FA of Malaysia (FAM) president, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim to form a formidable Harimau Malaya team as an honour.

Therefore, the former Kedah coach explained that now is the time for him to repay the faith shown by Tunku Ismail by producing positive results.

“It is indeed an honour for me that Tunku Ismail has shown faith and given me the freedom to choose players to represent the country.

“However, as coach I need to work very hard to ensure that I lead the team to a higher level,” said Cheng Hoe who officially took over from predecessor Nelo Vingada on December 7 (last Thursday).

Tunku Ismail had said that Cheng Hoe would be given the freedom to form a national team that he feels would be best to challenge for honours and also where assistant coaches are concerned during a press conference after chairing the FAM Exco committee meeting last Saturday.

Prior to his new appointment, Cheng Hoe was assistant national coach to Vingada, who stepped down on December 6 after failing to lead Malaysia to a win since his appointment.

Vingada achieved the humiliating and unwanted record when he failed to record a win in seven matches in charge, along with the disappointment of being out of the running for a 2019 Asia Cup place.

Commenting on the daunting task that lies ahead in restoring Harimau Malaya’s battered pride, Cheng Hoe admitted that he is ready to face whatever obstacles, challenges and stumbling blocks that may come his way, including criticisms.

“The criticisms all depend on the media and the fans, if they want to be positive or not, but when I accepted this post, I knew that I will have to face anything and everything that comes my way, be it good or bad.

“The main reason for me to lead the national team is to take the team to new, greater heights compared to previously.

“For now there are no plans yet for the national team because it is still early on and the Malaysian League has not even begun yet. But I am in the midst of formulating and finalising my plans for next year which are hopefully what’s best needed for the national team.”