Former Australia international Brad Maloney has been promoted to assistant coach of the Malaysia national team after a coaching reshuffle.
Along with head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee, Maloney has been tasked with looking after the senior team on a caretaker basis.
Ong replaced Dollah Salleh, who stepped down after the Harimau Malaya were thrashed 10-0 by the United Arab Emirates in a World Cup qualifier last week.
“It's been a whirlwind last 72 hours or so,” Maloney told FourFourTwo.
“The national team head coach resigned after the loss to the UAE, and my head coach was appointed as caretaker coach, and myself as his assistant.
"We are now busily preparing for the match against Saudi Arabia.
“Lots of hard work ahead, but very exciting times.”
FourFourTwo understands the appointment is only on an interim basis at this stage, up until the November qualifiers, but it marks a quick rise for Maloney, who has worked as an agent and coach since retiring in 2004.
Within the next five to 10 years I expect Malaysia to be one of the powerhouses in Southeast Asia, competing with Japan and South Korea
The 43-year old previously served as an assistant coach at the New South Wales Institute of Sport for three years from 2006 to 2009.
Maloney relocated to Malaysia in late 2014 to work with the country’s Under-23s.
“It's great to be coaching in elite football again, albeit not at home,” the former Perth Glory midfielder said.
“I had been contemplating for some time to get back into coaching elite football.
"Full time coaching positions are relatively limited in Australia, so I was quite excited by the prospect of working in Southeast Asia with one of the most prominent football associations in the region."
He also believes that Malaysian football will only get better.
“The passion for football here is rapidly growing.
"The indications are that Malaysian football is on the rise, and this was perhaps best illustrated by the 2014 Malaysia Cup final between two of the top clubs, Johor Darul Ta'zim and Pahang, which boasted a crowd of over 100,000 fans.
“Within the next five to 10 years I expect this country to be one of the powerhouses in Southeast Asia and competing with the big guns such as Japan and South Korea for the region’s number one spot.”
Video sesi latihan rasmi skuad Harimau Malaya di Stadium Shah Alam petang ini menjelang aksi bertemu Arab Saudi, esok pic.twitter.com/O74ZUj0xZ1
— FA Malaysia (@FAM_Malaysia) September 7, 2015
Maloney is one of the few Australian players and coaches who have decamped to Malaysia in the past few years.
“I believe it's fantastic that Aussies such as Mehmet Durakovic, Ryan and Adam Griffiths are now plying their trades in Malaysia,” he said.
“It's always good to have foreign influences in any league and since the doors were open again for foreign players here, Australians have proven to be a positive addition to the league.
“Mehmet did very well in his first year as head coach of Selangor, finishing second in the league, confirming that there are some very talented Aussie coaches out there.”
(Picture: Football Association of Malaysia)