Malaysia’s new coach quickly identifies some of the same old problems

It is still very early days for Nelo Vingada as Malaysia coach, but the Portuguese noted some familiar concerns when he assessed his side’s 2-1 defeat to Lebanon.

The visitors came from a goal down to defeat Malaysia 2-1 as substitute Rabih Ataya fired goals in the 80th minute and in stoppage time to keep their 100 per cent start to the Asian Cup qualifiers intact.

Lebanon top Group B with six points, Hong Kong and North Korea have a point each after sharing the spoils on Tuesday while Malaysia, who have yet to play their scheduled opening match against North Korea, are sitting last.

Concentration wasn’t there in the two set-pieces we conceded from ... the players will have to be more focussed

Mahali Jasuli had given Malaysia the first-half lead after custodian Mehdi Kahlil spilled a routine save before Lebanon’s late comeback.

Vingada, who took charge of Harimau Malaya for the first time on Tuesday, felt several shortcomings were highlighted that the team can learn from.

“I’m not happy with the result ... nobody can be because we conceded very late.” said Vingada.

“I am happy that the players tried to fight and kept running, but we have work to do. Some defeats can be meaningful and I believe we can build the squad from here and fight more.

“Concentration wasn’t there in the two set-pieces we conceded from and we were a bit naive too.

“I don’t have any special formula for this. The players will have to be more focussed.

The first Malaysian starting line-up under Vingada

"Fitness and concentration go hand in hand. Less fitness means a drop in concentration. When the players are tired, these things happen.”

Poor fitness levels and players having a lack of familiarity with each other have been reasons listed for longer training camps in the past and Vingada is singing a similar tune to his predecessors.


Late Malaysia collapse leads to Lebanon defeat

Having not picked the squad for the June international break because he only arrived days before the start of the camp, Vingada is looking forward to scouting the Malaysia Super League (MSL) for players before the next call-up.

“The league resumes in July and the under-22s will be involved in the AFC qualifiers. I will have a lot of time until August to observe,” he said.

“Of course we will get them in early for the next match. I will present a plan for preparation and we'll probably start in the middle of August.

“The players will get a few days off before reporting though. We could arrange a friendly too ... preferably against a team that plays the same style as Hong Kong.”

Malaysia host Hong Kong on September 5. The Tigers will then play North Korea, a match that was twice postponed already, on October 5 before visiting Hong Kong five days later.

Lebanon players celebrating at the final whistle