Hey, critics of TMJ and Malaysian football – let's all take a deep breath

Last week Malaysia lost their first match under the tutelage of new coach Nelo Vingada. While some criticism could be expected in a football country that often has unrealistically high hopes, the reaction has been way over the top, argues John Duerden...

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Malaysian fans still talk with increasing nostalgia about the glory days of the 1970’s and beating South Korea.

So it’s worth noting that Lebanon also did just that during qualification for the 2014 World Cup, overcoming the Taeguk Warriors in a competitive game (very nearly doing it twice) and also defeating Iran.

It remains to be seen if Vingada is the right man for the job ... what can be said for sure is it is too early to tell

Lebanon are a decent team in Asian football. Not a giant by any means, but no minnow either. The fact they came from Beirut to Johor to defeat the Tigers 2-1 on June 13 was not a surprise, even if it was a disappointment. 

Malaysia spent much of the game ahead. Giving fans hope, that cruellest of football emotions, is always a danger and then not long before the end, the visitors took the points with a late comeback.

It was Nelo Vingada's first game in charge. The Portuguese tactician had been in place just three weeks, taking over a team that – it is fair to say – has been through some chaotic times in recent years. 

Yet despite the disappointment of leading for so long and then losing at the end, there were some bright parts.

The first Malaysian team since Vingada's appointment

Defensively, Malaysia looked more organised than in the past and there was no faulting the work-rate. Possession could have been used better, but then that has long been an issue. 

Overall, there was enough to encourage and enough to remind that there is a lot – a lot – of hard work ahead, not that anyone really needed reminding.

Or perhaps some did. Some of the criticism from the media has been over the top and lacks context.

Nobody likes to lose at home but Malaysia have been doing that for some time, against weaker opposition and with coaches who have been in place for much longer. 

Not quite high-flyers, Lebanon are a decent team

It remains to be seen if Vingada is the right man for the job. He has had success and failure elsewhere. What can be said for sure is it is too early to tell.

He needs time and the authority to make the changes necessary. Maybe by now he is starting to realise what the problems are, but to expect solutions to years of failure within the space of a month is unrealistic. 

What is different now compared to the past is that Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (TMJ) is president of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

[NEXT: JDT come out swinging against suggestions TMJ has failed already]