When Kedah’s former head coach Tan Cheng Hoe left the club to take up the job of assistant coach to the national team, many theories and accusations proliferated on social media.
Kedah — prior to Tan Cheng Hoe’s departure — were unbeated in the Super League and the Red Eagles were perched comfortably on top of the table. They are now in second place, 11 points behind first-placed Johor Darul Ta’zim.
Therefore, many local football fans accused the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) for deliberately taking Tan Cheng Hoe away from Kedah to weaken the team.
In the Face-Off event that took place in Johor last night, the FAM president and Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim decided to clarify the situation with Tan Cheng Hoe once and for all.
“After I became president, we were looking to spice things up at the national team. We need some changes, we wanted to bring new energy into it.”
“We knew we wanted a foreign coach, but we wanted a local to assist the foreign coach. Because when the foreign coach arrives, he would not be familiar with local football, our culture, our mentality or the way things work here.”
“We had a few names that we were going to pick from. At the same time, we opened the opportunity to everyone. If anyone was interested, they can contact us.”
“First person to come and see me was Tan Cheng Hoe. I like Tan Cheng Hoe – he’s a very good coach. So we had a talk in my house.”
“We discussed about salary. Actually Tan Cheng Hoe would have benefited more if he stayed in Kedah. Kedah payed his taxes. I said, if you take up this job, you have to pay your taxes. And besides, Tan Cheng Hoe got the same offer I made to everyone else. It’s not like we lured him in with a huge sum of money.”
“But Tan Cheng Hoe insisted that he wanted to be part of the national team. He didn’t see long-term prospects with Kedah.”
“I don’t understand why people make this sound like a conspiracy. They say FAM roped in Tan Cheng Hoe to undermine Kedah. But they forgot that Kedah won two championships this season.”