Football: Ong Kim Swee in as Dollah Salleh quits as Malaysia national coach

Malaysia national football coach Dollah Salleh (left) has resigned, paving the way for Ong Kim Swee to be appointed interim coach of the Tigers.
Malaysia national football coach Dollah Salleh (left) has resigned, paving the way for Ong Kim Swee to be appointed interim coach of the Tigers.PHOTO: ST FILE, THE NEW PAPER FILE

SINGAPORE - In the wake of a record 10-0 defeat by the UAE on Thursday (Sept 3), Malaysia national football coach Dollah Salleh has resigned, paving the way for Ong Kim Swee to be appointed interim coach of the Tigers.

Former Malaysia international striker Dollah, 51, announced his resignation decision when the team landed in Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Friday evening after their World Cup qualifying mauling in Abu Dhabi.

He said: "I take full responsibility for what has happened. The fans will not accept this result. My decision is final.

"I have informed the FA of Malaysia (FAM) of my decision. In fact, I made the decision immediately after the defeat in Abu Dhabi. Any coach would not accept this result. I don't blame anyone else."

Ong's appointment was announced by the FAM on Saturday morning. The 44-year-old's first task is to rally the Tigers for the next World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia at Shah Alam on Tuesday.

He is expected to remain in charge until December, when his contract with the FAM expires. It is his second stint as interim national coach as he was also in charge for four months early last year.

"I do not know what to say. I am honoured and this is a huge challenge. I will prepare the team the best possible way against Saudi Arabia," he said.

The Malacca native, also an ex-international midfielder, has been a successful youth coach. Taking charge of the Harimau Muda (U-21) in 2009, he led the youngsters to the second-tiered Malaysian Premier League title that year.

He was appointed Malaysia's Under-23 coach in 2011 and won the SEA Games gold in his first year in charge.

Dollah was only appointed last June by the FAM. In December, he led the Tigers to the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup final, where they lost to Thailand 4-3 on aggregate.

But the record 10-0 beating by the UAE, which saw the hosts lead 7-0 at half-time, sparked calls for his sacking. It was Malaysia's biggest international loss , eclipsing a 8-2 thrashing by New Zealand in 1967.

meng@sph.com.sg