Is Malaysia boss Nelo Vingada a coaching maestro or yesterday's man?

KUALA LUMPUR -- As far as his football resume goes, it is hard to fault Malaysia's new national boss Nelo Vingada, the veteran Portuguese coach they call "The Professor."

Signing a two-year contract this week, he seems to tick all of the important boxes as 158th-ranked Malaysia look to lift themselves out of the doldrums.

Trying to qualify for the next Asian Cup? Vingada won it with Saudi Arabia.

Need to develop young players? Vingada helped Portugal win two FIFA U20 championships, as an assistant to Carlos Queiroz.

Had success at club level? Vingada coached teams to league titles in Egypt and South Korea.

Having also worked in India, China and Jordan, in addition to his native Portugal, Vingada is a well-travelled professional who's shown he can adapt to new cultures, especially in the Muslim world.

But what is a concern is Vingada's age -- at 64 he is a decade older than Jose Mourinho and David Moyes -- and the fact that most of his best achievements came a long time ago.

Portugal's U20 titles were clinched in 1989 and 1991, Saudi Arabia lifted the Asian Cup in 1996, and none of his league title triumphs have come in the last half dozen years.

Indeed, since he left FC Seoul in 2010, Vingada had a forgettable stint with Dalian Shide in the Chinese Super League, winning only eight of 30 matches.

In 2014, his with the Iran U23 side -- often one of the dominant youth teams on the continent -- was even worse. He failed to win any of his six games in charge, losing five, and overseeing Iran's most unsuccessful ever Asian Games' performance as they fell 4-1 to Vietnam and drew 1-1 with Kyrgyzstan.

Results in the 2016 Indian Super League were better, but nothing to write home about. NorthEast United failed to make the finals, finishing fifth in the eight-team tournament, with only five wins in 14 matches.

It would be harsh to call him yesterday's man -- but just like Thailand's new head coach Milovan Rajevac, who has done little since leading Ghana to the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals -- his best days have almost disappeared over the horizon in the rearview mirror. And the fact that he has never coached in Southeast Asia could also be a problem.

The cash-strapped Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) simply doesn't have the money of Saudi Arabia where he enjoyed his greatest success two decades ago. It means that he's coming into a new country on a budget deal, without any of his own staff.

And, with only two weeks to prepare for Malaysia's opening Asian Cup qualifier -- assuming the June 8 game in North Korea goes ahead -- he will need to rely on assistant Tan Cheng Hoe, the former Kedah coach he's never met.

It is understandable that FAM's Crown Prince of Johor president wanted to make a big splash with the national coach appointment.

He's spoken about his desire to bring in a European maestro who can introduce his own philosophy, and train other coaches. But that should be the mission of a technical director, not a manager tasked with the immediate and urgent need of winning Asian Cup qualifiers.

So, for practical purposes, Penang-based Bojan Hodak, or even Indonesia-based Robert Alberts, would have been better choices.

Alberts, who, like Hodak was a finalist in January 2016 when Datuk Ong Kim Swee got the national coaching job, has guided unfashionable PSM Makassar to the top of Indonesia's Liga 1.

As Malaysia's first foreign manager in more than a decade, Vingada needs to stand out, compared with local candidates, by producing instant results. If Harimau Malaysia fail to make it to the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates, it will have a demoralising effect on the nation, and take football even further backwards.

There will be no appetite for grassroots' development and mentoring of local coaches if the ex-Benfica assistant doesn't turn the 2016 Suzuki Cup flops into winners.

The final round of qualifiers will conclude in March 2018. By then we will know if Vingada is a brilliant motivator and tactician in the mould of Queiroz, or a journeyman manager whose best days came when Safiq Rahim was still in primary school.