Monday, November 25, 2013

'Parting in a good way'

FAM TAKES NEW DIRECTION: Rajagobal bows out as the longest-serving national coach

HAILED as Malaysia's most successful coach in recent times, K. Rajagobal was dumped yesterday by the FA of Malaysia (FAM) executive committee which unanimously decided not to renew his contract.

Rajagobal, who re-ignited Malaysian football by guiding his team to the 2009 Sea Games and 2010 AFF Cup titles, will officially punch out for the last time on Dec 31.
The 57-year-old will bow out as the longest-serving national coach in Malaysian football history, breaking Alan Harris' record of three years.

Rajagobal, who was appointed as national coach in April, 2009, served for four-and-a-half years.
National Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee will replace him on a caretaker basis after next month's Sea Games in Myanmar until FAM decides on a permanent replacement.

Former Japan coach Phillippe Troussier, along with former Singapore trainer Radojko Avramovic, Dollah Salleh and France's 1998 World Cup-winning skipper Marcel Desailly have been short-listed for the job.

Rajagobal said: "I will wait for FAM's official letter before sorting out other matters, including my future. I need something official before I can comment. I will hold a press conference."

FAM vice-president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal said Rajagobal's contributions will be remembered but it is time to let him go and give someone else the chance to take local football to the next level.
"After screening the reports of the relevant committees today, we decided not to renew Rajagobal's contract. However, we must thank him for contributing so much to Malaysian football," said Subahan, who is also national team manager, at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday.

"We gave him the opportunity to help the team qualify for the 2015 Asian Cup, which was his key performance index.

"Others should be given the chance to further develop the national team. We are not parting with Rajagobal in a bad way... I am sure he will get other offers.

"He has done so much for our football as the longest-serving local coach in history."
Rajagobal's relationship with the concerned parties has gone sour following his team's poor performance in competitions.

"The critics were harsh on him following Malaysia's failure to retain the AFF Cup last year.
"Kim Swee's contract as national youth coach will be renewed but he will replace Rajagobal on a caretaker basis until we find the right candidate," said Subahan.

FAM has started negotiations with the short listed candidates and is expected to name Rajagobal's replacement by March while Kim Swee has received a two-year extension as youth coach.
"We have four coaches on our list but it is too early to reveal their identities. I believe we should be able to appoint a new coach in January.

"If we do not find the right candidate, then Kim Swee will take charge of the senior team's final Asian Cup Qualifying match against Yemen on March 4.

"But Kim Swee will not be promoted to senior coach on a permanent basis."

National Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee will replace K. Rajagobal on a caretaker basis.

Read more: 'Parting in a good way' - Soccer - New Straits Times

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