Saturday, November 11, 2006

Malaysia retains Rajagopal to train U-20 squad

The Football Association of Malaysia will retain the national coach K. Rajagopal to handle the national U-20 squad, expected to be the first team to fully utilise FAM's High Performance Training Centre (HPTC) in Brickendonbury, England, in January. According to The Star, Rajagopal’s employment with FAM became an issue after the national U-20 team which he was handling was knocked out in the group stages in the AFC Youth Finals two weeks ago in Bangalore.

“FAM have hired many foreign coaches in the past to handle our national teams. By comparison, I think that Rajagopal has done reasonably well with the team,” said FAM secretary general Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad. “It’s true that we did not perform up to expectations in Bangalore after all the preparations the team went through. But we intend to keep Rajagopal as one of the members of our coaching staff. Rajagopal will continue to handle the national U-20 players. He still has one more year on his contract with us. We are in the midst of discussion with the Youth and Sports Ministry to get more exposure for our U-20 players. One of the initiatives is to house our players at the HTPC. If that works out we will have to send some of our coaching staff to London. One of the coaching staff will be Rajagopal,” he said.

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