Sport

Published: Thursday December 26, 2013 MYT 4:36:00 PM
Updated: Thursday December 26, 2013 MYT 5:06:00 PM

Kannaiah bros making their mark in coaching

National junior hockey coach K. Dharmaraj seen here with his charges at the Sultan of Johor Cup in September where Malaysia finished as runner-up, has done well to take Malaysia to fourth in the recent Junior World Cup meet in New Delhi. - Filepic

National junior hockey coach K. Dharmaraj seen here with his charges at the Sultan of Johor Cup in September where Malaysia finished as runner-up, has done well to take Malaysia to fourth in the recent Junior World Cup meet in New Delhi. - Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Malacca’s Kannaiah brothers – Embaraj and Dharmaraj – have made their mark as good hockey coaches.

The duo proved their ability as accomplished coaches by reaching the targets set for them by their respective employers.

The 46-year-old Embaraj guided the Myanmar women’s hockey team to their first ever medal in the SEA Games last week.

It was the first time hosts Myanmar entered a women’s team for the Games and they created history by defeating former champions Singapore 1-0 in the third placing playoff match.

In the preliminary rounds, Myanmar also defeated Singapore 2-1.

And younger brother Dharmaraj, 44, did extremely well to help Malaysia finish a creditable fourth in the Junior World Cup in New Delhi, which ended on Dec 15.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) had set a top-six target among the 16 teams in the Junior World Cup and a fourth placing is definitely a great finish.

The Myanmar Hockey Federation (MHF) were so happy with Embaraj’s performance that they have offered him a contract extension to train their women’s team for the Asian Games qualifying tournament in Bangkok in February.

Embaraj, who was hired as the coach in May, said that he is happy to have helped Myanmar win their first ever medal in women’s hockey at the Games.

“Most of the players have never played hockey. The women’s team were made of former athletes from the football and athletics teams.

“I am impressed with the passion shown by the players as they trained hard to learn the game in such short duration to give their best in the Games,” said the former international and penalty corner specialist.

Embaraj said that Myanmar HF wants him to continue training the team but he has other offers to consider.

“The Indonesian Hockey Federation have also asked me to train their women’s team.

“But I have not made up my mind yet as I need time to consider the offers,” said Embaraj.

Dharmaraj, who guided Malaysia to victory in the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca last year, helped Malaysia finish as the best team from the Asia and Oceania in the Junior World Cup.

Germany retained the Junior World Cup by defeating France in the final while Malaysia lost to Holland in the third-place playoff.

Dharmaraj, also an ex-international, said the players put up a gallant performance in New Delhi and he is thrilled to have helped the team finished fourth in the Junior World.

 “I will be more than happy to continue training the national juniors for the next Junior World Cup in 2016,” said Dharmaraj, who was assisted by K. Gobinathan and Nor Azlan Bakar in New Delhi.

 “MHC coaching committee chairman Manjit Majid (Abdullah) met me to discuss about the national junior team training programme for next year. MHC will be having a meeting with all national senior and junior coaches next month to discuss about next year’s programmes,” said Dharmaraj, who is also waiting for the National Sports Council (NSC) to talk about next year’s plans.

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