Sport

Published: Tuesday January 21, 2014 MYT 9:30:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday January 21, 2014 MYT 10:07:41 PM

Coach Arul takes one for the team

S. Arulselvaraj (centre) who has been with ex-national head coach Paul Revington (left) since 2005, has decided to stay on and coach the national junior side despite the latter's resignation recently. - Filepic

S. Arulselvaraj (centre) who has been with ex-national head coach Paul Revington (left) since 2005, has decided to stay on and coach the national junior side despite the latter's resignation recently. - Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Hockey coach S. Arulselvaraj has made a U-turn and is ready to coach the national junior team for the 2016 Junior World Cup.

Arul, who initially wasn’t keen on coaching the juniors, changed his mind following national chief coach Paul Revington’s resignation on Sunday.

Arul, who has been the assistant coach to Revington since 2005 when they were in South Africa, said that he would not quit the national team.

“Although I’ve been with Revington since 2005 as assistant coach, first with the South African national team and then the Irish national team in 2009, this time I will stay on in Malaysia,” said Arul yesterday.

“I have commitment towards my country and also to MHC (Malaysia Hockey Federation), who hired me as the national assistant coach.

“I will fulfil my contract, which is until 2016.”

K. Dharmaraj, who guided the juniors to a remarkable fourth placing in the Junior World Cup in New Delhi last month, has been named as the new national chief coach to replace Revington.

Dharmaraj’s two assistants in the junior set-up – Nor Azlan Bakar and K. Gobinathan – will assist him with the senior team now.

And Arul does not want to break up a winning combination.

“I’m willing to coach juniors because I don’t want to break up the good set-up of coaches in the national senior team (comprising Dharma, Nor Azlan and Gobi),” said the former international, whose family lives in Dublin.

Arul, who turned 40 two weeks ago, however, said that he would need the full backing of MHC and the National Sports Council (NSC) to handle the junior team.

“I’ve spent the last 48 hours drawing up the training programme and budget for the juniors as I have less than two years to prepare a strong team for the Junior World Cup,” said Arul.

“I hope that NSC will approve the budget for the juniors to play in competitions in preparation for next year’s Junior Asia Cup, which is an important tournament for the team to qualify for the Junior World Cup,

“It will be a challenge for me as I’ll be handling the team by myself. But I hope to get an assistant soon.

“My priority is to scout for players from the on-going Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL). I expect to call up between 25 and 30 players for training when the league ends in March.”

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