Former French captain Marcel Desailly had expressed interest in the national coach position. – AFP Photo
PETALING JAYA: Former France World Cup captain Marcel Desailly is not under the radar of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) for the national coach position.
The Tengku Mahkota of Pahang, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who is the FAM deputy president cum chairman of the technical committee, did not sound excited about Desailly’s interest in assuming the hot seat, which was left vacant by former national coach Datuk K. Rajagopal in December last year.
“He (Desailly) has no experience (as a coach) and his abilities are questionable,” said Tengku Abdullah, after the launch of Beyond Dreams, a book written by former AFC secretary-general Datuk Peter Velappan at the Wisma OCM on Thursday.
The 78-year-old Velappan said the book will be sold at RM50 and all proceeds from the sale will be channelled towards the organisation of the Special Olympics Unified Football World Cup, which Malaysia will host from Nov 1-15.
Velappan, who retired four years ago took 30 months to complete the book.
On Wednesday, the 45-year-old Desailly had announced his interest to coach the national team at the nominations ceremony of the Laureus World Sports Awards at a leading hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Desailly is one of the ambassadors for the Laureus Academy.
Desailly told the media that he had made his intentions known a couple of months ago when he had applied for the head coach position. He also said that he had acquired his coaching badges and would impart his knowledge of the game and coaching philosophy – “winning mentallity”.
Tengku Abdullah said the FAM had received a long list of coaches (more than 40 local and foreign), who had applied for the national head coach job.
“We need an experienced coach and a technical adviser. But if he (Desailly) is keen, we may consider his offer,” said Tengku Abdullah.
The national coach’s job remains open after the leading shortlisted candidate, Philippe Troussier, also a Frenchman, failed to come to an agreement with FAM last month.
The position became vacant when FAM did not renew Rajagopal’s contract in December. Besides Troussier and Desailly, the other shortlisted candidates are Roma manager Zdenek Zeman and Englishman Bob Houghton.
The national team are currently being handled by caretaker coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee.
Desailly won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000. He also enjoyed a distinguished career at club level with several major European clubs – Nantes, Marseille, AC Milan and Chelsea.