Coach Dooley aiming to bring joy and fun into Pahang


PETALING JAYA: Thomas Dooley (pic) is one man who walks around with a perpetual smile on his face.

The man, who played for the US in the 1994 and 1998 football World Cups, will be hoping to bring joy and fun to the game as the new coach of Pahang.

Dooley, who coached the Philippines and was technical director with Vietnam club Viettel, said: “I want to make people happy. That’s what I always did as a player, sports director and coach. If you can make the club, the players, and the fans happy, what more do you want in life.”

“In 10 years I want the fans to say, ‘Yeah, Dooley was here and we were successful. He was a good coach. I wish he would come back’, ” said the 59-year-old American, who won the Bundesliga and German Cup titles as a player with Kaiserslautern.

“My agent in Malaysia called me and asked what do you think about Pahang. I said send me some video about the team and the club. Then I was convinced. This is a team I think I can help.

“After a couple of conversations with Datuk Suffian (Awang), I got the green light, and in just four days, I was sitting on a plane to Kuala Lumpur for my quarantine. Incredible fans, good team and great organisation. It was easy for me to say yes.”

Dooley admitted that he was linked to Selangor in 2018 but instead took up the technical director job with Viettel and led them to the league title last year.

However, the lure of being a coach was too good to resist and felt that he could bring improvements to Pahang who finished eighth in the Super League last season.

“Fitness is very important. The players in Vietnam are fitter and their skills are better developed in comparison to our players. They are technically advanced because they train players from the ages of 10 to 18 in their academy and youth teams.

“The kids train every day and therefore are better technically. But they lacked tactically because they didn’t have competitions every week. And that is very important. The Philippines had good young players but they didn’t have a strong league and their fan base is small.

“In Pahang, it is essential to bring in talented players and fit them into the first team. Former players are also important to lead the team and the youngsters should look up to them.”

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