Don’t mess with this Croat

PETALING JAYA: If Croatian Bojan Hodak is given the mandate to coach the national team, he will not mix football and politics.

Hodak is one of the foreign coaches seen as the candidate for the top spot left vacant by Tan Cheng Hoe.

Hodak comes with good credentials, having steered Kuala Lumpur to the Malaysia Cup last month but winning the 2018 AFF youth championships while he was the Under-19 national coach from 2017-2019 is set to favour him.

His boys however were booted out in the group stages of the 2018 AFC Under-19 championship but instead of giving excuses, he openly declared that his players were not ready for the Under-20 World Cup.

His no-holds-barred approach ruffled some feathers but he was cool about it.

“Some people did not like my opinion, but I’m not a politician. I am always direct (in giving opinions). I’ve always worked to achieve given targets,” said the 51-year-old Hodak.

“I’ve done it my way because it always brings results, whether it’s here or outside of Malaysia.”

Hodak said issues on fixtures had to be solved too if the national team were to perform better. Last year, the fixtures were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the team missing some of the FIFA international tournaments.

“Players need competitive matches. This year, JDT will play in the AFC Champions League while Kedah and Kuala Lumpur will play in the AFC Cup.

“Playing these matches will improve our standard.

“The Super League stature is getting better, so I expect the competition to have more depth this year.

“Every coach will have a different vision and plan and it’s the same with me.”

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM)’s newly appointed technical director Scott O’Donell has indicated that a foreign coach could be appointed to lead the national team as he felt that it would benefit the team.

National Under-22 coach Brad Maloney is also in the running for the post while it is learnt that FAM, who are expected to reveal the coach next month, had been monitoring several candidates from Spain, South Korea and Japan.

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