KUALA LUMPUR: It looks it’s going to be a great 2020 for former hockey international forward S. Selvaraju (pic).
The Perak-born player, who represented Malaysia from 2005 to 2014, left the country and played for Armicora Club in the Italian Hockey League since 2013.
This year, though, he has been appointed as the Armicora coach after he obtained his level three coaching certificate with the help of the Italian Hockey Federation in May last year.
He will start in his new Italian job in March this year, just weeks after his little bambino is born. His wife is due to give birth around Feb 22.
And while waiting for the two good things – the baby and the new job – to happen, he will also be busy coaching KL’s Hockey Academy (Hockademy) in the Malaysia Hockey League.
The 35-year-old Selvaraju said that it was a dream come true for him to become a coach.
“I always wanted to be coach after I retired from national duty six years ago and I am delighted to have achieved it in Italy, ” he said.
“I received a letter from Armicora Club saying that I would be coaching the club from March. It is a big honour to me.
“I believe I among very few former Malaysian players to have played in the European league and become a coach, ” said Selvaraju, who is the only Malaysian player to have played in eight different leagues.
Besides Malaysia, he has played in Germany, Australia, New Zealand, France, Hong Kong, Thailand and now Italy.
Known as Raju among his friends, he made his debut for the national team in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2007 and was a member of the Malaysian team that won bronze in the Asia Cup in Chennai, India, in 2007.
He played for Malaysia 99 times with his last outing being the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Strangely, Selvaraju, who has worked at Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) since 2010, has been hired to coach their rivals Hockademy in the MHL which begins on Jan 10. The league ends on Feb 29 after which Selvaraju will head to Italy.
He thanked UniKL and their hockey president Datuk Amir Azhar Ibrahim for giving him the greenlight to based in Italy and also to coach the Hockademy in the MHL while being on the university’s staff.
“Hockademy is a young team and our main objective is to gain exposure playing in the MHL. I will do my part in helping the team play as an unit to give a challenge to stronger teams in the MHL.
“We are not setting any target but I want to see my players making a progress in every match we play. The MHL is the first step for me to become a successful coach, ” said Selvaraju, who first played in the MHL in 2002 for Sapura.