MHF in a lurch as Yahya turns down job as interim coach


KUALA LUMPUR: Yahya Atan has turned down the job of interim national team coach. And the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) are in trouble. 

MHF now have to look for another coach to handle the national team before the Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad from Oct 24-Nov 1. 

Yahya who, like removed coach Paul Lissek, is under the payroll of the National Sports Council (NSC), can't get over the hurt and humiliation over the way he was treated by the MHF over the last few months. 

And the fact that he will only be an interim coach with open interviews being held next month, makes it even more frustrating. 

Yahya had been assistant to Lissek since 1998 but was overlooked for the Asia Cup tournament last week. Instead, former international A. Arulselvaraj was named as Lissek's assistant for the Asia Cup. 

Yahya, who is the coach of the national Under-16 squad, said MHF should now offer the interim coach's job to Arul instead. 

“I was sidelined for two months without reason and when the national team failed, they want me to take over the team. Besides, it's not logical to offer me the job as interim coach for 15 days and then have an open interview to pick a new local coach. 

“MHF also did not discuss the matter with me before offering me the job,” he said. 

MHF secretary S. Satgunam, meanwhile, said they had offered the interim coach's job to Yahya because he was the most experienced local coach around.  

Also, he is a full-time coach with the NSC. 

“Yahya cannot blame us for not making him assistant coach for the Asia Cup. Lissek asked that Arul be made his assistant. We have to respect Lissek's decision. 

“The interim job is only for a short period of time until early November. We don't want to make Yahya a scapegoat. That is why we are not setting any target for the Afro-Asian tournament,” said Satgunam. 

Satgunam, however, added that they would meet Yahya on Tuesday to discuss the matter. 

Asked if MHF would persuade Yahya to change his mind, Satgunam said it was up to the coach. 

“If he sticks with his decision, we will have no choice but to look for another coach,'' said Satgunam.  

It does not seem likely that Yahya will change his mind.  

“I am happy coaching the Under-16 squad,'' he said.  

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