PIC: Arul Selvaraj to replace Dharmaraj (right) who had taken over from Paul Revingtion (left).
THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) held an emergency meeting yesterday, and decided to sideline coach K. Dharmaraj from the Asian Games which will be held in Incheon, South Korea from Sept 19 to Oct 4.
In his shoes, MHC has placed Arul Selvaraj as interim coach, while Tai Beng Hai will be the manager cum assistant coach.
A gold medal at the Asian Games is a direct entry into the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and the MHC have set Arul a target of playing in the final.
“After reading the World Cup review committee report, as well as watching the Commonwealth Games performance, I called for a special council meeting and it was decided that we replace Dharmaraj with Arul as interim coach, while Tai Beng Hai will be the manager as well as assistant coach (until an assistant coach is named),” said MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
Malaysia, under coach Dharmaraj, ended as the Dirty Dozen out of 12 teams in the World Cup without a single win or draw to show.
While at the Commonwealth Games, the team hit another low when they were beaten 4-2 by Trinidad and Tobago, who scored their first win at the Games since hockey was introduced in 1998 at the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.
“This decision was taken based on result, as well as the team’s performance. But I would like to thank Dharmaraj, as he was pushed into this position when (Paul) Revington resigned.
“Dharmaraj took up the challenge, but we did not do well in both the tournaments. The World Cup review committee report has stated many factors which led to Malaysia performing badly at the Hague, and without going into details, the step to replace the coach is among the remedies to move forward,” said Tengku Abdullah.
While Tengku Abdullah said the report will not be made public as it contains many issues penned down by players in anonymous questionnaires, it was reliably learnt that player-power was among the reasons why Malaysia did badly at the World Cup as well as the Commonwealth Games.
“I will have a chat with the players after this, and warn them to buck up. They must have the drive to play for the country, and in these days leading to the Asian Games if they do not show unity and commitment, Malaysia will pull out of the Asian Games, and I am serious about this,” warned Tengku Abdullah.
“Lets all forget about any animosity or problems, and work together for the sake of the country. And we will decide what to do with Dharmaraj at a later date, as right now, planning for the Asian Games is of utmost importance.
“He (Dharmaraj) has received a show-cause letter (for his outburst in FaceBook, and he has replied. We will consider at a later date if it warrants a Disciplinary Board referral,” said Tengku Abdullah.
Dharmaraj had hit out at MHC officials on FB, just before heading to Scotland, by saying that they live on trees or caves and that’s why they do not understand why Malaysia ended last at the World Cup.