Thursday, 15 March 2012

Malaysian coach Rajagobal not worried about poor form of team

National coach Datuk K. Rajagobal kept his cool when asked to comment on  FA  deputy president Tan Sri Annuar Musa's negative comments in regards to the recent yo-yo performances of his team.

Annuar, at the launch of a fan club forum in Shah Alam on Tuesday, questioned whether Malaysia were good enough to defend their Suzuki AFF Cup following a series of poor performances and also touched on the unacceptable excuses offered  from the  parties concerned.

"Tan Sri (Annuar) has his own  views and I do not want to comment on them. I've not been using some of my best players since our defeat to Singapore in the second round of the World Cup Qualifiers in July," said Rajagobal.

"I've tried about 50 players in recent international and club friendly matches. My goal is to get a bigger pool of quality players but to have that base I need to test them in matches.

"I would like to continue with my task of testing players for the next few months before I see my best available players for the AFF Cup. I will have the players in  mind for the AFF Cup, four or five months prior to the tournament.

"We will have several weeks to prepare for the AFF Cup after the Malaysia Cup final in October and I believe we will play some quality friendly matches then."

The AFF Cup, co-hosted by Malaysia and Thailand, is scheduled to be played between  Nov 24 and Dec 22.

A special ceremony was held at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya  to honour Rajagobal for his contribution to local football. He was honoured with the 'Outstanding Achievement for Sports' award, presented by the Malaysia Achievement Organisation (MAO).

MAO presented awards to several Malaysian high achievers last month but Rajagobal could not attend the ceremony due to commitments with the national team.

Critics have been harsh on Rajagobal for the recent poor form of the national team. Malaysia's last international victory was against Taiwan (2-1) in the first round of the World Cup Qualifiers and since then, have played seven 'A' matches and not won any of them.

The national team played their first international match of the season against the Philippines on Feb 29 where they needed an injury time goal from Shakir Ali to force a 1-1 draw.

Rajagobal admitted that it was tough for FAM to arrange 'A' international matches in view of the Olympics and the World Cup Qualifiers. The team, however, will play Singapore in a two-leg friendly tie in June.

"We have written to several FAs but some of them have replied that their national players were committed to either the domestic league or international competitions. We are, however, trying other avenues to get matches," Rajagobal added.

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