Dharmaraj frontrunner for Speedy Tigers hot seat

KUALA LUMPUR: Former internationals K. Dharmaraj and Sarjit Singh are among the four candidates shortlisted for the coaching position of the national men's hockey team.

Australian Glenn Turner and South African Brendon Carolan are also on the list.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) screened through 23 applications before narrowing down the list to replace former coach A. Arul Selvaraj, who also applied.

Dharmaraj, with a proven track record, stands out as the frontrunner for the job.

The 55-year-old, currently coaching in Indonesia, led Malaysia to the Junior Asia Cup crown in 2012.

His team also secured a fourth-place finish at the Junior World Cup in New Delhi a year later.

Dharmaraj served as the national senior coach from 2014 to 2018 before taking up a technical director's role in Indonesia in 2020.

He has the flexibility to resign and return to Malaysia with one month's notice if selected by the MHC.

Indonesia, under Dharmaraj's guidance, surprised Malaysia by winning the men's indoor title at last year's Phnom Penh Sea Games.

Sarjit previously coached the national junior team in 2005 and the national senior team from January 2007 to December 2008.

Turner, on the other hand, was Arul's assistant at last year's Hangzhou Asian Cup and the recent Olympic Qualifiers in Oman.

Carolan served as Arul's assistant during the World Cup last year.

Arul, whose contract with MHC expired after last month's Olympic Qualifiers, was not shortlisted following the Speedy Tigers' failure to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

The MHC coaching committee, headed by Datuk Majid Manjit Abdullah, clarified the reason for shortlisting only four coaches.

"We have selected Sarjit and Dharmaraj for interviews as they had coached Malaysia before.

"Carolan and Turner were picked for their strong credentials as assistant coaches to Arul.

"The interviews will take place this week, with one candidate to be chosen for MHC's endorsement.

"The new coach will receive a two-year contract, extendable for another two years.

"The coach's responsibility will be to select players and build a team capable of qualifying for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

"MHC will assess his performance every two years based on the Key Performance Indicators (KPI)," said Majid.

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