Is Arul set to replace Roelant as hockey team head coach?

File picture shows hockey coach Arul Selvaraj answering questions during a press conference at Bukit Jalil. — Bernama pic
File picture shows hockey coach Arul Selvaraj answering questions during a press conference at Bukit Jalil. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — The appointment of Arul Selvaraj as chief assistant coach by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) seems like a clear indication that national men’s team head coach Roelant Oltmans may be ready to end his coaching stint here once his contract expires at the end of the year.

In fact, the 66-year-old Dutchman even welcomed the appointment despite knowing very well that Arul could potentially take over his job.

“It is good that someone else is coming Everyone knows my contract is expiring at the end of the year. 

“That is the situation. Arul has done well in the last two years (as coach) with UniKL (Universiti Kuala Lumpur) and has some experience (coaching) here in Malaysia. That is a good choice,” the former World Cup and Olympic-winning coach told reporters during the team’s training session at the National Hockey Stadium here today.

The MHC had announced on Monday that Arul would join the set-up under Roelant on August 15, with assistant coaches Muhammad Amin Rahim and Nasihin Nubli Ibrahim (goalkeeping) under him.

Former international Arul, who guided UniKL to a treble in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) — winning the league, Charity Shield and TNB Cup — in February, has also coached in South Africa and Ireland.

Meanwhile, Roelant, who is preparing his charges for the Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka, Bangladesh in November, was pleased to see the Speedy Tigers resuming full contact training from yesterday.

“This will help us achieve certain objectives that we want to improve on in a real-game situation. Four months of non-competitive training is quite a long time,” he said, adding that the boys are scheduled to undergo a fitness test in August.

Experienced midfielder Muhammad Marhan Mohd Jalil, meanwhile, felt that they still need to work on their basic skills after the four-month layoff due to the movement control order (MCO) to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“(There’s a) Lack of understanding, most of us look to have lost our touch. Now that full contract training is allowed, today it looked like everyone just wanted to release all that pent-up frustration of theirs. I feel that we will slowly, but surely, regain our momentum and achieve positive results,” he said. — Bernama

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