KUALA LUMPUR, 14 July – Former international A. Arulselvaraj is back in the fold in the national hockey coaching setup and is a prime candidate for the hot seat as the national head coach when incumbent Roelant Oltman’s job comes under review once the Dutchman’s contract expires at the end of the year.
However, it all depends on Oltman’s key performance index (KPI) at the Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka, Bangladesh in November.
On Monday, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) sprang a surprise and named Arul as the chief assistant coach. The other assistant coaches in the national men’s team are Amin Rahim and Nasihin Nubli.
Arul, who hails from Segamat, Johor, is not new to the national team. He was the head coach for the 2010 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, and also handled the National Junior team.
His last assignment with the juniors was the 2015 Junior Asia Cup in Kuantan, Pahang.
The former left-back comes with a wealth of experience and had coaching stints with the South Africa and Ireland national teams.
He also ran his own AA Hockey Academy and was the Techincal Director of the YMCA Hockey Club, both in Dublin.
Arul took the first flight out of Dublin on June 15 when the borders were opened to visit his parents.
There were only 12 passengers on the Qatar Airways flight from Dublin to Dubai. From Dubai to KL there were 60 passengers.
Arul, who was quarantined for two weeks due to the coronavirus (Covid-19), added that while he was here, he got a call from MHC president, Datuk Seri Subahan (Kamal) for chit chat over a cup of tea and he asked if I was keen to be in the national coaching set-up. The rest is history.
“I took up the offer as it is an honor to be part of the coaching set-up and help my country,” said Arul who has been given a two-year contract as the chief assistant coach.
In the same breath, Arul said, if there is one person who he would like to thank and has not forgotten is his hockey teacher, Perpinder Singh at Segamat High School.
Perpinder was a former Johor player and was well known for playing the game barefooted and was nicknamed ”kaki-ayam” for that.
“Perpinder was my school hockey coach. He was also the discipline master and he was also the one who forced me to be a school prefect. I owe him for what I am today,” said Arul who leaves for Dublin at 2.30 am on Wednesday.”
Arul will report duty at MHC on Aug 15.