Arul Selvaraj has been in the saddle as head coach of the Malaysian men’s team for nearly three years. Replacing the Dutch Roelant Oltmans in August 2020, he has done a pretty good job so far keeping the team as a cohesive unit.
Arul has now set his eyes on his team doing well in the Asian Games in Hangzhou (China) in September. The Asian Champions Trophy, beginning here on August 3, will be the last preparation for the Malaysian men’s team before it heads to China.
Speaking at the Chennai Airport on Saturday, Arul sounded confident of doing well in the tournament. “Our main focus is the Asian Games. We have prepared well with a couple of new tactics [for the Asian Champions Trophy]. Our objective is to finish the tournament with no injuries, as this will be our last preparation before the Asian Games.”
The team has nine players with more than 100 international caps and the average age of the squad is 27 years. “Ours is a good mix of young and old. The captain (Marhan Jalil) is 33 years of age. We have 7-8 players in their 30s and the rest are aged between 25 and 28 years. The youngsters are full of energy,” he added.
Arul said it’s nice to be back in the state where his father was born [in Kumbakonam]. “I am very proud as my father belongs to Kumbakonam. He used to come here [Chennai] often as well.”
According to the coach, since ACT is played on a tight schedule, his primary goal will be to ensure that none of his players suffer any major injuries. “Three players are already out because of injuries. We are playing seven games in 10 days. The recovery process. is tough and that’s why we have come with a strong medical team,” he said.
Arul said he was happy with his team’s friendly matches with Korea in Korea held in the last week of June. The team played four friendlies, drawing two, winning one, and losing one. “We adapted very well. I am happy with our performance.”