The Malaysian head coach has been under immense pressure in recent times, but has distanced himself from speculations of quitting his postFor a man that essentially inspired the revival of Malaysian football, Datuk K. Rajagopal must be shocked at the speed in which tides are capable turning. The 56 year-old head coach has been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks after their failure to defend the AFF Suzuki Cup crown and there are plenty of calls for him to step down.
Nevertheless, Rajagopal is not crumbling under all this tension, claiming that he is aware of what exactly needs to be done. The next target for Malaysia is certainly the Asian Cup Qualifiers, something that Rajagopal is already setting his sights on.
"I know what needs to be done," he told Kosmo.
"After the AFF Suzuki Cup, my mission is to prepare the national squad for the upcoming Asian Cup Qualifiers and I will be doing just that."
Prior to the Suzuki Cup itself, Rajagopal was already being criticised heavily for his tactical decisions and selection policies. But the fever escalated massively after their 0-3 defeat to Singapore in the opening game.
The Malayan Tigers did bounce back to secure two victories that ensured progression into the semis, but their ultimately faltered against Thailand, putting an end to their dream of retaining the title.
Several critics have even called for Harimau Muda head coach Ong Kim Swee to be given the task of handling the national team. However, FAM are keen to retain Rajagopal, at least until his contract expires in December 2013.
"I have no comments on that," he said when enquired on FAM's intention of keeping him
"All I know is that I have a contract until December next year and my aim for now is the Asian Cup Qualifiers."