End of the road for Datuk K. Rajagopal

The Football Association of Malaysia have decided against extending the national Head Coach's contract beyond 2013
A Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) meeting chaired by Deputy President Tengku Abdullah on Wednesday decided that the national team Head Coach K. Rajagopal's contract will not be extended beyond the end of 2013.

This decision came at the back of a string of losses suffered at the hand of club sides, the most recent being losses against three Japanese clubs in the past week.

FAM and Rajagopal have also been under severe criticism from various parties these past few weeks for the way the national team have been managed.

Tengku Abdullah, when speaking to the press after the meeting, explained that the decision was taken by FAM after assessing Rajagopal's performance, and deciding that the 57-year-old has failed to fulfill the key performance indicators laid out for him at the beginning of his tenure.

However, Tengku Abdullah explained that Rajagopal will continue leading the team in their next three Asian Cup qualifying matches against Bahrain and Qatar, as these matches will take place near the end of the year.

He also added that the FAM have decided against terminating his contract immediately, as a replacement for the position may be hard to find on such a short notice.

When asked about the recent losses suffered by the national team in Japan, he expressed his disappointment at the results, adding that "there must be urgency to buck up and win future matches".

The latest turn of events in the Rajagopal saga has surely sparked more questions on suitable candidates for his replacement and whether the 57-year-old still has the drive to see Malaysia qualify to the Asian Cup finals.

But a number of fans and observers have also voiced out the opinion that although they are happy to see Rajagopal go, he is simply made the sacrificial lamb to the public and media, to ease off the pressure and criticism being levelled at FAM, whom they think should be sharing a major part of the blame.

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