FAM pick little-known German as Malaysia under-23 coach

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Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have chosen Frank Bernhardt to take charge of preparations for the 2017 SEA Games, where a gold medal target has already been placed…

Bernhardt was picked over former Philippines coach Michael Weiss and Malaysian senior caretaker coach Ong Kim Swee, who was the previous under-23 mentor.

Last month, FourFourTwo revealed Weiss and Bernhardt were among the shortlisted trio. The FAM, however, have yet to finalise the finer details of a two-year contract and seemed a little vague on Wednesday when asked about Bernhart's coaching credentials.

“We looked into his background and the input from the selection panel before agreeing Bernhardt would be installed as coach for two years from the start of next year,” said FAM deputy president Datuk Abdul Mokhtar Ahmad, who heads the taskforce and selection panel responsible for filling the coaching vacancies in Malaysia.

“We know the basic terms such as the remuneration package and duration, but we may want to insert some other clause.”

When asked whether Bernhardt’s background was what convinced the selectors, Mokhtar said: “The panel looked into it. He was a coach in Estonia. I can’t remember his full background but we did discuss it earlier in the meeting.”

Bernhardt’s first responsibility is to identify players for the 'Project 2017' squad. Mokhtar revealed a preference to have a full-time squad in the Malaysia football league structure and is hoping the competition committee can find a competitive platform in Malaysia for the youngsters.

Bernhardt previously coached the Estonian under-19 team and is credited for guiding the squad to the UEFA Under-19 Championship in 2009 and 2011. He joined the Estonian set-up in 2007 and served as under-21 coach before leaving in 2012.

FAM are also searching for a new senior coach after Dollah Salleh resigned in September following a winless nine months – including that infamous 10-0 thrashing by United Arab Emirates. Mokhtar said a selection panel was formed this week to shortlist over 70 applicants.

Among the 70 includes Ong, former Johor Darul Ta’zim and Kelantan supremo Bojan Hodak, Ex-Manchester United assistant Rene Meulensteen and Englishman Dave Jones.

Photo: FAM