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"I have nothing to prove": new PKNS coach K.Rajagobal

 Former Malaysia coach K. Rajagobal will return to the Malaysia Super League (MSL) in 2018 after being announced as the new PKNS coach on Wednesday, resuming his affliation with the Red Ants.

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Rajagobal, who has only managed Sarawak briefly in 2016 after his contract as Malaysia coach ended in 2013, said he was back "home" and insisted there was nothing for him to prove through his comeback.

Two years ago, Sarawak appointed Rajagobal but his tenure did not last long and he left without being able to leaving a lasting impression.

I am feeling excited about returning to PKNS … like a 21-year-old joining a new club

- K. Rajagopal

“I don’t think I have to prove anything. Sarawak and I reached a mutual agreement to move on. You can ask Sarawak FA about it,” said Rajagobal.

“I am feeling excited about returning to PKNS … like a 21-year-old joining a new club. PKNS is my birth place in football. I started my career here as a player and coach. They have been very supportive throughout my career and it’s feeling very fitting to be back at this time."

Rajagobal was Malaysia’s longest serving coach between 2009 and 2013. During this period he led the Tigers to the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup – their first and only triumph in the competition. He also won the 2009 SEA Games with Malaysia Under-22.

Rajagobal’s history with PKNS goes back to 1978 and he went on playing for the club until 1989. He hung his boots and turned to coaching almost immediately, serving the club as coach between 1990 and 1998 before Selangor came calling.

Rajagobal won the 2000 Malaysia Premier League (then first tier) with the Red Giants and had a stint with Kelantan before joining FAM in 2002, moving up the ranks from the Under-17s to the senior team over the next decade.

His return to PKNS seems like a match made in heaven. The Red Ants have built a reputation of being a development side over the decades and Rajagobal has carved a name for himself in developing players since his days as Malaysia Under-17 coach in the early 2000s.

They are thinking ahead, talking about the future and have a good set-up. That made my decision to come on board easier

- K. Rajagopal

The talents he has groomed include the likes of Safiq Rahim, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak, K. Gurusamy and Muslim Ahmad.

“This is not just the right club for development … this is the best club for development. They are thinking ahead, talking about the future and have a good set-up. That made my decision to come on board easier,” he said.

“We’ll be realistic about 2018. The team finished seventh this year and the aim is to finish higher than that. PKNS must have believe and desire to challenge teams in the MSL. I want this team to be recognised and respected by our opponents.

“I have signed a one-year contract now and will take things as it comes. PKNS will have all my passion, love and commitment.”