PETALING JAYA: The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) remained tight-lipped regarding the candidate for the new national Under-23 (U-23) squad head coach.

“Be patient, the announcement (of Elavarasan’s replacement) will be made by FAM secretary-general Datuk Noor Azman Rahman in the near future,“ FAM’s deputy president Datuk S Sivasundram told reporters after the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) and FAM here, today.

Elavarasan officially relinquished his position as head coach last Monday following a discussion with FAM president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin on the team’s direction after the 2024 U-23 Asian Cup qualifiers.

Noor Azman in a statement said that the 61-year-old coach agreed to return to focus on his original responsibilities as assistant national head coach and assist Kim Pan Gon with the senior squad, leaving the duties of guiding the U-23 team to the 2024 U-13 Asian Cup in Qatar, next April to his successor.

Elavarasan became U-23 head coach on Sept 1 last year, replacing Brad Maloney while still serving as Pan Gon’s assistant in the national senior squad after FAM chose him to facilitate the process of continuity between the senior squad and the national U-23 squad.

Under Elavarasan, the national U-23 squad won the 2023 Merlion Cup in Singapore in March, then reached the 2023 AFF U-23 Championship semifinals in Rayong, Thailand last month, and recently qualified for the 2024 Asian U-23 Cup.

On the five-year MoU between FAM and UMMC, Sivasundaram said that national players would benefit from getting the best treatment at the medical centre.

UMMC director Prof Dr Nazirah Hassan, who welcomed the MOU with the country’s football governing body, was optimistic that the strategic cooperation could open up avenues for UMMC to raise awareness in injury rehabilitation programmes as well as explore more sports-related medical research.

“To provide excellent service, we need to focus on research to ensure that UMMC is always at the forefront of the medical field,“ he said.-Bernama

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