Sathianathan takes charge of Malaysia

August 30, 2007

BANGKOK, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Malaysia have appointed local trainer B. Sathianathan as national team coach ahead of qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) made the announcement after the country's 3-1 victory over defending champions Myanmar in the Merdeka Cup final on Wednesday, the FAM said on its website.

Sathianathan replaces Norizan Bakar, who was axed after heavy losses during last month's Asian Cup, where the co-hosts were humiliated 5-0 by Uzbekistan and 5-1 by China.

'I hope we talk of the future from now on and not look at the past,' FAM president Sultan Ahmed Shah was quoted as saying by the Star newspaper.

'The team and the coach have done well... see how these boys played and what we can do to improve.'

Malaysia are currently 156th in the FIFA rankings and have qualified for the Asian Cup just three times, once by virtue of being hosts.

Sathianathan is one of Malaysia's most qualified soccer trainers and has earned coaching qualifications in Germany and Brazil.

His first hurdle will be the opening round of World Cup qualifiers in October, where Malaysia have been drawn with Bahrain.