Datuk K. Rajagobal (Rajagobal Krishnasamy, Tamil: கி.ராஜகோபால்; born 10 July 1956) is a Malaysian football manager and former national player He is the former head coach for Malaysia national football team and Malaysia U-23 football team. Currently he is the head coach of Sarawak FA in Malaysia Super League.
Rajagopal has also appeared as a football pundit for Malaysian satellite television network Astro, including the first episode in August 2009 of the FourFourTwo TV Show.
Beginnings as coach
Rajagopal started his coaching career in 1990 with PKNS FC. He also had stints as club coach with Selangor FA and Kelantan FA.
He was appointed coach for the young Malaysia U-20 team from 2004 until 2006; and the Malaysian U-19 (known as Harimau Muda A) in 2007 to 2009. Under his guidance, Harimau Muda A became the Premier League champion in 2009. Since July 2009, he is the head coach for both the Harimau Muda and Malaysia senior team, taking over from B. Sathianathan. His first games was a 3-0 win against Singapore under-23 team and 5-0 win against Zimbabwe .
Rajagopal is best known for guiding Malaysia's Under-23 side to its first gold medal in 20 years at the 2009 Southeast Asian Games in Laos where the team defeated Vietnam 1–0 in the final on 17 December after earlier knocking out 8-time defending champions, Thailand, in the group stage. After the victory, Rajagopal earned the nickname "King Gopal". In July 2009, Rajagopal coached Malaysia in two games against English champions, Manchester United, lost in both matches 1-0 and 2-3 .
He also led Malaysia national football team to win the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2010, the first time Malaysia won the championship since its inception in 1996. His philosophy of changing the tactical approach from a defensive to offensive playing style has been rewarded in this victory. His young team has shown a high standard of football possession, good defensive structure and clinical finish en route to clinch the AFF Suzuki Cup although his side lost their main charismatic and influential defender (Aidil Zafuan) and many more potential young players.
His contract was not renewed at the end of 2013. Rajagopal later has been linked to head coach positions of Vietnam national football team, although it eventually does not come to fruition.
In a press conference in September 2015, it was announced that Rajagopal has been appointed as head coach of Sarawak FA, beginning December 2015.
Awards And Recognition
On 4 June 2011, K. Rajagopal was awarded the Panglima Jasa Negara (P.J.N) which carries the title Datuk in conjunction with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's birthday, 2011. He was among 67 recipients of the awards from His Majesty Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin at Balairong Seri, Istana Negara.
Honours as manager
- ASEAN Football Championship
- Winners (1): 2010
- SEA Games
- Winners/Gold medals (1): 2009 SEA Games