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Kamal Swamy Makes Shock Switch

Swamy will continue living in Nadi, where he teaches at Korovuto College, and will attend some weekly training sessions - except during tournaments when he is expected to be available full-time.
26 May 2019 12:08
Kamal Swamy Makes Shock Switch
From left: Suva team director Ravneel Narayan, new coach Kamal Swamy, vice-president Sunil Karan and president Ritesh Pratap at Karan’s Kava Limited, Vatuwaqa, Suva on May 25, 2019. Photo: Sheldon Chanel

Amid murmurs of trouble within Lautoka Football Association, Kamal Swamy was yesterday unveiled as the new coach for Suva.

It’s a surprising turn of events for a coach considered one of the best in the country and who, since joining in 2016, turned Lautoka into a champion side.

The switch has come mid-way into the season and at a time when reports of instability at the association are emerging following the departure of former President Abdul Kadar.

Long-time commentator and football critic Raymond Stoddart, in his daily text message service, claimed financial constraints forced Swamy to move districts.

The coach himself hinted at the existence of “personal issues” within the district that led to his departure but did not elaborate, instead choosing to talk about what he will bring to Suva.

“It’s a big task for me but Suva has a good squad and we have set a target to hit second place in the Vodafone Premier League this season to qualify for the O-League,” he said.

“Lautoka is probably one of the best teams I’ve coached but I felt it was my time to move. I will try my best to win trophies with Suva using the same philosophy I had with Lautoka and I asked the fans to be patient.”

Swamy will continue living in Nadi, where he teaches at Korovuto College, and will attend some weekly training sessions – except during tournaments when he is expected to be available full-time.

But questions will continue to be raised about the reason behind his switch, given the abrupt manner of his departure and the fact that Lautoka seemed to have little interest in retaining him.

Swamy is one of the most qualified coaches in the country, and has achieved huge success with Lautoka.

This includes winning the Battle of Giants in 2016, the VPL, Inter-district Championship and Champion vs Champion in 2017, the 2018 VPL, IDC and Pacific Cup and an OFC Champions League final appearance last year.

He will become Suva’s fourth coaching appointment since last October, after Gurjit Singh, Intiaz Khan and predecessor Saroj Kumar- and the fans are expecting instant results.

Suva lie 5th in the 2019 VPL standings with nine points, four points behind leaders Lautoka and Ba with seven matches remaining.

Swamy’s new boss, Suva president Ritesh Pratap, wants to see the team competing for titles and the two available OFC Champions League spots.

Pratap’s patience will start to wear thin if the results do not come.

After handing in his resignation, former coach Khan accused the president of being too demanding, something Pratap has dismissed as “false.”

For now, the officials seem delighted to have a proven winner at the helm.

“We have been having problems with getting a coach for a long time and I think Swamy is the best person to fill the role full-time,” Pratap said.

Suva have the players to compete with the best in the country. Getting those players to play well as team however has been a challenge this season.

That will be Swamy’s first assignment when he takes training for the first time this week.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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