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Malaysia coaching job in sights of Van Gaal's ex-teammate Alberts

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and David Mitchell, former Kedah FC head coach, discuss the candidates for Malaysia's coaching job.

He was briefly a teammate of Louis van Gaal and now Dutchman Robert Alberts is on the three-man shortlist for the Malaysian national coaching job.

Alberts, ex-Kelantan and Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) coach Bojan Hodak and interim boss Ong Kim Swee will undergo final interviews at Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) headquarters on Monday.

61-year-old Alberts believes his regional exposure -- having won trophies in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore -- could give him the edge in final selection. He has also worked at junior national level in Malaysia (U19) and South Korea (U17).

"From 1994 when Malaysia's FIFA ranking was 73rd to 171st today... something needs to be done urgently," Alberts told ESPN FC.

"I have a strong desire to bring the national team back to a respectable position by uplifting the drive for our football and developing stronger players for national level by setting new standards."

Alberts arrived in Malaysia in 1992 and coached Kedah to the league and cup double the following year. He won the 1999 S.League title with Home United and was Indonesia Super League champion with Arema FC in 2010.

Robert Alberts, fourth from right in front row, coached Home United to the 1999 S.League title.

He crossed paths with current Manchester United manager Van Gaal at Dutch giants, Ajax where they were both reserve team players before the latter left for Royal Antwerp in 1973.

"We played one game together for Ajax reserves and then we were opponents in a UEFA Cup match when he played for Antwerp and I sat on the bench for Ajax."

Alberts never made a first team appearance for the Amsterdam club but received an invaluable grounding in football as he passed through their famed youth system. Before his 30th birthday, the former midfielder turned to coaching. 

In recent years, he returned for a second stint in charge of East Malaysian side, Sarawak. He won the 2013 Premier League title with the Crocs to earn promotion to the Super League before leaving midway through the 2015 season.

If given the national job, Alberts would look to improve the standard of coaching across the league.

"The right structure needs to be put in place to build a grassroots system and have a logic pyramid system to educate many coaches who can work with all the youngsters," he said.

"I have been involved at technical level as well in various associations and at World Cup and Asian Cup level... those factors are an advantage."

Alberts is married to a Malaysian from Negeri Sembilan and has a 15-year-old son, Arjun.

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