Sarawakian-born head coach of Western Australia football team dreams of reviving State’s glory days

Sarawakian Ein Eric is the 2023 head coach of the Western Knights Under 20s in Perth, Australia.

KUCHING, March 27: Ein Eric, a club football coach based in Perth, Australia has always dreamed of coaching football in his home state of Sarawak.

When approached by DayakDaily regarding Sarawak football, the 44-year-old Ein, who is of Bidayuh-Iban ancestry and born in Simanggang, expressed his eagerness to contribute to resurrecting the sport’s success stories from its glory days if given the opportunity.

He emphasised that his passion for Sarawak football remains unwavering, as he has always stayed connected to the game.

“I always ask family members to procure the latest Sarawak football jersey for me, regardless of where they are in the Malaysian leagues,” he revealed.

A group photo of Ein (last row, first left) during football coaching class with the rest of his peers.

“Football is the sport I am deeply associated with now. Whenever I think of Sarawak and my family, I reminisce about watching Sarawak FC matches with them during my school days in Kuching in the early ’90s,” he said.

Ein recently attained his AFC A Licence from Football Australia after coaching in Australia from 2007 to 2024, marking 17 years of dedication.

He expressed his joy at being one of the highly accredited Sarawakian coaches, potentially providing football clubs in the state with broader choices.

Ein’s coaching journey in Australia was inspired not only by his love for the game but also by watching Sarawak teams led by legends such as Awang Mahyan and Alan Vest.

His football journey commenced at St Joseph’s Kuching, where he played various positions.

Subsequently, while in Australia, he assumed a goalkeeping role for Subiaco AFC in Perth until injuries curtailed his playing days.

However, this setback failed to diminish his passion for football.

During a training trial with the Western Knights reserves, Ein’s enthusiasm caught the attention of the club’s president, who invited him to explore coaching.

He commenced his coaching odyssey with the Under 7s at Western Knights and eventually mentored every junior age group up to the Under 23s men’s team and the Western Knights Women’s team.

Ein (standing) coaching his players in Australia.

Ein’s coaching stint also took him to Melbourne, where he collaborated with Victorian National Premier League clubs such as Port Melbourne, Geelong Soccer Club, Box Hill United, and Manningham United.

In 2023, he returned to Perth as the head coach of the Western Knights Under 20s competing in the Western Australian National Premier League.

Reflecting on his coaching journey, Ein acknowledges the challenges he encountered in obtaining coaching licenses and the limited opportunities within Sarawak’s football system.

Nevertheless, he remains steadfast in his commitment to improvement and achieving his goals in the sport.

Ein acquired his coaching accreditations with Football Australia, securing his AFC C Licence in 2009, AFC B Licence in 2011, and most recently, his AFC A Licence in October 2023.

“As a Sarawakian abroad, I hope my accomplishments in football clubs in Perth and Melbourne serve as a testament to my dedication and passion for the game,” he concluded. — DayakDaily