Kuala Lumpur, Jan 01 (Agencies): Malaysia's national football coach, K. Rajagopal, under whom the country won the AFF Suzuki Cup, should be honoured with Datukship, the traditional knighthood, the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) has urged.

Under Rajagopal, the country won the recent SEA Games in Laos and on Wednesday clinched the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time by beating Indonesia, MIC president G. Palanivel told Tamil Nesan, the Tamil language daily.

Palanivel said Malaysian football has been on the rise since Rajagopal took charge of the national under-23 side.

"Football in the country had been in the doldrums for so long and we have been waiting many years for ASEAN glory," Palanivel said.

"The coach has beaten all the odds. He was focused and had belief in himself and his team."

Such dedication must be rewarded, said Palanivel, who heads the coutry's largest Indian-based party that speaks for the 2.1 million community.