Monday, June 30, 2008

Honestly, we need a "renaissance" in Malaysian hockey!

Is MHF desperately endeavouring to do a public relation exercise? Today's daily paper reported that MHF is advising MSSM how to undertake the age group tournaments. Why? In the first place MHF "dumped" the age groups for hockey to MSSM. MHF lacks the vision for the future of hockey in Malaysia. Where and how are they going to get the supply of future national players if MHF abdicates its responsibility in grass root development.

The problem is MHF is embroiled in too much of everything except hockey. They are clueless of what to do. The leadership in MHF do not understand that they are elected to hold the post in trust to deliver their best for the game. The best is not there and I think it will never be there with this kind of style. Now MHF is suffering from "fire fighting" syndrome. Their sole existence is to extinguish any issues from being "blown" open. The idea is to delay matters as long as possible so as one problem overtakes the other and with time people shall only remember the latest. The principle is "first in first out" i.e. FIFO.

It has come to a time when I think we cannot expect anything from MHF. The future of hockey in Malaysia is suffering from a "chronic illness" and with the current team nothing can be done. To uplift the sport there is a need to ensure a drastic change takes place in MHF. We need the right people who have sincere dedication to ensure Malaysian hockey gets back to a new era. What we need is a "Renaissance" in Malaysian hockey and there must be a good dedicated team to do it.

Lets not be quiet about it. If we do not do something let us then know that as hockey lovers we have not done nothing to save the game of hockey in Malaysia. One day when one of your children or grandchildren asks the question 'What had gone wrong with hockey during our time?', do not then carry the guilt that we did nothing to save hockey in Malaysia.

Lets contribute in our own way by discussing what should be done. So please, hockey lovers lets get the ball rolling.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

NSCA - "Recognition granted". Who leads them?

After painstakingly writing 5 parts on NSCA's issue of recognition, I almost forgot to find out what was the final decision. Apparently, about 10 days ago, MCA had formally informed the Sports Commissioner that MCA recognises the office bearers that were elected at the April 2008 BGM.

Who leads them? Sources indicate that the President is Clarence Samuel and is known to many older cricketers as the late David Samuel's son. He originates from Pahang and got into cricket at a very young age. He turned out for Pahang as a Scorer at the age of 7 and a player at 12 or 13.

I am unable to understand why Clarence used to turn out for Yang DiPertuan Besar's XI of NS, when he was still a student at Raub. Probably, having played for His Highness XI, it seem natural for him to acquire residential rights in NS by undertaking his 6th form in Seremban.

Clarence is related to the late C.Navaratnam, a renowned cricketer and a long standing Captain of NS cricket. He became a regular in State cricket not because of family relationship, rather his ability as an all rounder. A superb medium left arm swing bowler, a very useful bat and an excellent close-in fielder. As a schoolboy he made it to the National Team.

I understand he had his tertiary education in the UK and on his return he played for Terengganu and Selangor. With age, Clarence has moved on to managing cricket and has been NS most successful team manager.That probably earned him the right to be a National Team Manager for nearly 2 seasons.

It is good to know that NSCA is in the hands of a true to true cricketer. I shall be waiting to see what his leadership brings to NS.

Good Luck Mr Samuel.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Euro 2008 - A month of sleepless nites.

When Germany and Spain walk into the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna on Sunday, it shall be the finale of a 1 month of football competition where Europe's 16 best national teams had congregated to determine who would be the Champion. Down to the final 2, it is a 50:50 choice who shall be the winner.

Since we have been bombarded weekly with English Premier League (EPL), there are a number of football fans who are sad England did not qualify. The consolation is that there are sufficient players from the EPL representing their nations. So for these fans it is still about the Devils, the Gunners, the Blues and the Kops.

After Greece's performance in 2004 by being Champions, I was hoping that the football coaching wizard Guus Hiddink would use his magic and ensure that Russia would be crowned European Champions. He got his team to the semi's and the Spainsh football armada was just too much for the Russians. Nevertheless, Hiddink must still be the talk about coaches.

The sad part is on its way Russia made sure they knocked out the Dutch in the quarters. Marco Van Basten, the coach for the Dutch was a prolific player during his days. The European Player of the year for a few seasons, Marco had brought back the attacking style of football. The smooth flowing style of play reminds me of the Dutch team with Johan Cryuff. The Dutch seem always unlucky. With very very few exceptions, the Dutch somehow cannot find their true form when it matters.

The Turks usually somehow will leave some form of impression when ever they play their football. Beaten by Germany in the last minute in the semi's, that game could have gone either way. One must recognise the Turks for their spirit.

Superstar Ronaldo of Portugal had set the pace for the Portuguese and they performed well at the group stage. Of course the MU fans were looking out for signs of whether he will remain with them. It would seem the Portuguese ran out of steam when they met the "blitzkrieg" attack of the Germans.

All in all it was exciting except the "red eye" in the morning could not deceive my colleagues at work. The wonderful thing was they too were "red eyed". Another day and it shall be over. I am fond of the Spanish, their tapas and of course their wine. So, Viva Espanyol!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hockey reporting - " The need for an ethical approach"

This morning when I read the dailies, particularly the sports column, I recognised the name of the writer. He is a known writer in hockey and he was covering the Malaysian National Coach. He obviously gave him a space to voice his opinion on the prevailing problem that seems to be facing Malaysian hockey. Although at this stage it is best to refer to it as allegations, the writer too has to be careful what he reports.

I do not know whether there is a written or unwritten code of conduct for newspaper reporters. I raise this because, when one is also cited in the allegations by identified or unidentified parties, there must due care not to permit parties to read between the lines. In this case the Reporter and the Coach have been identified in some of the allegations. At this stage we must recognise that they are innocent until proven guilty. Yet, it is important that a perception must not be created that there is a hidden conspiracy to create an impression that all is well.

There is already a police investigation based on various police reports. Do not pre-judge the police findings. Therefore, to create a public perception before the finding is only inviting unnecessary comments. Many are aware of the closeness of both these personalities and such an article at this time may backfire. Police reports have been made and lets give the investigation a chance rather than pre-empt anything.

I am talking about an ethical approach and the question of "justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done".

National Cricket incident also turns to Police.

Last Sunday's cricket game between the National Team and the Expats has now gone into the Police records. I reported the incident in my article: Malaysian cricket "Prima Donnas". I said that it was not an isolated incident but rather it was brewing for sometime. Subsequently I also wrote: "Wearing many hats" - MCA's Executive Secretary. Here, I indicated the multiple conflicts that may arise when a person is holding 3 p0sts. I related the article to the last Sunday's incident.

Today, the local media has reported that the concerned Umpire had made a Police report against the Malaysian National coach, a former Sri Lankan Test cricketer. Of late hockey had grabbed the necessary headlines and now it looks like cricket is following suit. The good thing is that it has nothing to do with allegations of match fixing. Still, it is a Police report and the issue of culpability is a key matter. Now it seems sports is also keeping the Police busy.

What is sad is that the Police report could have been avoided or delayed, provided time was given for MCA to act. The problem is that everyone wants an expeditious solution however sufficient time was not given. A letter sent to MCA on Tuesday, does not mean a resolution must be found by Thursday. At least 7 to 14 days must be given to MCA to set up an a Panel to investigate.

On the other side, MCA had also created a scenario that it was an isolated incident and that unnecessarily gave the impression that nothing would be done. The Vice President was made to eat his words when the concerned Umpire circulated the letter addressed to MCA. I understand that the letter has made its way to ICC, ACC, Sri Lanka Cricket authorities and various other parties. The extent of circulation must have checkmated the Vice President of MCA. I think he is lost for words.

Cricket is known as a "gentleman's game". Like Rugby, it creates excellent comradeship and a gathering of the old cricketing stars is a delight to watch. Yet now it seems the traditions in cricket have been completely lost. It has become a "hooligan's game", at least from what had taken place last Sunday. It is all about National players, National Coach, National Manager, a National Umpire and a National Vice President. Mind you, it cannot get bigger than this in Malaysian sports!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Making Police reports: Is it the end of MHF's responsibilities?

I was quite happy that MHF made a police report on the allegations of match fixing. However, I must say I was not completely thrilled because they did not wait for the Management meeting to have it endorsed prior to proceeding with the report. Why they did not go down that route is only best known to the leadership in MHF.

I then had the opportunity to read Datuk Mazlan's column in the Malay Mail 2 days ago about hockey. As a former Director General of National Sports Council (NSC), he questioned the wisdom why an in-house investigation was not carried out before proceeding with the police report. I thought it was a normal question. So, why MHF you did not undertake such an exercise?

Of course one can sit and speculate but it would not provide a definite answer. The best I could think is that there were too many allegations which may bog down the whole of MHF. Hockey would then end up being 2nd fiddle in its own house. If so, why not let the Management committee debate it first. Maybe it is damage control. This will continue to bug me for sometime.

Interestingly, Datuk Mazlan co-related the failure of MHF to hold an in-house investigation to the aspect of development of hockey. Peculiarly, MHF had handed the age group hockey back to MSSM, which essentially leaves a vacuum in grass root development. In Datuk Mazlan's words, if you are unable to carry out an in-house investigation then it would be very difficult to undertake grass root development, which itself is a mammoth undertaking. That may be one aspect but would Malaysian hockey pay a even greater price in the future because of this vacuum? At this stage it is difficult to know where Malaysian hockey is heading. One thing is for sure: not to the Olympics.

Not only have MHF made a police report, I also understand that a few of the coaches too have been busy with their reports to the police. Allegation after allegation, and these coaches must be stressed out. It seem MHF had left them to sort out their matters with the police. This to me is not a fair approach. They are paid by NSC and employed by MHF and it is only proper that MHF held a hearing and cleared them. Maybe because the allegations were unidentified communications, it would be difficult for MHF to purse the hearing. Well, at least the police would have do the needful!

It is only a question of time before we get to the back of all these allegations once the Police concludes its investigation. Lets wait patiently.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Man with many hats" - MCA's Executive Secretary

While having lunch today I was next to a table of cricket personalities who were discussing the Executive Secretary of the MCA. I understand that the discussion came into being due to recent articles in the blog regarding cricket.

Most of them were sympathetic to the Executive Secretary as he is a newcomer to the MCA administration. Although, he may have been Malaysian cricket's National Captain previously, it is difficult to get into an environment where a number of staff and officials have already entrenched themselves. Therefore it requires time and careful handling combined with good interpersonal skills to get these people behind him. Apparently, the Executive Secretary in his haste to get things "cracking" had stepped on the toes of some of these people and life for him has become a bit intolerable. This has become stressful to him and his temperature gets built up when accused of shouting down at the staff.

Behind the back, scenes in the form of gossip creativity, back-stabbing and whisper campaigns have started to tarnish his image. Everything he does is magnified many times over to search for the slightest fault. In this way it has become so difficult for him to survive and he may not come through his probation with flying colours.

I had to finish my lunch and did not know if there was any conclusion to the topic. What i heard disturbed me. Am I also one of the many who seem to be "gunning" the Executive Secretary, without realising what is happening in MCA? I had to give careful thought to the matter and determine whether I had been fair to him.

Part of the problem rests with the fact that the MCA want their Executive Secretary to wear too many hats. A paid staff cum National Team Manager and cum National Selector. Is that not asking too much from one person who had just been there for a few months? What is shocking is that these appointments have come while he is still on probation as an Executive Secretary. Therefore for confirmation would the basis of judgement at the end of his probation be solely the Executive Secretary or in all 3 position?

Whilst that may be an issue, however there are other more fundamental matters to be considered. Furthermore the multiple positions can conflict with each other in terms of scope, thus creating an unwanted situation. An example of this is last Sunday's game where the National players and National coach refused to have the National umpires continue officiating the match. In that instance, the Executive Secretary seemed to side with the team and the coach. His rationale behind this was to ensure there is no further trouble. It may seemed to have been a perfectly sound decision, but as the Executive Secretary he should have ensured that rules of cricket and the decorum of cricket is fulfilled i.e. do not allow the Umpires to be bullied and the game brought into disrepute. The matter gets even more convoluted when including his role as National Selector. Being aware of what the various players have done, should he as a Selector permit them to be selected to represent the nation?

These are the conflicts that he has to face daily. Nobody in the right mind should put the Executive Secretary in the position of going through this torturous conflicts. It is only going to add to his stress level and make the other staff face the consequences of it. It is only fair the Executive Secretary be allowed to undertake his primary role so as he is totally fluent with it. Please do not allow him to be buried with conflicting issues that will only encourage more criticism.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Malaysian Cricket "Prima Donnas"

Last Sunday as Zakry & Fairuzizuan were busy keeping the Malaysian flag flying in Jakarta by winning the badminton doubles, the Malaysian national cricket team at a game in Kinrara staged a walk out in protest of an Umpire's decision. The manner of protest became questionable as the current National Coach, seconded by Asian Cricket Council (ACC), made his way into the field and requested the national players to walk out. Supporting that decision and also calling off the game was the National Team Manager, who is also the paid Executive Secretary of Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA).

Notwithstanding what the MCA's Vice President stated to the local media as a one off incident, in fact the trouble had been brewing for a certain period in time. A national player and an official of the Umpire's Board had a verbal clash in the field over a "run out" decision. The player, who could be referred to as a Senior player, contested the decision by his antics of throwing his cricket cap on the ground. This permitted some unnecessary verbal comments from both sides including vulgarity from the Umpire. I understand the Umpire was honest enough to admit to it.

This problem is further compounded by the presences of Sri Lankan expatriates brought by MCA for the local league. These players who come in with great expense to MCA had been intimidating the local Umpires. The 7 Sri Lankans here, were not the ones selected by MCA representatives who went out to Colombo in March 2008. The cricketers who were selected were players playing in the Sri Lankla premier league. Somehow, they dropped out before the trip to Malaysia and a certain former Sri Lankan Test cricketer replaced them with their 2nd league players. These players are to be seconded to the teams in MCA main league. It would seem that MCA had gone to great expense to bring trouble to the cricket scene in Malaysia.

Coming back to last Sunday's game, it would not be difficult to know who the National team was playing. No other than the Sri Lankan expats. The story gets even more into gossip nature, as there had been allegations that the National Coach manhandled the Umpire. This matter is being disputed. It is interesting to note that the National Coach is a former Test cricketer for Sri Lanka.

All this shows the shabby nature of the administration of cricket in MCA. What is surprising is how MCA's Vice President pushes the "dirt under the carpet" when he states that it is an isolated incident. The lack of discipline among the national players, compounded by the heavy handed approach of a ACC seconded coach shows total disrespect to Umpires, the custodians of the game in the field. The handling of the issue by the Team Manager and the MCA Vice-President shows to what extend they both go to "pooh pooh" the whole matter, as though it is a trivial issue. This is how "prima donnas" are created and they become a cricketing misfit.

Syabas to our young badminton doubles pair.

Congratulations to our young badminton doubles pair of Zakry & Fairuzizuan, who won the Indonesian Open last Sunday. This is a back to back victory following their win at the Singapore Open recently. They have kept to their consistency in performance and they deserve all the praises.

They must be aware that the Indonesians, Chinese, Koreans and Danish coaches would be scrutinising the various video tapes to see their strength and weakness. Accordingly, these coaches would be devising various strategy to ensure that their own pairs would know how to take on Zakry & Fairuzizuan. The bigger challenge has just begun.

So, this pair need to be level headed and ensure that they maintain their edge over the other pairs. I am sure with passion, determination and discipline Zakry & Fairuzizuan would be able to become World Champions and sustain their position.

Well done and keep the Malaysian flag flying.

Monday, June 23, 2008

MHF starts to act as Malay Mail continues its "breaking news"

Malaysian hockey has yet again got on the front page headlines of Malay Mail. This is the 3rd time Malay Mail has granted such a special spot for hockey and that itself must be a record. What an achievement for hockey! Read Johnson's article in 23rd June 2008. It is extremely brave of Malay Mail to even name the personality linked to the issue of betting and "selling" the games.

It is indeed very honourable for MHF to make a police report after Johnson broke the story to the MHF's President. It is also commendable of MHF Secretary to state that such allegations may not exist. It is good to know that he is prepared to defend the "turf". What happens if it is otherwise?

What is interesting is MHF made a police report prior to its management meeting on 23th June evening. Why the rush? Generally an endorsement of the management committee would have carried the full weight of the Exco. Well, probably it maybe that the urgency of the matter warranted such an expeditious approach. If so, the MHF Secretary must be careful what he lets the world know.

While the aspect of matters pertaining to the "ill gotten" monies are now a police investigation, I think it is only proper to leave them to complete their investigation. This means the issue of Malaysia's disastrous performance at the Olympic Qualifiers and Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy maybe the immediate issues at hand.

I understand both MHF and NSC have found a new "quick fix" answer and this lies with a renowned Korean coach who is coaching China for the Beijing Olympic. Discussions are underway and it is the hope of MHF that they could get him for the Senior team. There is no doubt he is/was a great coach and so was the German who for many years acted as coach and then as consultant. Is the Korean coach the answer? This ad-hoc decision making based on certain person or persons recommendations may not work out best for Malaysia. My own feeling is that he was good with the Koreans because his style, techniques, tactics and temperament suited them. He himself is a good 5 to 8 years behind in modern hockey. The dominant nations in modern hockey are Holland, Germany, Spain and Australia. Seriously, coaches from these nations would bring a better approach to Malaysian hockey.

I think both MHF and NSC must re-look and carefully decide. We are going to be 19th or 20th in World ranking after Beijing Olympic. In standards we are far behind and we should not have a chap who is more renowned for discipline and fitness. It will not work in the Malaysian context. Compare him with the Australian who took Malaysia to Barcelona Olympic. Ask those players who also had the benefit of the Korean as a consultant, when the German was Malaysia's coach.

Please do not jump in and then find out that we have gone from a" burning fire" into a "deep sea". Be careful as the future of hockey depends on what sort of decisions we make today.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Malaysian Cricket : Final Part 5 - NSCA recognition by MCA seems to revolve around a 2 votes issue for MCA elections.

In Part 4 I highlighted the aspect of seeing the big picture and getting away from the pettiness that bogs cricket today from progressing. Indeed the article should have been on the NSCA episode but i did not have the necessary information.

It has been a few days since MCA had the 2 parties attempt to resolve the stalemate on which party is to be recognised as the bona fide elected officials of NSCA. The first party held its BGM in April 2008 and to this party I have always referred to as the newly elected officials. The other party held theirs in May 2008 and I refer to them as the former President's group.

I have consistently raised the issue that the key to resolving the NSCA's dispute is how MCA handles the aspect of Presidential Prerogative and the ground rules. So long as they are not in NSCA's constitution or aspects of it not approved by the Exco and or Council, then any actions arising using that as a basis would tantamount to being unconstitutional and an abuse of power.

I understand when the meeting on 18th June commenced at MCA office in Kinrara, MCA applied some strange wisdom to propose a new BGM be held. In advocating that, the Chairman of the meeting MCA's Deputy President was endeavouring to again indulge into the ground rules. That's why I refer to it as a strange wisdom, for it was the ground rules itself which was one of the causes of the dispute. So why reignite it?

The newly elected President of NSCA did not mince words when he questioned MCA as to why they are approaching the dispute in this manner. For him it was a simple question: Was their BGM illegal? He expounded the view that the former President chaired and participated in the meeting that decided on some of the "irritant" issues. Having done that, the former President also set the date for the new BGM with the Council. As an after thought, he made a complaint of the BGM that took place which he endeavoured to cancel using the term Presidential Prerogative. Why did he want to cancel it? Because, he wanted to unilaterally introduce ground rules that were going to undermine the Council's decision which he chaired.

It would seem these were not the issues MCA was looking at. They were looking for a compromise, probably to accommodate a party. It was good to know that the newly elected officials of NSCA had done their homework. They were not rolled over and that is important, especially when they are right

I think the NSCA episode is a lesson to everyone. Do the things in a rightful manner. Follow the rules of the Association and ensure whatever is done it has the approval of your Exco or Council. Big names and influential personalities cannot undo what is legally right. If they do they are tampering with the rules and this is going to haunt them.

So, MCA is going to decide on the fate of NSCA. I understand discussions will be held with the President who is currently indisposed. A final decision shall be forthcoming soon. All in all, I still think MCA has a long way to go before they can get to their dreams of being a "Test" playing nation. The first step is a gigantic one and that is to see the "big picture".

Friday, June 20, 2008

"Hockey Fixers" per Malay Mail

Yesterday, I said that Johnson Fernandez's appearance in hockey news for the front page of Malay Mail means that he has obviously "smelled "out that something is wrong in Malaysian hockey. I honestly thought that things were moving the right way. However, after reading this morning's newspaper, I was rather shocked with what the MHF Secretary had to say of the scheduled meeting on Monday 23rd June. Strictly to do with the poor performance at the Olympic Qualifiers in Japan, was his view for the meeting agenda. My God! This is completely different from what i read in yesterday's Mail. It would seem that the MHF Secretary is unable to comprehend the very intent of the President of MHF to hold the Monday's meeting. It would seem another "spanner" is being thrown into the works.

Johnson Fernandez did not mince words with today's Malay Mail's headlines. "Hockey Fixers" and the story is told in 2oth June 2008. Game fixing has finally arrived to Malaysian hockey. Was it a long awaited period for the greedy players to enrich themselves?

The disgust churns the tummies of a number of former internationals. They cannot understand why players get involved and "sell out" matches they play. "Sell out" means they put bets in the matches they play and determine its outcome. Accordingly, they are able to enrich themselves. It is all about greed and is nothing to do with the pride of playing in National colours. I just cannot understand this as they are given good monthly allowance and other perks, which former hockey players would be envious of. Purely greed!

It would be interesting to see whether the Malay Mail will expose the growth of money lending business in hockey. Again it would seem officials, coaches, players and consultants are all involved parties. The other aspect is "kuttu" or what some refer to as "chit fund". Indeed to some this is a saving scheme, which gives a lump sum payout when the investor is due for his monies. Are all these distractions necessary at the hockey field? More so, as the lines of responsibility, roles and functions become so intermixed, everybody becomes a business partner or associate, how can one than expect anything else to be done?

National Sports Council (NSC) has come under tremendous pressure. Honestly, they could have done a lot. NSC was like "Santa Claus", handing out their funds without MHF giving them details, timeline, budget and targets. Everything is ad-hoc e.g. now the Senior team proposes to go to Hanover in Germany for a tournament during Puasa month or a China tour. Justification - " ta ada". If the hue and cries had not started someone would have just signed a cheque and a few in NSC would have also hopped on the trip too. It is the same people in NSC that have been involved in hockey and they do not seem to bring any fresh breath or ideas. For them it is another day of work whether Malaysia wins or loses.

So, when the Director General of NSC pointed fingers at the Deputy President of MHF as one of the parties to be blamed for the current scenario, I thought he was a very brave man. He would be more brave if he could also reshuffle his own setup and ensure his officials could also justify and account for the funds with the results of National Sports Associations(NSA) like MHF.

We must congratulate Mail Mail for having the guts to speak out with the necessary evidence. Without a doubt an experience hand like Johnson knows where to "tickle" to get the breaking news. Excellent work Johnson.

Speed recovery Mr President.

In my obsession to write yesterday's article i failed to recognise that the MCA President was hospitalised for a surgical procedure. It was improper of me to remain silent of the matter. I think it is only proper that i extend my prayers and good wishes for his speedy recovery and to return to a quality life so as he can continue his endeavours.

Mr President, my best wishes and hope this "enforced" rest would provide you the much needed energy, once you are on your feet.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Malaysian Cricket: Part 4 - NSCA recognition by MCA seems to revolve around a 2 votes issue for MCA elections.

I concluded Part 3, by stating that MCA is calling both the parties to resolve the matter on 18th June. Other than what was reported in the media today, my sources have yet to revert to me on what took place at the hearing. As per the media, it would seem that the MCA President was not there and that would leave the balance of the Exco and Executive Secretary to be part of the decision makers. Lets see what sort of decision they may have come up with.

While waiting to hear the pertinent news, I checked out a some information that came to my hand. As much as the OCM Vice President got involved because of the OCM President (who is also MCA President), it must also be stated that both sides have had their connections to him. It is just that one side may have found him not quite to their satisfaction that they did not keep abreast with him. It is the former President's regular contact with the OCM official and one of his Adviser's family acquaintance may have sustained the relationship.

Question: Is that wrong? I do not think so, provided it did not make matters worse. From the intercepted documents the former President seems to give the impression he wholly relied on the OCM official. It is a pity that we are unable to have his side of the story, other than the aspect when he was confronted on the issue.

Obviously, the delays and the "wild goose chase" that MCA created also complicated the matter. All this could have been avoided at the time, had the e-mail been promptly opened and acted upon or the Executive Secretary who made the 2 journeys for the BGMs had made proper reports. It is the bureaucratic nature of operations in MCA and that everything has some form of political connotation which literally gets things to move at "snail" pace.

If this is the style MCA is going to operate in, then forget the idea of becoming a "Test" playing nation. We will always be worried of the small things that we lose sight of the big picture. This is the problem of pettiness. Looking at what is going on in MCA, we seem always to be revolving around such triviality, simply because we encourage these sort of activities. We do not stem them off from the onset so it grows into an "octopus" like problem.

In all this, cricket suffers. Around 15 to 20 years ago we were comparable to Bangladesh. Today they are a "Test" playing nation while we are still struggling to beat even Singapore. Why? Because we waste time and resources on pettiness and do not improve whilst others move on.

Please wait for Part 5 to determine if MCA sees the "big" picture or still bogged down on triviality.

MHF : "Well done to Malay Mail and also to MHF President's action".

Last night I went into "Cintahoki"s 4th letter which i was unable to publish as it did not fulfill the criteria I laid for the comments. My intent was to extract the main issues and publish them today. It would seem another lover of hockey beat me to it. It is no other than the the renowned sports writer Johnson Fernandez. Johnson is with the newly revamped Malay Mail in a different but higher profile capacity.

I understand the recent events in Malaysian hockey have taken such a twist and with Johnson's intimate knowledge of the game, the Malaysian players and the officials, it would give him a better insight into what is happening. Without doubt "Cintahoki"s 4 letters serial provided significant contribution too.

Johnson's ability to smell a "rat" provides him the in-depth investigator skill to capture the appropriate information to bring the issues to the forefront. The fact that he met the President of MHF and the Secretary yesterday, following which MHF seemed to be changing gears to move itself forward suggests something is happening or going to happen. Johnson's knack of presenting matters would have left the MHF President without much of a choice except to do the rightful thing, that is, to call for a full investigation.

The full story is in 19th.June 2008.

Malay Mail must be congratulated for allowing it be the front page headlines, signifying the importance of the matter. The MHF President must also be praised for being prepared to investigate. It is the 1st step in the journey of thousand or more steps. Yet it has started.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Malaysian Cricket : Part 3 - NSCA recognition by MCA seems to revolve around a 2 votes issue for MCA election.

Part 2 of the article drew attention to aspects of Presidential Prerogative, ground rules (which were not enshrined in NSCA Constitution nor approved by its Exco or Council) and the probability of MCA having undertaken some form of "disinformation" exercise, which sent the newly elected NSCA office bearers on a "wild goose chase", in which the "goose" did not exist.

All this chasing that the newly elected office bearers had to undertake was based on their own time and resources. They are volunteers wanting to do good for cricket and yet MCA as its parent body seems to have some absurd notion of justice. The matter is simple and only complicated unnecessarily by OCM President and one of the Vice President's of OCM. Hold it! the OCM President is also the President of MCA. So why the need for a Vice President of OCM to be involved? Unless the President is of the opinion that the other MCA office bearers are not capable of handling such matters or there is too much politics in MCA that a fair hearing may not be possible. Whatever it may be the parties on both sides of the NSCA equation are paying the price due to the manner in which this matter is being handled.

The time wasting maneuvers that MCA had been undertaking gave the former President of NSCA sufficient time to continue seeking advice and meeting with this OCM official. As to why this OCM official was getting deeply involved begs a number of questions. I hope it is in the best interest of sports!

With this time, the former President, using his Presidential Prerogative and unilaterally devised ground rules, called for another BGM in May 2004. Hereon the story gets more interesting. In accordance to ground rules only 4 people were qualified to participate in the BGM. They were the President, 2 of the Vice Presidents and the Secretary. No others including the affiliates were permitted.

From the onset, the BGM seemed to be heading to a disaster. The NSCA Constitution requires a quorum of 7 for General Meetings and 5 for Exco meetings. So, the unilaterally devised ground rules had created an absurdity, as there were only 4 so called "qualified" people and as such the BGM is flawed i.e. without a quorum, even before a meeting could be called.

The ingenious nature of mankind is such that once the tampering of the Constitution takes place, then the there is no limitation on how to interpret the document. Such was the case here as the former President took the position that the BGM lacked the quorum on the day of the meeting. He then interpreted the Constitution in such a manner that the postponed BGM can then proceed without a quorum at its next meeting. As such the postponed BGM was held and the former President was re-elected as President, with 2 Vice Presidents (same personalities as before) and a new Secretary.

Question: Was that the time MCA was creating for the former President to hold a BGM and get re-elected? Again, why? Maybe it is the 2 votes issue that could make a difference as to who controls MCA. Therefore, at the end of May 2008, if a "stock take"was to be taken then there were 2 set of office bearers for NSCA.

Intercepted documents of communication between the former President of NSCA and the OCM official reflect that every thing, including the minutes of the BGM, were done in accordance to the advice per the OCM official. Honestly, this is a very damaging set of documents and I have sighted them. Indeed I understand the OCM official was confronted and he denies his involvement to such an extent. He also stated that if the former President of NSCA chooses to mention his name on matters like these he cannot do anything. Strange and yet it must be stated that he was not aware that the former President of NSCA and the current President of MCA are cousins.

The saga continues but there has been so much of colour on the scene that it would easily dazzle anyone as to what exactly is happening. It would be interesting to see how MCA conduct themselves when they meet the 2 parties on Wednesday 18th June. MCA is on watch i.e.
on what basis they are going to handle the matter, how long they are going to take to come to a decision and finally would justice be properly administered?

Part 4 will further reveal matters that would set everyones' mind boggling on exactly what is going on with the NSCA issue. Wait for it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Malaysian Cricket : Part 2 - NSCA recognition by MCA seems to revolve around a 2 votes issue for MCA elections.

On Saturday 14th June, I posted Part 1 of the NSCA matters with regard to recognition by MCA. Part 2 is a continuation, which essentially begins with the background to the undercurrents prior to the BGM that was held in April 2008.

Despite the President of NSCA's cancellation of the intended BGM, the Secretary insisted the meeting shall proceed as decided by the Council. On the day of the meeting, the President and 2 of the Vice Presidents did not turn up. The Treasurer had formally resigned after the Council meeting and "delegated" his duties to one of the Vice Presidents, who was the Chairman of the Finance Committee.

The BGM delayed the commencement of the meeting despite having the necessary quorum. This was to provide an opportunity for the key officials to arrive. The meeting commenced without them and one of the Vice Presidents chaired the meeting. One of the matters discussed was the issue of the "Presidential Prerogative" to cancel a Council approved BGM, which the President himself chaired and participated in. The other issue that drew attention was the matter of the "ground rules".

The matters relating to "Presidential Prerogative" and "ground rules" were aspects that were not enshrined in NSCA's constitution nor something that was approved by the Exco or Council. Yet these 2 matters may hold the key to solving the NSCA crisis, provided fair minded personalities are involved!

Sources have indicated that the meeting proceeded well and again the Executive Secretary of MCA was present and he could provide useful evidence for both the days.

An interesting story that had developed by then and it relates to 2 of the newly elected Vice Presidents and the new Secretary of NSCA. Apparently, they are involved with a certain Organisation which is an associate member of MCA, yet powerful and strong enough to undertake massive development programmes in cricket. It is known in the cricketing circles about the "bad blood" that had flowed over issues relating to the Under 19 World Cup, funding for Development programmes and selection of players. This "shadow fighting", undertaken by certain parties seems to show its ugly face in NSCA.

NSCA would have 2 votes in MCA and the fear who controls NSCA maybe the issue. This probably explains what were taking place after NSCA's BGM. The new Secretary of NSCA filed the necessary paper work with MCA and Sports Commissioner's office. However, in the background, the former President of NSCA had made a formal complaint to MCA and also informed the OCM official of what was happening. MCA suddenly found the urgency to have a hearing on this matter. At this stage it is difficult to state whether the communications were
handled through the e-mail or otherwise. The last time, MCA's excuse was the e-mail was not opened for a few weeks.

At the MCA's hearing the Deputy President of MCA took the Chair and in attendance were a Vice President (Development), the Secretary and the Executive Secretary. Both sides were given the opportunity to state their case.What was glaringly absent was the reports (if any) from the Executive Secretary, who was present on both occasions at the BGMs. No decision was forthcoming after the meeting.

The weekend after the hearing, MCA had its Council meeting. The new President of NSCA and the Secretary made their presences felt at the meeting. The Chairman of the meeting was the Deputy President, who was sitting in for the President. He indicated to NSCA that they cannot participate in the meeting as their matter is yet to be resolved. The Deputy President did indicate that the legal advice he had obtained, was for NSCA to refer the matter to the State MSN and State Sports Commissioner's office. Further he did indicate since NSCA's Constitution is not similar to MCA's it would be difficult for MCA to resolve it. Now this becomes a joke!

Much later these NSCA official realised that they were sent on a "wild goose chase" in which the "goose" does not exists. State MSN only assists State Sports Associations with funding and recognition is that of the parent body. Further there is no such office as State Sports Commissioner. So, why all these "stories" from MCA? Is there an agenda that is being created by MCA that NSCA is not aware?

The issues become more complicated as MCA Secretary indicates that it must be handled by OCM. On checking, OCM was adamant that this is a parent body matter and they must first resolve it. Then following a visit to Sports Commissioner's office, MCA Secretary states that NSCA must take it up with the Commissioner. This again put NSCA on a "wild goose chase". Guess what? Another wrong information, as the Sports Commissioner wanted MCA first to resolve under the Sports Act.

Why all the delays? To a stage it seems like "disinformation" had become the order of the day. Surprisingly, all these were coming from MCA. Read Part 3 and the answer may be there.

Badminton Stars - "Consistency"

On Thursday 12th June, i questioned the consistent performance of our World ranked badminton stars. They proved me wrong on Sunday 15th June as our lads won the men's singles and doubles titles at the Singapore Open.
Lee Chong Wei, ranked as World No 2, took the singles title. Mohd Zakry & Mohd Fairuzzizuan were the doubles champions.

Well done lads and keep on winning more titles.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Malaysian cricket : Part 1 - NSCA recognition by MCA seems to revolve around a 2 votes issue for MCA elections.

This morning at 4.22 am someone posted a comment on my previous article on Malaysian cricket. I refused to publish it as I thought it was very much attacking certain cricket officials on a personal level. The comment seem to display a high degree of anger and frustration which prompted me to enquire as to what were the issues related to NSCA vis viz MCA.

The Negri Sembilan Cricket Association (NSCA) was to have their BGM in March 2008. Prior to the BGM, NSCA had their Council Meeting and applications from 3 intended affiliates were considered. The story here is that the 3 were rejected as it was prior to a BGM and further, only selected members of the Exco undertook this exercise. The matter becomes more confusing, despite the rejection that someone in the Exco (not the Treasurer) issued receipts for monies received with the applications.

Therefore when the BGM took place in March 2008, the President, who is a member of the Negri Royal family and is the cousin of the President of MCA, wanted to undertake a housekeeping exercise related to:
  1. Certain Exco members would not be allowed to participate in the BGM as they were absent from 3 Exco/Council meetings. This is notwithstanding the fact that their absence may have been with apology.
  2. The 3 applications for affiliation should be considered approved and be entitled to participate at the BGM.
  3. Some of the existing affiliates who did not pay the annual subscription should not be allowed to participate at the BGM.
After some debate, the BGM agreed to postpone the BGM and wanted the Council to meet immediately and resolve the 3 issues and thereafter call for another BGM. The Council met with the President chairing and deliberated on the 3 issues. They took a vote on the 3 matters and the decision is as follows:
  1. Those who were absent with apology could participate and vote at the BGM.
  2. The 3 new applications for affiliation were to be considered by the new Exco and shall not participate at the postponed BGM.
  3. All affiliates who paid their subscription on or before the BGM would be entitled to participate and vote.
The Council also fixed for the postponed BGM to be held on a certain date in early April 2008.

What is interesting is that the Executive Secretary of MCA was present at the BGM in March 2008 which agreed to be postponed so as the Council could discuss the housekeeping issues. Again what was strange is MCA was informed in March 2008, prior to the BGM on some of the issues facing NSCA. According to sources, MCA claimed they did not know of it and were unable to act because the Secretary had not opened his e-mails for weeks.

In the meantime, the Secretary of NSCA had sent the notice for the postponed meeting. The President of NSCA had been in communication with a Vice President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM). Sources also indicate that the Secretary was also communicating with him too. How and why an OCM official became involved is a bit sketchy. Some say it was the President of MCA who requested his involvement. This OCM official gave an opinion, with sources indicating that it was given to the President of NSCA and Secretary of NSCA had a copy through other means.

The President of NSCA came up with ground rules for the postponed BGM based on what he refers to as advice from the OCM official. He had requested the Secretary of NSCA to communicate these ground rules, which included matters that were contrary to the Council's decision which the BGM had requested the Council to undertake. The President also did indicate that if these ground rules were not adopted then he would use his Presidential Prerogative to call off the meeting. It is believed that the Secretary had indicated that notices for the postponed BGM had been sent and that the ground rules were unilaterally decided by him and not consistent with the latest Council decision. The Secretary held to the view that the BGM would proceed as decided by the Council

Contd- Part 2 shall be on the NSCA BGM held in April 2008.

Friday, June 13, 2008

MHF - Mr.President, Why are these things happening in Malaysian hockey?

Just a moment ago i received the dreaded news that our National Juniors lost their 2nd game to Poland 2-1. Yesterday, our boys lost their 1st game to minnows Austria 4-3. They have 1 more game with France, who incidentally have defeated Poland. So, is there much hope for the 3rd game?

The 1st defeat in this Junior Challenge Open was attributed to the boys tiredness because of SUKMA and the long flight to Poland. That sounds like a good enough reason but it does reflect poor planning by MHF if they did not anticipate such issues. I wonder what could be the reason for the 2nd defeat? Maybe it is the extended jet lag that is troubling the players performance. Anyway, lets see what they would do against France.

At least for the Juniors the media seems to be providing us with the news. In the case of the National Under 16s, the team left quietly for Germany and returned quietly too. There seems to be a news blackout. I do not know if this was intentional or because it was not news worthy. The fact is the Under 16 team lost all their matches.

An interesting gossip has developed from the Under 16 tour to Germany. As part of a rotation system developed by certain officials that is meticulously put into practice, a certain state official should have been the manager of the tour. However, his busy schedule could not permit him to be on the tour and so he nominated his relative. Someone approved it and he became the Manager. "Presto"! What is so difficult, if you have the appropriate "contacts" to make the decision? This gossip must be checked out!

Now to the more serious stuff. The future of Malaysian hockey based on the Germany and Poland trips seem to be in total doldrums. What is really happening to our hockey? I am still of the view that we do not have the right people doing the jobs. People want position and the power that comes with it however when it comes to the job, they are a total failure.

Lately, there is all sort of talk from bringing in foreign coaches, to reshuffling the local coaches. Talk and talk, and it would seem hockey would also die with the talk. That is the state we are in and Mr. President you have to do something. You should have started this sometime ago but the feeling is your position and power is usurped by others. It is because of all this Malaysian hockey is suffering and may end up a terminal case.

Mr. President, please do all that is deemed necessary to save Malaysian hockey.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Badminton Stars - Nicol has benchmarked consistency in her performance, so when are we seeing it with you all?

Yesterday, i took the opportunity to narrate a few lines on our World ranked No 1 Squash Queen - Nicol David. The key to her success seem to be consistency in performance. I put it down to her mental attitude and the passion to remain on the top. The question being, if she can do it, then why can't our other stars, also in the World rankings, who seem to find it difficult to achieve or maintain it? Here i am really addressing the badminton players.

Squash similar to badminton, has the same players in the international circuit and it is inevitable that the top stars meet one another quite often. Nicol, like the Chinese badminton stars, seems to have consistency in her performances. However, our regular badminton stars on one day become World Champions and on the next day they cannot even become semi-finalist in another tournament. Sometimes they are heavily criticised and referred as "jaguh kampung".

In an earlier article, I referred to Guus Hiddink and the wonders he did with Korea and Australia in relation to football. He had attributed it to the players who had the passion to win as the key contributing factor. In simple terms the "hunger" to succeed and sustain it.

Are our badminton players lacking it? Surely, being amongst the top itself would mean that they have all the necessities in them to succeed. Then why the inconsistencies? They lack the mental strength to maintain the level of remaining on the top. Could that be the answer? I am no expert, but the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) must address this.

There is certainly something we can learn from Nicol and lets look into this and see what can be done so that our badminton players are consistent enough to become World Champions and sustain it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Malaysia's Squash Queen - Nicol Ann David

On 7th June 2008, the World No 1 in women's squash Nicol David was honoured by His Majesty The King of Malaysia in conjunction with His Majesty's Birthday.The award of Darjah Bakti was bestowed on here. This an unique award for Malaysians who are famous in their field and in Nicol's case, she achieved her World's No 1 ranking in January 2006 and currently she is still No 1.

Indeed Malaysia's Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, a fellow Penangite quipped that Nicol is now more famous than him. A commendation of the highest order for this young lady, born on 26th August 1983 in Penang.

Daughter to Desmond David, an engineer and Ann Marie, a retired teacher, she has 2 other sisters who are also excellent squash players. Nicol seems to be an all round person as she has also done well in her SPM with 7 As. It is this sort of combination that gives her the character of consistent performance to maintain the World ranking.

In Penang, Nicol's father is a known sportsman in football and hockey. More so is her Uncle, Derrick David who was the youngest hockey player to appear for Malaya in the 50s. Therefore there is some sporting pedigree in Nicol's family tree, but without doubt Nicol has just taken off to World status. Mind you, she is ranked No 1 and the first Asian to do so.

To list all the titles she has won would be time consuming. One thing you can be sure is that it is numerous prior to turning professional in 2000. Since then she has walked away with 28 Women International Squash Professional Association (WISPA) titles. Her statistics as at April 2008 shows a 35% tournament win and is WISPA titlist leader.

Nicknamed the " Duracell Bunny ", her court craft is excellent as she covers the court in lightning speed and is a aggressive attacking player. She is the only Malaysian to win a World title for the 2nd consecutive time. Even interesting is that she is the 4th person in history to retain the world championship. To supplement to this record, she held a 13 month, 51 match winning streak ending in April 2007.

The question is why Nicol is able to give such a consistent performance at the world stage. This sort of performance is not seen in our other world rated stars. It is probably her mental attitude and the passion to remain in the World No 1 ranking. Something the other Malaysian athlete must learn from her.

Congratulations Nicol on being bestowed the award by His Majesty and thank you for flying Malaysia's flag.

( Source of most of the information is from Wikipedia )

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Malaysian Cricket - Mr. President you need to do something.

The current President of the Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) brought much needed excitement to Malaysian sports when he was President of the Malaysian Squash Association, the founder of Sports Excel and then when he took over the leadership of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM). Even in cricket, the players were given greater international exposure.

Strangely, with time the fresh breath seem to have loss its freshness. His preoccupation seems to be more related to international activities connected to International Olympic Council (IOC), International Cricket Council (ICC) and Asian Cricket Council (ACC). Things started to stagnate and groups have come into being either to support or oppose him. Is it because he has been in sports for too long, or is it that people have taken him for granted and decided to do what they want?

There seem to be too many issues brewing in cricket and I think I want to highlight it to him so as he can do the proper thing. These are matters that is talked about and may not have come to his attention. He must be given an opportunity to address it if they are bona fide issues. Some are matters that have happened in the past that may need comments just to let people be aware how it was handled.

Some of the issues are:
  • The failure of MCA to ensure that existing cricket fields throughout the country are carefully maintained and are playable grounds. With the exception of the Klang Valley, there is lack of good grounds in other places.
  • It would seem when the Kinrara Cricket ground was constructed, MCA did not have much of an input. They seem to have left it to other parties and the main building is awkwardly located for those who want to enjoy cricket. It is an unfriendly building for older people as the steps to and from the seats are at a steep gradiant.
  • Within the Exco there seem to be camps and a number of issues are discussed outside and decided upon before the formal meetings.
  • The current predicament caused by ACC's interference in the organisation of an ACC tournament gives the impression that the President of MCA has many ways of ensuring how he gets his buddies involved.
  • The appointment of a full-time Executive Secretary and being unable to take minutes questions the selection basis. To further appoint him as a National Selector and also as National Team Manager begs the issue whether there are no other persons among affiliates or others who could do the job. The Executive Secretary usually manages the office administration unless in MCA it is different.
  • It is known that family members of Exco have also acquired some powers to manage the office.
  • Not only in Exco are there camps but even full-time staffs are also taking sides particularly as management is undertaken by shouting and cursing
  • Coaches are recruited and terminated at short notice because of players power or as the various Committees have their own candidates.
  • Programmes and Staff like Development Officers were recruited and terminated as the programmes are shelved because of the lack of proper thought process before implementation.
  • The N. S. Cricket is in doldrums as MCA officials have been passing the bug of settling the issue of the Association to the State, OCM and the Sports Commissioner's office. The matter is compounded with the President requesting an OCM Vice President's involvement which has confused the matter. Strangely, MCA remain oblivious to the matter.
  • The results of the Senior National team and the Under 19 seem to show that Malaysian cricket is still lagging far behind.
  • Even those who undertake development at larger scale than MCA have to face the politics of MCA who seem to want to undermine their funding from the authorities.
  • Power centres have grown in the North, Kinta Valley, Klang Valley and South to seek position in MCA.

The list can continue but this is just an appetiser, as I felt the President should be aware what is being talked about. I have done my little bit and essentially the President has to address it and ensure that the energy of MCA is put in the game and not in politicking and maneuvering.

This article is not meant to upset anyone, rather, in the hope cricket as whole would come out better. Lets all work together in the name of cricket and for the benefit of cricket in Malaysia.

Monday, June 9, 2008

MHF - Are they in silent mode or in hibernation?

Failure to qualify for the Olympics and the disastrous performance at the recent Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy seem to have put MHF in silent mode. Do they find it difficult to give an explanation or have they gone into hibernation? Neither is a good sign as Malaysian hockey becomes the ultimate loser.

The legacies in hockey built over the years by Tun Razak and Sultan Azlan Shah seem to have been destroyed over the last 2 years. Why? There was so much of promise when they came to power, yet the enthusiasm seem to have faded away. It would seem a few people have acquired extra power and are calling the shots to suit their own personal agenda. It is said only their friends are selected on a rotation basis as team manager, coach or any other positions including even as players on a national touring team. It is not about capabilities or abilities in the respective fields but rather friendship based their "ala carte" menu, which i am told could easily change at whims and fancies.

Seriously, this seem to be a blatant accusation and I intentionally incorporated this into the article. It is my hope that those who read this would draw MHF's attention to it, so as they can
have the opportunity to put their side of the story.

The President of MHF was formerly the Chief of Defence Force and such a person would not let such things to happen. I am sure he is not aware of what is happening. These matters are never brought to his knowledge or may even be kept away from him. Sadly, as he is the President, unnecessarily he becomes a victim of the actions of selected group of people.

There is a lot of moaning and groaning and what makes it seem justifiable is the current state of hockey in Malaysia. To build legacies is not an easy process as it is hard work and time proportional. To destroy them is easy and an overnight exercise, in which the glory of national hockey also takes a battering.

MHF has to switch on and feel the pulse rate of the hockey fraternity. It is time to get out of silent mode or the hibernation process and address the issues. I am sure in this way, the rights and wrongs can be determined and we can make a fresh start to rebuild Malaysian hockey - building another legacy that puts the nation back into the international arena. Come MHF, after all this is the sort of job you set out to undertake when you were elected. It is the trust that was given to you, so honour it. Is that difficult?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tun Ahmad Sarji - A role model to Administrators, including those in Sports.

Today His Majesty Yang Di Pertuan Agong XIII, on His Majesty's Birthday bestowed the Seri Setia Mahkota Malaysia ( SSM ) on Tan Sri Ahmad Sarji, which carries the title of Tun.

Tun Ahmad Sarji, 70 years of age, was the former Ketua Setiausaha Negara (KSN) and is currently the Chairman of Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB). He sits on a number of corporate boards and NGOs, including President of Badan Warisan Malaysia - The National Heritage Society.

A fan of the late P.Ramlee, he is probably the only one who has the full collection of his movies and songs. This would have given him the impetus to write a book titled "P.Ramlee Erti Yang Sakti". He has also published other books, including "Hang Tuah - Tokoh Epik Nasional" and "Lawn Bowls in Malaysia : The President's Memoir".

Tun's activities are highly diversified including religion and education. Tun is the Chairman of Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM) - Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and also Joint Director of the Malaysian Commomwealth Studies Centre at Cambridge University.

That is not all, for even in sports Tun has a major imprint. He is the President of 3 Golf clubs, Impian in Kajang, Saujana at Subang and KLGCC in Bukit Kiara. It seems the concept of time is stretchable in Tun's activities as he is President of Asian Lawn Bowls Federation and also continues to be President of Malaysian Lawn Bowls Federation. This elasticity is even extended into cricket as he is the Deputy President of Malay Cricket Association of Malaysia.

The question is, how is Tun able to do all these? A great Administrator, who manages time effectively and efficiently. A meticulous person, who empowers himself with knowledge before he proceeds to undertake a task. He does not have time for pettiness as he always sees the "big picture", guided by his religious beliefs which itself embodies the principles of equity and governance.

Tun is a great advocate of the belief that when people are entrusted to position, particularly in sports they must have the passion to undertake it and also understand the concept of trusteeship, that is, one is trusted to perform. Therefore it is imperative that they do not disappoint the sport, players, colleagues and the public.

Driven by such commitment, both in lawn bowls and cricket, Tun has been the key personality
in ensuring grass root development is properly undertaken. Tun's eyes twinkle as he narrates the success story in lawn bowls. Yes ! Malaysia has World Champions both at individual and team event. In cricket a lot of effort is being put in at age group level and god willing it is matter of time before the fruits of success should appear. Going to Bayuemas itself would show how an old oil palm estate has transformed into a sporting arena consisting of the Indoor Lawn Bowls Stadium and the Cricket Oval.

In all this Tun always remembers his father, the late Abdul Hamid Aroop who was solely responsible for him developing his passion in sports. Abdul Hamid was an all rounder in sports, working his way from player to coach to Secretary, of the various sporting associations. His main games were hockey, cricket and football.

As Tun would pay tribute to his late father, today we all must congratulate Tun Ahmad Sarji, for being honoured by His Majesty. With his vast contribution to the nation and his remarkable devotion to sports, Tun has surely become a role model for all of us in how to undertake our assignments.

Congratulations again Tun and our prayers for your good health and the need for your continuous service.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Could the likes of Hiddinks and Rehhagels transform Malaysian sports?

Euro 2008 shall begin on Saturday, 7th June, and the finals being slotted on 29th June. Austria and Switzerland have been jointly given the honour of hosting the tournament. There is no doubt that all the high valued and exorbitant paid European players shall be there barring those from England, the nation that failed to qualify. This shall also be the place not only to discover new talents but also to put values on them.

My interest goes beyond players. It is about a special breed of people who turn ordinary teams into overnight superstars. In 2002 World Cup we had Korea, Euro 2004 it was Greece and 2006 World Cup it was Australia. It is about a Dutchman and a German, who gave the Koreans, Greeks and Australians, the insight of how to compete at the World stage among the best and still walk away with their heads high up. Korea was a beaten semi-finalist, Greece for the first time became European Champions while Australia were beaten by Italy on a controversial goal in the quarter-finals.

Korea and Australia had Guus Hiddink while Greece had Otto Rehhagel. For Euro 2008, Hiddink is with Russia and Rehhagel is still with Greece. What do these 2 people have that is able to transform teams into creating glorious performances? Is it the art of motivation - to get the best in players or using the appropriate tactics or just the way they handle the players - picking the right players to do the job. Of course ! that must be the magic.

No ! it is not as simple as that. Both these Coaches will tell you that there is another side to the equation. The players themselves. After all, they are the ones out in the field and they are going to determine the result, not the Coaches. They believe that players come with talents or they can acquire it, similar with fitness but what is fundamental is the passion of wanting success. It is harnessing this passion is critical in a team event without having to destroy their individuality - the "killer instinct" in the game. Unless these ingredients are there, whatever "seasoning" the Coach adds it would not turn into World class.

Rather than rumbling on , my intention really is to turn the scene to Malaysian context.Would the the likes of Hiddinks and Rehhagels be able to achieve such results with Malaysian football, hockey, rugby or cricket? Think carefully ! Do not forget we had Claude Roy, who seem to have failed in Malaysia and yet see what he did with Cameroon.

The key question is whether Malaysia has a sufficient base of players with skill, fitness and the passion to succeed at World stage. It can be done and should be done starting with our Development programme. Then the likes of Hiddinks and Rehhagels would not hesitate to come to Malaysia because they believe that the right materials exist to turn them into CHAMPIONS.

Therefore, would the Sports Administrators in Malaysia themselves have the passion to undertake this?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

MHF - Do they have the right people doing the job?

Reports by the Chairman of the Coaching Committee and the National Coach indicated that the failure of the Malaysian team at the Olympic Qualifiers in Japan was because of the failure of the "forwards" who missed scoring opportunities and the "defences" in permitting leakages in goals. In short, that was one of the main reasons of Malaysia's failure to qualify. The recommendation is to have 2 foreign coaches for these departments under the current National Coach.

Interestingly, at the Council meeting to discuss this, the 2 main persons - the Deputy President and the National Coach - were absent. Surprisingly, the recommendation was accepted and it seems the failure to qualify and its consequences were not of any significant importance to MHF. It would seem the implication of not qualifying for a World Cup and 2 Olympics is not properly understood by MHF. When FIH comes with its next list of country rankings, Malaysia would probably be in the 20th position. The worst ever position in Malaysian hockey history.

Seriously, what is happening to Malaysian hockey? One thing i know is, having had the privilege to read the National Coach report on the Qualifiers, it shows a lack of depth in analysing the overall performance and the game by game analysis. I really wonder if the current Coaches and even the Coaching Committee have the capability and ability to read, analyse and prepare the team for what I refer to as modern hockey.

Hockey has changed and is still changing. In any international game you require 14 fully fit players, (other than the 2 goalkeepers), doing the job of 10 players by going in and out of the 70 minute game, utilising the full extent of the hockey pitch. Speed with explosive runs plus players being able to play at any position combined with near perfect skills and the requirement of split second real time decision making is what modern hockey demands.To do that, the process requires intricate planning, which itself begs a scientific approach so as careful measurements are obtained to provide the necessary statistics on a players performance and ultimately the team's. This is not an overnight exercise, rather as mentioned a process that starts with input at the development stage.

This is what the people in MHF are not fully comprehending and are making ad hoc decisions that is going to kill the interest in hockey and ultimately the game. If common sense is to prevail, then the right people must be there to do the job. MHF is not a place for power seekers, rather for people who have the commitment to work for the betterment of the sport locally and internationally. Malaysia had been in the forefront of international hockey for decades and to see what is happening now, is a reflection that malignancy has set in and it is only a matter of time before Malaysian hockey may see its demise in the international arena and gradually locally.

Enough letters are flying around and that is how bad the situation has become. Even if we refuse to believe major part of the letters but if 10% of it is the truth, then it reconfirms the presences of malignancy in MHF. Therefore can MHF be saved?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Football's episode in CYC seems to be showing its face in Malaysian cricket

Asian Cricket Council (ACC), similar to Asian Football Confederation (AFC), is the parent body in Asia for cricketing nations. Like AFC, ACC also has its head office in Kuala Lumpur. Therefore, do they share the same modus operandi in dealing with affiliates?

Recently ACC had requested Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA), to organise an ACC cricket tournament in Malaysia. MCA gladly obliged and named their Organising Committee. All seem well except MCA overlooked naming 3 personalities, who in the past had served ACC in other tournaments. 2 of them were former exco members of MCA and the other is still a senior serving official. In the past these personalities were the favoured friends and the President of MCA never failed to recommend them. Sometimes they are referred to as the "President's buddies"

Omitting these 3 personalities did not go down well with ACC. In the current MCA set-up, there have been outcries why these people were always the chosen ones. Therefore the long standing President of MCA permitted his exco to make their recommendation. ACC refused to budge and still insisted on the 3 personalities to be Organising Chairman, Tournament Technical Director and Competition Chairman.

When the situation became tense, ACC offered a compromise that the Organising Chairman shall be jointly held, while the other 2 posts shall be ACC nominees. The matter remains unresolved. MCA, as organisers, are being dictated on what to do. Why?

I always thought the broad parameters of what is to be done is given to the Organisers and the rest is left to them. Unless the Organisers use incompetent personalities then the right of intervention by the parent body seems appropriate. In this case, due to the fact that certain of the current MCA exco officials are involved, ACC seem to be unnecessarily interfering with its affiliates function.

Strangely, the MCA President seems to be taking a "care free" attitude and has not been pressing for MCA's rights on this matter. More so as he is in the hierarchy of ACC. After all, ACC and the President's offices are in the same premises and a short walk could easily resolve this uncalled for action from ACC.

Give everyone the opportunity of undertaking the task as they have the right to do so.
Interference is only going to jeopardise the game and create tension. Is it good for the game?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

FAM - "Better late than never"

FAM must be congratulated for their current position on the CYC football tournament. RM17m per edition is a substantial sum and it is strange how FAM was seemly left out of the consultation process. Can it really happen, considering 2 Ministries and the Cabinet Committee on Sports were involved.
Possibly when the event took place in 2007, certain personalities in FAM may not have brought it to the main Council for notification and for its decision. The presences of these personalities at various CYC functions may have given the impression of FAM's endorsement. This is probably why the President of FAM refuses to indulge into any discussion relating to the 2007 tournament. "Bygones are bygones", why reignite the 2007 matter as these people are not in FAM anymore. A sensible decision by the FAM President and the priority of ensuring FAM's current position is clearly stated is vital to the future of football in the country. What is important is that FAM recognises it and wants to move on the right track. Syabas FAM.
The only niggling issue that i find difficult to comprehend is AFC's role in the CYC tournament and how they were prepared to stay back and watch FAM being left in the lurch.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Politics and Sports

In an ideal world,politics and sports should be kept far apart.In reality this is not the case and more often they tend to intermix.Most times a balance is found and at certain times politics become the dominant force.
Question then, should Mokhzani Mahathir's political resignation have an impact on his position as Chairman of SIC ?
SIC is owned by MAB,whose preincipal shareholder is Khazanah Nasional Bhd,which is chaired by the Prime Minister.This is where the equation works against Mokhzani.If there is consistency in decision making then Mokhzani must do the same with SIC.It is a difficult call but that is the reality and one has to take cognizance of it.
The danger becomes more apparent as sports takes on a corporate approach.The intermixing becomes greater and the problems may get compounded.Would we get to a stage where players and officials refuse to participate or do not get selected because they come from opposing political groups.Sports as a basis for Unity, may lose its meaning.
Therefore.should there be an exception in the case of Mokhzani because SIC is involved in sports ?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Malaysian Hockey - " A need to investigate "

There had been a number of anonymous letters, followed by gossips and discussions at various levels on the current Malaysian hockey scenario.
Professionally,it is not proper to give credential to anonymous letters. In this instance,the "juiceness" of the contents seem to give an impression that things do not look right and bright in Malaysian hockey. Generally,people seem to accept rumours or allegations in anonymous letters more readily these days, unless and until the contrary is proven.
Therefore if no parties in the Management of Malaysian hockey respond, a negative stigma shall be implanted. This shall have damaging consequences to Malaysian hockey. Looking at the allegations with our recent dismal performance at the Olympic Qualifiers and Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy, there is certainally a case for proper investigation, independently by MHF and NSC. The piece meal approach of "fire fighting" is not going to help in resolving the Malaysian hockey predicament.
Parties have been sitting tight and playing a waiting game. Maybe, there is this wishful thinking that with time people may forget the issues. Even if that may be so, one should not forget that in the process, Malaysian hockey may also see its ultimate demise in the international stage.
Is that the price Malaysian Hockey has to pay? It is time MHF and NSC get their act together and do the first thing, that is ,to appoint independent teams to investigate what had gone wrong in Malaysian Hockey.

By : "Gandhi"