Tuesday, August 5, 2008

“Is there hope after the paradigm of change in Malaysian Hockey?”

A regular reader of the blog e-mailed his views on the current debacle in Malaysian hockey. It's contents are interesting and sets our mind into a thinking mode. He wants to know what Malaysian hockey is trying to achieve and how they plan to do it. His views embody aspects of administration, development, coaching and players. It help to tickle our "grey matter".

I must state that it is a delight receiving his e-mail and I think it is something others would also find interesting.

The text of the e-mail is as follows:

"The rot in Malaysian hockey is unavoidable, considering the fact that we have not being professional and prudent in our practices and approach towards the game.

The 102 ex-internationals have prompted all the rightful authorities to take concurrent action to save the game.

What do we hope for by embarking on a salvaging expedition now?
Will there be anything left to salvage from Malaysian hockey mismanagement?
Where is the missing links in the centre of “Malaysian hockey debacle”?

If we look at the big picture there are quite a number of areas we have to tackle before the slide can be reversed. Administrative and coaching areas are the two most critical areas that need equally attention. Besides the two areas, development programme have also come to a stand still. Development of age group, Under 16 has come to near comatose for the last 4 years. This may directly hinder Malaysia’s chances in the salvaging the game in the near future.

In terms of administration, during the late Mr S. Satgunam’s era, there are only 2 personnel in MHF administration office.. The late Mr S. Satgunam and a clerk were sufficient enough to run the whole organisation efficiently. In the current office, we see more than 2 personnel excluding the Hon. Secretary managing the office. A full time General Managers was also in existence until early this year. Even with this lavish manpower set-up behind the running of MHF, we still see MHF lagging behind. One would think that forming of Malaysian Hockey Confederation has added further load to the administration, but this is not the case as Malaysian Women’s Hockey Association is still operating on its own.

The administration of MHF will probably need to hire professionals and qualified people to run the association. Thus, the policy makers shall remain in their capacity without getting involved into the administration part of the association.

Coaching seems to be the hottest topic debated today. The coaching chairman has announced of a need to have standardise salary cap for the local coaches. Obviously the salary structure difference between the local and foreign coach is vast. But can the local coaches be paid greater amount taking into account the nature of the job and the high risk that comes with it. In glance we are fighting for a good cause. However, at the moment the performance of the team cannot support this.

When we analyze deeper, is it just the lack of professionalism and ethics in the coaching set-up or is it also contributed by the lack of competence due to shallow knowledge that is hindering the progress of the game. Players continued to be the target, fitness continue to be an issue. But looking at the way the team plays, many will question the tactical approach of our game. Hence, many will agree that the salary cap cannot be an issue for not achieving the KPI because the justification for a fat adjustment cannot be justified.

What about other local coach out there? What if the decision is to appoint a new local? How many coaches in the MHL have equipped themselves and can guide Malaysia to take on countries who take sports like a religion in the international scene? If those coaches earmarked to fill these positions have plans to implement trail and error method, we can forget about this salvaging exercise.

Players today are also not dumb. The new generation are in someway more learned that the local coaches in most perspective. When the coaches do not have the necessary knowledge they will not gain the respect to command the team. Hence the coach will resort in using fear and money to gain popularity or even worst the “laissez-faire style” coaching approach which will then put the team in jeopardy. It is likelihood that the players will not play for the coaches knowing that the coach does not acquire the necessary knowledge.

Where did we actually go wrong in this coaching disaster? Did the system fail us or those who were in the system’s driver seat failed to foresee this happening?

And finally, can the next appointed coach deliver what is highly expected out of him i.e take us back to the top 12 bracket and participate in the World Cup and Olympic games by merit. Can we turn things around when investigation into match fixing and other illegal activities by coaches and players are still pending without knowing if it would be swept under the carpet as commonly practice.

Why is the investigation taking such a long time and where does the 3 man panel fit into all this delay?

In our quest to hire a new foreign coach, interestingly with all the news being published internationally, will there be any establish foreign coach in the right frame of mind would want to take on the job knowing that he will fail no matter how competent he is when the players decides to make another stunt. There is no guarantee that either a foreign or local coach is going to turning things around, unless all of those involved are taken out.

Can this cancer of gambling be totally cleanout from the system going forward?
Is this the reality of things or is it just mere speculation as claimed by MHF?

As we continue to search and pressed to make a decision, one probably candidate, Kim, Sang-Ryul has voice his disappointment as we have been put him a spot with China Hockey Association. The initial discussion was out in the press as he was likely to take the offer.

Is this a coincident and no malice involved or his negotiation / appointment was sabotaged by putting him under pressure to decline.

The ball is in our court. The relevant authorities and policy makers have to weigh all the concerns and choose the right path.

Player’s strong point must be the bargaining power in the decision making. Malaysian culture and upbringing must also be as important. In practice we will have to pick an establish coach who is free from any commitments; however we need to study if his concept and approach may or may not suit us, “the Malaysian”. It would be good if the people in the driver’s seat understand as to why Malaysian and generally Asian hockey for that matter is on the decline in the search for a suitable candidate.

What is actually needed to guarantee Malaysian hockey paradigm of change will be successfully implemented and all the missing link is connected to clear the mess!

Terry Walsh, FIH Master Coach and our ex-Malaysian Head Coach in an interview with BBC Sports rightfully commented that:

“The skill level of Indian and Pakistan is being eroded while trying to do the other things rather than allowing them to play with their greatest asset. And I think their skill level has to be returned to their game if there is going to be success. With a little bit of catalysis in change to bring out something to provide a better mix, a much better recipe for a very strong product”.

In my opinion these would also apply to Malaysia.

His views are very relevant and this was the core principle used to mould the “Malaysian Style” that ensure Malaysian hockey propelled back into the XXV Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, after missing out for the XXIV Seoul Olympics Games.

Other useful comments included Ric Charlesworth and others.

Pls log on http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tv_and_radio/sports_internation0910.stm al/198for full interview, audio.

Malaysian hockey’s fate is in our hands! Malaysia Boleh! "

What a provoking article. Something administrators and coaches of hockey must read. The writer obviously has the best interest for Malaysian hockey. We must thank him for the time and effort he had put in to enlighten us. I wish there are many more people like him, then sports in Malaysia would tremendously benefit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's not only hockey that is in dire straits...before we start blaming associations let's look back at the first organisation that claims credit when ever Malaysia does something that make's us proud. This conmen without an inkling to what sports is about but hold 'powerful' positions as they provide funding for many a sports association in Malaysia.
With this clout, they walk arond with a swagger..as if they are the God's gift to Malaysian Sports....FYI they are powerful enough to make decisions on behalf of the cabinet committee on sports. As of today, a fair number of them have gone to Beijing as scretariat members...on the people's expense.