Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"The Medusa touch in Malaysian Hockey"

Yet another e-mail on Malaysian hockey which i received today. The contents seem to give a good depth of MHF and how they use to operate. It would seem that their past modus operandi may not come to good use in the future. It would seem the "Medusa's stare" has cast Malaysian hockey into a stone and craved in it is our past glories. Hockey seem to be history unless something is urgently done.

Below is the text of the e-mail:

"Medusa in Greek mythology, originally a beautiful young woman whose crowning glory was her magnificent long hair, was desired and courted by many suitors. Yet before she could be betrothed to a husband, Poseidon (Neptune) found her worshipping in the temple of Athena (Minerva) and ravished her. Athena was outraged at her sacred temple being violated, and punished Medusa by turning her beautiful tresses into snakes and giving her the destructive power to turn anyone who looked directly at her into stone.

In the case of Malaysian hockey, the path is forth becoming a modern day myths, where the destruction is unavoidable with the current system malfunction! Every aspect of Malaysian hockey seems to be going astray, out of the norm in sports.

The Junior World Cup host job could be our last in the next few years. With the 2009 Asia Cup being awarded to UAE, Dubai Sports City by AHF; and FIH announced their full backing to India in hosting 2010 Delhi World Cup. And also future FIH’s commitments to award India with the hosting job for the 2011 and 2012 Men’s Champions Trophy will see the end of Malaysian’s way of qualifying automatically for major FIH tournaments, by virtue of being host.

MHF extra-ordinary vision as told by the coaching chairman in seeing the national head coach who is tasked to qualify for the 2010 Delhi World Cup and 2012 London Olympics without the need to go through a qualifier when he was appointed in 2007 will surely not materialise.

Further down the road, in reality we still do not have the ability to host an Olympic Games and bear in mind that the 2016 Summer Olympic which is already in the final stage of bidding. Cities like Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo have already been short listed and pending announcement by IOC in 2009. Guangzhou, China will host the 2010 and Incheon, Korea will host the 2014 Asian Games respectively means that our strong believe that by hosting these major qualifying tournaments automatically generate team’s super performance without the need for proper preparation is now squashed.

Are we seeing the end of our quest to qualify by virtue of playing host?

Looking back at past decision, national players are barred from taking part in overseas league, except for the “special ones”. With the recent announcement that 2 players already left to play in German league, we will sure to see more players take the same pursuit and hope that positive results will be achieved out of this. The intention and decision of granting the national players the opportunity to play in overseas league is an excellent one, after such a long mishap. It has been proven that the need for players around the world to undertake this kind of cultural and hockey exchange to improve their hockey endeavours.

Hopefully in Malaysia’s case, this decision is purely in the interest of the game and the country, and not an excuse to break camp, not to train when the number of players are reduced.

Then again, our preparation must start now as winning the Gold medal at the 2009 Dubai Asia Cup will give us the automatic berth into the 2010 World Cup. The mentality of paying millions in ringgit and cents to qualify for major tournament needs overhauling. The future of Malaysian hockey, without being awarded the host job for the 2010 World Cup, will now critically depend on a clever blue print which needs immediate execution to see us there.

Otherwise, we will be sure to see the increased momentum and larger scale rot in the sport, which eventually shall confirm the demise of Malaysian hockey!"

So much talk and writings on Malaysian hockey, yet MHF remains silent. They have put Malaysian hockey where it is today. Have they all turned to "stone" that they cannot comment?
If so, please do the rightful act. Step down and let the people who can save hockey do the job.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rumours of signature petition in Malaysian Hockey.

I received an e-mail and contents of it is displayed below. Note that it is stated as a rumour and needs verification. As such where there were identities in the e-mail, i have deleted them.

I hope someone could assists in providing information whether such an exercise took place and if so what is the content of the petition.

Text of the e-mail:

"Are you aware that a petition with 1,000 signatures has been handed to the DPM on friday to protest against MHF's role in the state of hockey today. Rumours are that many of the ex-players signed the petition.

The petition was initiated by National (name deleted) Association (N(initials deleted)A).

This rumours, you need to verify this with your source before posting further articles in your blog.

N(initials deleted)A Officials.

President - (name deleted) at 013-( no deleted)
Sec - ( name deleted) at 012-(no deleted )
Treasurer -(name deleted ) at 012-(no deleted ) ."

Lets see what is the feedback.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Contradictions from National Junior Coach

Someone who has a keen knowledge of Malaysian hockey had e-mailed this interesting comment and obviously wants us to understand the prevailing contradictions that comes from the National Junior Coach.

"Can the jury arrive at a verdict after scrutinizing the facts?

Fact 1.

Competitions Committee Chairman, Manjit Majid Abdullah right up to the Council Members are blamed for the Junior poor performance, during the recent Junior Asia Cup.

Muralee wants to call the shots.: 16th July 2008 – Local Paper

Does he know the reasons of the failure and can the coaches be given a freehand to call the shots?

Excerpts from the local papers:

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) calls the shots when it comes to the release of Junior World Cup-bound players for local tournaments and coach V. Muraleedharan (pic) wants to change this.
Muraleedharan, who has lost patience after a series of failures, wants his players to be barred from all local tournaments in preparation for the world meet, which Malaysia will be co-hosting with Singapore on July 7-21 next year in order to ensure a respectful showing. He attributed the poor performance in all tournaments for lack of training time to rectify the team's weaknesses."I wanted to work with them between March and June for the Tour of Europe and the Junior Asia Cup, but training was halted for two months because of local events (MJHL and Malaysia Games)," he said.

Fact 2

Who made the decisions to release the players?

Sat, 5th Jan 2008 - Local paper

The 32 national juniors’ trainees were barred from playing in the National Under-21 tournament, which ends today.

However, national juniors coach V. Muralidharan wants his charges to be released to play in the MJHL, which will begin on Feb 4.

“The Junior World Cup is only next year. There’s no point for them to continue training.

“It will be better for them to play in the MJHL as it will give them match exposure,” he said.
“Anyway, all the states will field teams in the league in preparation for the Terengganu Sukma (Malaysia Games) in June.

“And the states will definitely want their national juniors to play for them in the MJHL.”
He also said that he would propose to the competitions committee that this year’s MHJL be made an Under-20 tournament instead of Under-19.

“By raising the age limit, there will be a bigger pool of players to select from for the Junior World Cup. And those who are 20-years-old will be eligible to feature in the Junior World Cup next year,” said Muralidharan, who was appointed as the national juniors coach last month.

Tuesday 22nd Jan 2008 – Local Paper

There is a proposal to release the national juniors to the teams on the condition that they will be back in training under coach V. Muralidharan from Monday to Wednesday each week.

Muralidharan said yesterday that it was all right for the national juniors to take part in the MJHL.

“We can start our full-time training later after Sukma (Malaysia Games) in June. But we have asked for the teams to ensure that the players will be back with us for three days in a week,” he said.

“We need to work on certain aspects of their game and we cannot grant a blanket release. We understand that the MJHL teams also need their services.

“We hope this will be a win-win situation for both parties. We have talked to several coaches of the teams and they are agreeable to this option.”

Tuesday, 22nd Jan 2008 – Local Paper

There are 32 players in the national junior training squad and Muralidharan said that they would monitor their performances in the MJHL and also look at new talent.

He added that besides Sukma, the players would also be release to play for their states in the national schools (MSSM) meet in March.
The Malaysian Hockey Federarion (MHF) secretary, Hashim Mohamed Yusof, said that their council would make a final decision on the proposals made by the national junior team management on Saturday.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel, bro...? "

It would be good if MHF can comment on this matter i.e the contradictions.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Circus is in town" - Malaysian Cricket Inquiry.

When we think of a "circus", the first thing that comes to our mind is entertainment under a big tent undertaken by acrobats, clowns and performing animals. In the case of Malaysian cricket, the big tent is MCA, the entertainment is provided by MCA Exco, the 3 man Inquiry Panel and the personalities involved in the May & June 2008 incident. Well, it is not a real time show but the events that had taken place provide a good choreography for a circus show!

In MCA books there is no such words, or meaning, to the terms ethics and conflict of interest. They cannot have it because they thrive on the principle of "Machiavellianism" i.e the end justifies the means. In the case of the May 2008 incident they had 40% of the Exco to sit in a Committee to determine the fate of the 2 involved personalities. They had the full Exco to endorse it and as a result the 2 concerned parties were only reprimanded. Again, the complainant did not turn up for the hearing. Why did they have to do it in a hurry? Well! Well! Well! They needed the national player to play a game against a visiting team a day after the Exco had made the decision.

The "clowning" became even more apparent as the MCA Exco decided to reprimand the national umpire. My understanding based on ICC guidelines is that the matter is under the jurisdiction of the Umpires Board. Mind you, MCA Exco in this instance had become "judge, jury and executioner". What a confused lot.

Now on the 3 man Panel. They are distinguished members, but obviously more interested in doing the job rather than appreciating the manner in which it is undertaken. Again it seems to give a distinct taste of "Machiavellianism". This 3 man Panel commenced their hearing without any official endorsement from MCA, simply based on verbal communication from an Exco member whose own family member is a party to the incident. Furthermore, all the members of the Panel are closely connected to the Exco member and his family. So what were they endeavouring to achieve?

Good question, except that their first hearing had to be prematurely terminated. This gave the MCA Exco to rectify their "silly" actions and formally appoint them. Still it does not excuse the Panel for their initial action and the issue of "closeness". Compounding the issue is that on the day of the official hearing both the Secretary and the Executive Secretary were seen to be present at the OCM building where the hearing was taking place. Again it seems they were not bothered or they are so big in Malaysian cricket that nothing can stop them from doing whatever they want. Sheer arrogance of the highest order.

So, what do you think the decision is going to be? Now that ACC tournament has commenced this matter will probably be put on the back burner. With time everything would be swept under the carpet. Therefore the end justifies the means, while we all have been entertained and carry the memories of this cricketing circus.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The realities of Malaysian Hockey.

Who pays the allowance and salaries of the Malaysian hockey players? Who pays for the coaches? Who pays for the General Manager or Executive Secretary? Who pays for the overseas tours? Now, would you be surprised to know that it is from the coffers of National Sports Council (NSC)? Mind you, even for development of hockey under the 8 core sports i.e "Sukan Teras", it comes from the Government.

So, you can see everything comes one way or another from the Government. It would seem that the only thing MHF does is to administer and organise matters. They organise tournaments and the various related seminars, its technical officials, enter into discussion on appointment of Coaches, train and select the players for the various national teams and other aspects related to hockey. This cannot be over taxing.

In short, the Government through its agencies provides the financial resources and MHF manages the operational aspect of hockey. In the past this relationship has worked in a "symbiotic" manner i.e mutual benefit of both parties. However, lately the relationship seems to have lost its direction. MHF has become "parasitic" and therefore killing the very body of the game of hockey. It is undermining the years of good cosy relationship MHF had with NSC, which was sustained because of the performance at various levels of national teams. Furthermore, the goodwill that prevailed between MHF and NSC permitted a 2 way process of interaction that allowed MHF to recover from its non performing periods.

Now, all these arrangements are history. MHF takes NSC as a "cash cow" and the concept of accountability for the monies spent is not co-related to the level of performance. Also, there are personalities in MHF who work their way through the structures with all the excuses and somehow manage to obtain the finances. Part of this problem arises because certain people in NSC still want to give a chance to Malaysian hockey. This is fine but do not get carried away by allowing good money to chase "rounds of defeats" based on poor performance due to lack of proper planned training with a strategy outlook.

In the corporate world, the leadership in MHF would not have survived. The same basis too must be adopted by NSC and the other relevant Government agencies. Please stop the ROT in Malaysian hockey.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stories on Malaysian Cricket

I received this e-mail from someone who has now settled outside Malaysia and he has provided some insights of some "happenings" with regard to some cricket pitches. His story follows:

"I have been following your blog site and find that you are giving much focus on hockey and cricket in Malaysia of which I have played to a certain level while back in Johor. Although I have settled down elsewhere, my heart still yearn for the progress of both sports in Malaysia but alas from what I have been reading in your site, it seems to be the other way round.
Anyway I hope you could kindly check out what is happening to the cricket oval at the Temenggong Ibrahim Teachers Training Institute (MPTI) at Johor Bahru after so much money has been pumped in building the pitch for the recently concluded ICC U19 (Junior World Cup). Check out the MCA's website report

It's fast becoming another wasted project as no cricket is played there with the latest under 17 carnival being held elsewhere in JB. I was informed by (deleted) who was involved in the tournament. Also apparently the nets there have been dug up and converted into a golf driving range.

Please highlight this malice as I do not wish to see history repeats itself as in what happened to the PKNS ground in Kelana Jaya. After so much money and effort invested in staging the final between South Africa and Australia during the 1998 Commonwealth Games, which incidently was the last cricket match ever played on that ground before the owners decided to convert it into a 'billiard table top' football pitch, thanks to cricket, just like the saying "Lembu punya susu, sapi punya nama".

Lets hope commonsense will prevail and the authorities and interested parties whose faces featured prominently in the MCA website's article wil fulfill their pledges. It will be such a waste as not only the sport will suffer with another world class facility down the drain but imagine how many physical education teachers could have at least learn the sport and spread it to the children in schools."

This is something MCA may want to look and safeguard the interest of cricket.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A letter on the insights of Malaysian hockey.

Below is a text of an e-mail i received which i want to share with hockey lovers.

"I totally agree with you as to where Malaysian hockey is heading.

With the microscope zooming on them, 2 groups from MHF have made police report after the allegation made front page in the MM.

However this is what they want us to believe or rather bluff to scare off the bloggers to but time.

Over a coffee, someone told me that the police report has been withdrawn by the coaches. ... just for your information. You would probably know by now.

If we take a closer look as to why both the Junior and Senior teams are performing badly, we see similarity in both the coaches..

Both teams have been day in day out training the same method/things:

1. Contact game..

2. Goal shooting..

3. Over head passing..

4. Back four transfer..

5. PC attack (flick only)

No tactical drills or small group aspect in terms of tactics or structure wise.

These are basically what they are doing for the last few months. With these training, I don't see them improving from here.

The coaches are not committed and responsible enough to do the extra.

With FIH giving full support to India to host the 2010 World Cup they do not have an excuse but to qualify next.

The National league is also partly to be blamed. With the clubs playing a major role in the players’ way of lifestyle, we need to revisit the rules to break the monopoly of certain teams. What is the use when the number 20 - 24 are also national players? Rules were changed to please this club. What is being practiced by one major club is the main cause of all the gambling, alcohol abuse and womanising. Salary in paid in advance in 3 - 6 months. Players get restless with instant cash without having the need to sweat it out in the field first. The head coach is also a big player in all this and share the same interest with the players. I do not think i need to go any further ...

His favours can stretch further that you think, for the interest of the club owner, for example the national players are given off a day before and after the Satgunam sixes recently..

We should abolish the national league as it does not benefit the national team and it is doing more harm than good.

Mr Gandhi, as the situation is very alarming why can't the Sports Commissioner step-in an intervene? One blogger provided the the facts from the Sports Act 576 No 20, is the current affairs in MHF not breaching the Act?

What does it need for these people who are is in the driver seat to take action?

Just to share and hope that one day we can sit down face to face and have a cup of Ipoh Old Town Coffee."

Good to know if anyone can provide any further enlightenment to the matters outlined above.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Congrats to the young lady Datuk Nicol David and veteran Datuk Ng Boon Bee.

The Yang Di Pertua of Penang on TYT's Birthday honoured Penang born and bred Women's World Squash No 1 Nicol David by bestowing the title of "Datukship" on her. Now she shall be known as Datuk Nicol David.. What an honour and she fully deserves it. Congratulations to her and the hope is that she continues her success in Women's World Squash series.

I hope that the both the Federal and State Governments also recognise her parents with some fitting award for the sacrifices they have done to ensure that Datuk Nicol David is where she is. This would help to portray the role that parents play in ensuring that their children flourish in sports. This is a much needed exercise if we want children to participate and take an active in sports.

Datuk Ng Boon Bee is a rare sportsman, for he is a triple international. He was a National player for football, rugby and of course badminton. Originating from Perak this person should have been honoured at his peak. Somehow it was not done, yet His Majesty Yang DiPertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan on HM's 86th birthday bestowed the "Datukship" title on one of Malaysia's greatest badminton sons. Congratulations to Datuk Ng Boon Bee and our prayers for his good health and happiness.

It is wonderful to see the young and the veteran honoured for their services to sports and to the country. I hope that there would be many more such sports persons in the future.

Malaysian Cricket Inquiry - Now it is a circus!

On last Thursday 17th July, MCA made some interesting decisions with regards to the May and June incidents with regard to a national player, national captain, national coach and, common to both, a national umpire.

For the May incident the national player and the national umpire were reprimanded and details will follow in a letter. To those who are not aware of what takes place in MCA on such matters, on the surface they seem fair. If one lifts the veil, then the aspect of the complaint manager not being at the hearing, calls into question the wisdom of the decision. No doubt the manager had provided a written complaint but his absence is no excuse for the reprimand of both.

Today being a hockey carnival at RSC, a number of stories have emerged and they are quite juicy. MCA had not much of a choice but to arrive at such a decision. On Friday the National Team played Hong Kong and this national player who had been banned had to play the match. This player, a former national captain, is the "heartbeat" of the national team. His absence itself is a sure sign of defeat for the National Team. There is no way MCA was going to permit it.

As far as this player is concerned, he has had enough of reprimands both in writing and verbally. MCA past and present do not have the guts to make a brave decision even when it is a clear cut case. Further, as a staff of MCA, there is this aspect of being "within the family" concept. I do not blame the player but rather the administrators of cricket who do not have the "stomach" to instill the sense of discipline. This is where other players too tend to take advantage. Ultimately, the "prima donnas" club in cricket appears, which itself reflects what national cricket is about.

As for the June incident of the national captain, national coach and the same national umpire, MCA formally approved the 3-man Panel. Strange! They had commenced their hearing on Monday 13th July. How come? As a spectator it is exciting watching MCA perform the circus act. Apparently, someone in MCA Exco had requested this 3-man Panel to commence without giving them a letter of appointment and the terms of the inquiry. The reason all these were possible is because of familiarity and "closeness". The 3-man Panel believed what was told to them and dived ahead. Seriously this itself is a proof that these 3 personalities have to disqualify themselves. Even if they do a proper job, which I firmly believe they would, having indulged into an inquiry without proper procedures, calls into question their overall approach.

The matter takes a greater dimension as one of the persons involved in the incident is connected to a key member of the Exco. Apparently this Exco member may have given the instructions to commence the hearing despite no formal approval of MCA. If that is the case then it is proper the whole Inquiry be reconstituted.

MCA, everyone is watching. Do not sweep issues under the carpet to momentarily solve the problem. On the long run MCA is only going to create a bigger problem. Such mockery must not be permitted and it is important proper wisdom must prevail in MCA.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

National Hockey Juniors Debacle

National Juniors Coach's reasons for Malaysia's poor performance at Hyderabad are:
* Lack of fitness of players,
* Interference in the team by others,
* Not much time to work with the team, as he only took over a few months ago,
* Lack of good forwards, and,
* The squad consists of the best players available.
The only recommendation I can give the Junior Coach and MHF is to look for "androids" i.e human robots created in a factory. What sort of excuses ! A good joke !

If these reasons were all there when he took over as a coach, why then did he continue? He should have sounded the warning bells early and if nobody was listening , he should have got out. It is probably not his style to do that. Fair, then he has to face the consequences.

The excuses given clearly show that MHF is "directionless". All the excuses given sound very perennial. The same problem at all levels i.e Seniors, Juniors and Under-16. It principally displays that nothing concrete materialises at MHF and their various Committees. It would seem that Malaysian hockey is in a "death row" waiting for its day to come. That's the feeling I have and many others seem to share this morbidness.

To date the hierarchy in MHF is silent. Only the Coach and the Chairman of the Coaching Committee have spoken. Mind you they too are clueless. As for the President or Deputy President, I think they prefer the maxim "silence is golden". This may be right for themselves but their leadership has pained many people's hearts. These are people who are shocked at the state of hockey today.

If the Juniors are the future of hockey then the MHF leadership have absolutely failed in their duties. They should know what is the right thing to do.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Malaysian Cricket Inquiry - " Is it becoming a circus ".

Before i get into the article proper i must relate a story. This morning when i opened the blog e-mail, i received a mail which indicated that he has identified me and named me. In response i requested him to continue guessing and probably one day he could get it. Some are worried of the message and others are more concerned of the writer. Maybe because i am using a non de plume name.

At yesterday's Inquiry Committee meeting, there was a 3 man panel made up of 2 lawyers and the former GM of MCA. 2 of the 3 were former national cricketers and the other is the convener of cricket for a club. 2 of them are officials with an affiliate while the other had been an official some years ago. Therefore the 3 have impeccable credentials to undertake this inquiry.

In my previous article i raised the issue of "closeness" directly or indirectly to the various personalities involved in the incident. This is where i think all 3 may have their position to sit on the panel compromised. A matter these 3 should view carefully.

While this may raise some concerns but there are other issues that may have widened the spectrum of the problems with regard to the panel. They are:

* legitimacy of the Panel i.e were they appointed by MCA Exco or otherwise

* terms of reference of the Panel

* were the personalities involved in the incident formally informed of the Panel

* the role of the General Secretary & Executive Secretary of MCA in this Inquiry

These issues must be properly addressed or not the whole Inquiry may seem a "shamble". Indeed there is a popular believe in various circles that all of this is being orchestrated to facilitate certain parties to gain certain advantage so as they do not suffer any serious consequences. I do hope that rumour is far from right.

Therefore, it is imperative that MCA must not do things that may turn this Inquiry into a circus.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

MCA Cricket Inquiry - "Beware of close relationships".

On Monday 14th July, MCA's Inquiry Committee shall officially commence their hearing on the June 2008 incident between the national captain and the national coach against a national umpire. The incident took place in a friendly match between the National Team and the Expats ( mainly made up of Sri Lankan players, the majority of who are here on contract with MCA).

Apparently the Expat's bowler was bowling bouncers and beamers despite the national umpire's warning. The national captain walked into the field and confronted the umpire. Similarly the national coach followed suit and engaged in some verbal comments. Subsequent to that there has been allegations of "man handling".

I understand that the Committee is made up of members of the legal profession and some of them were former national cricketers. The bulk of the members are connected to an MCA affiliate, while one of them had worked as the General Manager of MCA many years ago. There is no doubt that these people have the relevant background to undertake this Inquiry.

The only matter I like to highlight to the various members of the Committee is one of close relationships to any of the personalities involved in the incident. Most of them are members of a particular club and may have a close relationship with the national captain directly or indirectly including through the said person's family. This must not be seen as infringing any ethical guidelines. The closeness may also be dictated by regular drinking sessions or being frequent teammates.

What is important is the administration of justice without giving any party cause to be concerned over doubts that may arise because of the existence of "closeness" directly or indirectly to any of the personalities involved in the incident.

Good Luck to everyone.

Is it "sayonara" to Malaysian hockey?

In Hyderabad, India, Asian World Junior Hockey tournament is currently being played. On Friday 11th. July, Malaysia drew with Singapore 2-2 and on 12th July, Malaysia lost to India 3-1. For Malaysia qualifying for the World Junior Tournament in 2009 is not an issue, as we are joint host with Singapore.

So why all the fuss? Lately, there have been so many "happenings" on and off the field, that the very survival of Malaysian hockey has become a question mark. On the field, the Senior team failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics along with miserable performances at the Asia Cup and Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy. The Juniors disastrous tour to Europe, including losing to a team like Austria. The Under-16 tour to Europe continued similarly with the dismal performance of the Seniors and Juniors, by losing all their games.

Off the field, there have been enough allegations from match fixing, money lending, gambling, "buying" service of senior player, shoddy training regime, close rapport with media to provide a certain perception, offering trips and positions in national teams to officials from affiliates, ad-hoc decisions, power being concentrated in the "de facto" leader rather than President and etc etc etc etc etc.

One thing is certain and that is Malaysian hockey is at a "chronic" state. We should not be here but the current leadership in MHF have permitted the slide to this disastrous scenario. It all boils down to the wrong people being elected to administer hockey in Malaysia. Without mincing my words, the President, Deputy President down to Coaching Committee and the Coaches are directly responsible for this state of affairs.

Never in the Malaysian hockey history have we had such a pathetic outlook. The future of hockey looks extremely bleak. Juniors and Under-16 cannot be relied on to be the future of Malaysian hockey. Even more surprising is that the Chairman of Coaching Committee and his Coaches are "clueless" as to what to do. The President is "dumb founded" while the Deputy President continues his "hide and seek" game in order to be in the right place at the right time for the right position. The Secretary is dealing with everyone in order to survive while the Treasurer is trying to balance his books without having the funds. The Vice-Presidents are positioning themselves to be in the good books of the "President in Waiting".

It is a "mumbo jumbo" state of affairs in MHF. Nobody is interested in hockey. MHF has dumped the Age Group hockey to MSSM, cancelled the Champion Schools Tournament and has no direction on the aspect of grass root development. Their core pre-occupation is "fire fighting", creating a perception that nothing is wrong with MHF as they strategize to remain in power. All this has nothing to do with hockey and this probably explains why Malaysian hockey has not got its deserving attention, which itself has got us to this "chronic" state.

We might as well bid "sayonara" to the future of Malaysian hockey.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"ACC seconded coach to Malaysia" - Clarification

On 24th June 2008, my article of "Malaysian Cricket Prima Donnas", I had indicated that the Malaysian National Coach was seconded by Asian Cricket Council (ACC). In a clarification comment dated 25th June 2008, I also did indicate that the Coach is being paid by ACC. In the same comment I did request if there was anything different to revert to me.

On 11th July 2008, e-mailed and highlighted the following points:

*ACC makes an allocation to 18 of its non Test playing members for coaches.

*Members choose unilaterally its coaches.

*There is no direct link from ACC to any country's coach.

I further clarified, whether the Malaysian National Coach was recommended by ACC and the response was "never".

As such I am duty bound to highlight this pertinent point and ensure that the integrity of ACC remains intact.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Karu Selvaratnam - Newly elected President of Royal Selangor Club

The phrase "working your way to the top", probably fits Malaysia's double international Karu Selvaratnam appropriately. After his stint with the Royal Malaysian Navy and taking early retirement as Lt Cmdr, he was employed as General Manager of Royal Selangor Club (RSC). Was this the start of his journey of a thousand steps to be President of the Club?

To understand Karu, one has to appreciate his prowess in the field. He is a gold medallist at the 1961 SEA Games and a bronze medallist at 1962 Asian Games for the 400 meters hurdles. At the 62 Asian Games he was in the Malaysian quartet that won the silver in the 4x400, which included the young medical student Mani Jegathesan. For nearly 30 years Karu's 400 meters hurdles national record remained unbroken.

He showed his sporting skills in cricket too. He turned out for Malaysia in the 70s and also had the opportunity to Captain the National Team. His love for cricket, also led him to be involved in the revival of Malaysian Cricket Association and was its Secretary for well over a decade. This permitted him to come into contact with the international cricketing fraternity and his organisational skills are well appreciated even till today by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).

Back to RSC, he left their employment to join a local company involved in oil & gas and also defence business. Very much doing corporate public relations, Karu wanted his own freedom that he went out to become his own boss. This permitted greater involvement in RSC and became its Sports Chairman. His ability to organise never failed him and fittingly he was elected as RSC's Vice-President Over the years he has become a known face and a person "whose word is as good as his bond".

Such was Karu Selvaratnam's appeal that the post of RSC's President was one for him to occupy in a matter of time. This came his way when he was elected in June 2008 as RSC's President.

Congratulations Karu! Thank you for your years of service to Malaysian Sports and our wishes for your good health and happiness.

MCA! MCA! What are you trying to do?

This morning MCA held its Inquiry session on the May 2008 incident between the national player and the umpire. MCA in its usual unplanned style, set-up an Ad Hoc Committee which was chaired by the Vice-President (Development) and included the General Secretary, Competition Committee Chairman and an Exco member. A "heavily fortified" Committee, which probably had to only question 3 personalities.

The story of this morning's proceedings is such that the umpire was first called in. Sources indicate that he probably spent only 4 to 5 minutes with the "powers to be" in MCA i.e the Ad-Hoc Committee. Information that was gathered later in the day indicated that the umpire was steadfast and refused to get into a verbal discussion of the incident. He stated that the facts of the incident were in writing and requested the Committee to refer to it.

The Chairman of the Committee read aloud the umpire's report and apparently the umpire nodded his acknowledgement. The Chairman then explained that they would have to report to the MCA Exco, who then have to refer to the Umpires Board. In fact, the umpire reiterated that neither this Committee nor the Exco could take any action against him.

The next person in was the national player, who also was the former National Captain. Interesting is that he is a staff of MCA and it would be interesting to see how the members of the Committee would deal with him. I say interesting as there were 2 Selectors in the Committee and the General Secretary, who is in-charge of administration. The term ethics or unethical seems not to have any meaning with MCA.

Surprisingly, the team manager of the team that the national player played for was not present. So, it would seem that one third of the evidence i.e from the team manager, cannot be considered in view of lack of authentication by him. Now it would be interesting to see how one against one would be considered by this Committee.

Lets take some trouble to see what MCA is trying to achieve in this Inquiry. 4 Exco members constitute the Ad-Hoc Committee and this Committee is going to report to the Exco. The Exco is a 10 man Committee and therefore can there be integrity in the decision of the MCA Exco on this matter. Seriously, this Ad-Hoc Committee in relation with the MCA Exco has created far bigger problem by infringing ethical issues and basic rules of natural justice.

Therefore, would there be a fair hearing. "JUSTICE MUST NOT ONLY BE DONE BUT MUST BE SEEN TO BE DONE". I think this is where MCA has completely mixed up matters and that is not good for the administration of justice in this incident.

What makes matters confusing is that there is a belief that MCA would take its own sweet time for a decision to permit the involved national players to play the ACC tournament. The rumour is that one player is a staff of MCA whilst the other is the son of an Exco member. Insofar as the National Coach, his term ends with the ACC tournament and with that the story shall end. This is what people are speculating of what is going to happen.

Please MCA help to erase such doubts so as people would believe justice would be fairly and properly administered.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Plea for truthful representation from National Hockey Coach

When I read this morning's paper, the headlines on hockey seemed to give me some hope. Malaysia are still ranked 14th despite failure to qualify for the Olympics. I thought this was a good start for my day until I indulged into the article proper. It changed my day as, in the usual smaller print, it became apparent that China(15th) and Japan(17th) would overtake us when the rankings are done after the Olympics. In the same line it was indicated that India and Pakistan, who are ranked in the top 10 would also drop in position.

The report was only a small column and yet the headline gave a wrong impression. Malaysia's ranking had not changed because FIH has yet to update its list. They want to do it after the Olympics as it would capture the post Olympic rankings, i.e after a major hockey tournament. To provide a view that Malaysia's position after qualifiers has not changed does not reflect the true scenario of the rankings.

To mitigate the drop in rankings for Malaysia, the aspect of India's and Pakistan's position seem to be played up. The only reason I believe this scenario was painted is to highlight that even top teams suffer such fate. Seriously, I am not worried about India and Pakistan. They were great hockey nations and good luck to them.

My interest is Malaysia, and I always want to rate Malaysia with the best. However, we have peculiar officials who cannot get themselves to be ranked in the tournaments that make a difference. Yet today they are soliciting for tournaments that can help in the ranking. This is honestly a "weirdo" way of thinking. When the opportunity was there they allowed it to slip. Now they want other tournaments to help them. What guarantees are there that this coach would get Malaysia to perform well and better our rankings.

It seems that it is only "hot air" from the coach. Obviously the Reporter is providing him a platform to voice his opinion. I have nothing against that except the Reporter must also have the responsibility to ask the "if's" and "but's". He seems more interested in highlighting the coach's contract is till 2012. It seems that the Reporters (save the ones from Malay Mail) these days connected to hockey have an agenda too. It is becoming too obvious and may call into question the wisdom of some of the articles.

The bottom line is Malaysia has performed badly. It seems the perennial excuse of fitness is the cause of our bad performance. Strange, as our players are always in centralised training and still fitness is the excuse. Then there must be something surely wrong with our training sessions or our coaches do not have the proper skills to train the players. Therefore which of these is it?

The Management in MHF must surely take responsibility for all that is going wrong in hockey. They seem to have left it the so called Coaching Committee and coaches, who have lead them up the "garden path" until they arrived at the "cliff end". Poor chaps are now caught at a point of "no return" and the only choice is to "jump off". The question: Why all this is permitted to happen? There are personalities in MHF who have utilised certain person's name to instill fear and get things done for their own benefit. They make him to be the "de facto" chief and he calls the shots. They offer trips and other positions with the National Teams, to keep key officials with affiliates happy so as their shortcomings do not become apparent. This way they believe they can sustain their power in MHF. I am sure the President is kept in the dark on all these as he does not have his people there to let him know what is going on.

This is where the media comes handy for these people, to provide the perception that things are going on well in hockey. Such an impression creation is a strategy for certain group to sustain their position in MHF, notwithstanding where we are ranked in world hockey.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

MHF's Chairman of Coaching may ultimately be responsible for Malaysia's demise in international hockey.

MHF's Chairman of Coaching was a fantastic center forward during his heydays in hockey. However he does not realise that his heydays are well over. Similarly too is his outlook as the Chairman of Coaching. The coaches whom he had appointed at the Senior and Junior team are the reflection of the current deteriorating standard of Malaysian hockey at the international arena.

So why does he want these coaches around till 2010 or 2012? Just to give them more time to ensure that "death" comes to Malaysian hockey in a painful and prolonged way. If MHF is against foreign coaches then I suggest that the Chairman of the Coaching Committee provides a far better justification. What he had stated now cannot hold the ground based on recent performances.

I had previously asked this question: "Can any of our current coaches stand even in the shadows of the top 10 coaches in the world?" The answer then was no and it shall not change for years to come. I think this person in MHF should ask himself if he knows what is he talking about? Is he there to provide lip service to support coaches who seem to be embroiled with all sort of allegations. These coaches do not understand modern hockey and the basic principles of planning combined with foresight. Now that I know the views of the Chairman of the Coaching Committee, i can understand why all these coaches lack the depth to be good national coaches. It reminds me of the maxim: "The tail is only as good as the head".

We must put a stop to all this selfish attitude to safeguard one another position, so as the various personalities can sustain their position without proper accountability. It is shown in the performance of our team i.e. Senior, Juniors and the Under-16. All have failed and weaker teams are proving to be a challenge to Malaysia. The writing is already on the walls and if MHF cannot see it, then hockey is finished in Malaysia.

"What is really going on in cricket?" - MCA

Last week I praised MCA on its decisive action to resolve the umpires, national players and national coach series of incidents over the last 2 months, however I said there is still a need for fine tuning. Instead MCA decided to completely overturn their good decisive action to improper judgement on their approach to the meeting with the umpires last Saturday.

Firstly, in incidents like what took place between a national player and the umpire, followed by national captain, national coach and the umpire, MCA must carefully think through how to handle it.

In the case of the national player and the umpire, it was a domestic competition and therefore the Competition Committee should be the principal party to follow through the matter. In the other case of the national captain, national coach and the umpire, the incident took place at a friendly game organised by MCA itself. Therefore it would be more appropriate the Disciplinary Committee be responsible for it. In both cases the MCA Umpires Board should be present to hold brief.

What took place on Saturday was the Vice President of MCA responsible for Development and the General Secretary conducted the meeting with the umpires. They seemed more worried that the umpires would boycott matches where national players are involved. Therefore they have issued an ultimatum for a decision.

The question I have to ask why is this particular Vice-President being so "sibuk" over the matter rather than the Chairman of the Umpires Board? Why should he conduct the meeting and then report it to the Umpires Board? It all seems a very strange way of handling such matters.

As for the General Secretary, he must realise that from an ethical position, he is already disqualified from participating in such meetings. His son is a national player and is the national captain and this rules him out. So why is he putting his head into such matters?

What i cannot understand is the MCA Exco members are literally "bullying" the umpires into submitting to their ultimatum. They do not seem to have any interest in conducting a timely enquiry as the national player and the national coach are on holiday. Further they want the umpires to come with a Code of Conduct, without realising such a Code already exists in the ICC guidelines. The MCA officials who conducted the meeting are completely lost and do not know how to sensibly resolve the issue.

To me the Umpires Board should receive an undertaking from MCA that national players and the national coach would conduct themselves properly at the matches from hereon. They should also receive further undertaking that the 2 inquiries would be held within a specified time period. Equally, the Umpires Board must on their part also provide an undertaking that the umpires would ensure the Code of Conduct would be properly adhered.

If such undertakings are in place and a monitoring system is implemented, I am sure there is no need for any ultimatum. Just a little bit of "grey" matter needs to be utilised in the thinking process, so as such matters can be easily sorted. What MCA has done is to make the situation even more tense.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Beijing Olympic Games - Gold Medal opportunity for Malaysia

The Chef-De-Mission of the Malaysian contingent to the Beijing Olympic Games is Datuk Ho Koh Chye. A renowned sports personality, Datuk Ho started life as a teacher and at the age of 20 he represented Malaysia in hockey at the 1962 Asian Games. Playing as a goalkeeper, he has represented the nation in 2 Olympics and 2 Asian Games. From back at the goal post, he is able to get a good view of the game and this taught him the art of reading the game.

This became his forte and he utilise this intuition throughout his life be it as player, teacher, coach, team manager, hockey administrator, Deputy DG of NSC or as Deputy Chef-De-Mission. He has the ability to motivate his charges and is able to get the best in them.

So, when Datuk Ho said he felt Malaysia has a chance to obtain its first gold in the Olympics, I think he was not doing that as a public relations exercise. I am sure he meant every word of it. The badminton players have the potential to deliver. Datuk Ho seems to have the personal "feng shui" to bring success. He did it with the 1975 World Cup hockey team as coach and 1992 Barcelona Olympic hockey team as team manager. All the more reason why his presences as the Chef-De-Mission would provide our badminton players the hunger to get the gold.

If only Squash and Lawn Bowling were part of the Olympics, then Malaysia would be looking at a few more golds. Pity, but that is life. Still I am sure Datuk Ho would be doing all that is possible to ensure that the Malaysian flag is hoisted with the 'NegaraKu" music being played. History would be created and our first Olympian millionaire would be showing off his gold medal.

Good Luck Datuk Ho and Malaysia at the Beijing Olympic.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A new GM for MHF.

News is buzzing amongst the hockey crowd that a known person would be appointed as General Manager for MHF. No he is not a former national player, coach or administrator. Rather he was a former Secretary of a State Hockey Association and was also an Organiser of a State Foundation that were back to back Champions for 2 years of the MHF National League.

Apparently, he also did a stint as a Sports writer with a renowned evening papers. Here he did become famous with some of his articles particularly in hockey. Holding on to a position too long is not his forte. He went on to serve as an aide to the former Minister of Sports and Youth. Again, he was there for a short period. Thereafter he moved on as an aide to the first Chairman of Sports Advisory Committee and then joined him at FAM. From there he hopped on to "My Team" and worked his way as GM of Malaysian Super League (MSL).

In between all these he had spells in Royal Selangor Club and the Lake Club. There is no doubt that he had lived a nomadic life style, not wanting to remain permanently to see the result of some of his hard work.

This person is hard working and is prepared to put in the hours. He has been in love with hockey and he would travel the extra mile to ensure that things are properly done. He was a good friend of the late S. Satgunam, the former Secretary of MHF. This is where he was able to appreciate the administration of MHF.

To some he is not an easy person to get along. He is quite fixed in his way because he wants to achieve results. This at times would not go down well with people. However, with people in NSC he has always had a good relationship and this would help him when he takes up his position in MHF.

The only concern I have is whether this person would get easily disappointed or upset the status quo that he may not have a good spell in MHF long enough. One does not have to be a PhD holder to know that he had not survived long in a number of his other positions. The feeling is that he takes each job like a new toy. After sometime he gets bored with it and then he looks for another new toy i.e. another job. This is something he must be aware and he must know that this reputation of him always precedes him.

Anyway, lets welcome him to the job in MHF and wish him the very best in his undertakings. I hope he can catalysts the change in MHF for the betterment of Malaysian hockey. MHF needs it badly.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Well done MCA! Still, there is a need to fine tune.

A gag order and a banning order were the prescription of MCA on the events relating to a national umpire, 2 national players and the national coach. It took sometime for MCA to move but having done so they seem decisive. Now, a meeting with the group of national umpires is scheduled and an enquiry to an incident in May is also on the card. The latest incident, which includes the national coach and national captain is yet to be fixed.

Why such a delay in getting down to resolving the problem? Allowing these incidents to happen and not acting on it permitted a series of other incidents, and the result is the current predicament. Anyway it is the past, but it is important that MCA learns from this experience.

As for the meeting with the Umpires, it is important for MCA to hear out their problem. These are people who have to make split second decisions and also having to tolerate the mercy of the daily weather. On top of it they have to accommodate the players from their appeals, to staring eyes and at times cynical comments. Some of these antics can be very testing for the umpires.

On the other side, we also have to consider the plight of players, especially those who are highly competitive. It gets very trying, annoying and irritating when there are incompetent umpires in the field. The players get to a "breaking point" and then let loose their tempers. This is when flare up takes place between players and umpires.

All these could be avoided if strict code of conduct is enforced with regard to players. As for the umpires, it is important that the right qualified personalities are selected for the matches. Further, regular umpire seminars should be held including discussing existing and potential problems. This way the umpires as a body can take a common stance on a number of issues and at the same time uplift themselves technically.

As for what had happened in May and June 2008, those involved as players do not really have much of an excuse. They are Senior national players, more so for the National Captain who had walked into the field to question the umpire. Indeed, what is shocking is that the umpire was attempting to protect the national players from bouncers and beamers.

As for the National Coach, this is a serious matter. The position he holds and the fact that he is a former Test cricketer means he must carry with him responsibilities. To walk into the field and intimidate an umpire is completely outside any reasonable grounds of excuse. As a coach he had shown to his players the level of indiscipline he himself has. There may come a time when his players lack the discipline and then what is he going to do? The lack of proper judgement by the coach is a bad example and it will not help in moulding the national team into a disciplined cricket team.

As for the umpire, he should have brought this to the notice of MCA immediately and insisted for an inquiry. Allowing the problem to brew for a while is a failure in discharging his duty properly. This shortcoming in him has probably endangered his other colleagues and permitted the problem to get out of hand.

As for MCA, the multiple conflicts the Team Manager has to overcome because of his various positions is also a key contributory factor to these incidents. The slow speed in which MCA works, plus attempting to sweep the issue under the carpet did not help to contain the problem.

All in all, now MCA has gone on to the "first gear" in wanting to resolve this problem. Lets see how fast they switch gears and ensure everything is properly done. Finally, its the decision they make will determine what MCA is all about.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

MHF, please give us an honest assessment of the Junior Team.

One of the morning dailies reported that MHF is looking at a bigger picture and that's why they are not sending 12 of their good players.Therefore the team to July's Asia Junior Hockey tournament in Hyderabad is a weak team and nothing much is expected. The Chairman of the Coaching Committee goes on further to add that these players who were not named for the trip would not be able to play in next year's Junior World Cup as they would be over age. So, this is MHF's big picture !!!!!!

Another morning daily reported why some of the key players were not included for the Hyderabad trip. 3 key players are still injured while some of the rest are still nursing injury from their tour to Europe. Obviously, this daily is not having sight of the big picture !!!!!!!

2 sets of different reasons reported on the dailies. It would seem the one who highlighted that MHF is looking at the bigger picture must surely be starting to create the excuse in case the Juniors perform badly in Hyderabad. Why? Is that the big picture?

Seriously if MHF had seen the big picture than they would not have selected the 12 players who were going to be over age for the World Junior tournament next year, for the trip to Europe.What the Coach and Coaching Committee Chairman had referred to as a strong team had performed disastrously on that tour. Imagine! They lost to unheard Austria and were thrashed by Belgium. They think if this team goes to Hyderabad, Malaysia would perform much better.

I think MHF honestly believe that hockey lovers are people like them who cannot think. They get their friend in the press to give a favourable impression of what is happening. If MHF had seen the big picture they would have put more players who would play in the Junior World Cup for the European tour as exposure and also as a warm-up for the Asia Junior tournament. Is this not a bigger bigger picture than that of MHF? I think one must not pull wool over peoples' eyes. It can be seen through and through and does not help MHF in its current predicament.

What we are seeing in MHF is the lack of proper planning combined with foresight. As it stands what is happening in MHF provides the impression things are undertaken haphazardly. It reminds me of someone doing school homework who is not worried that what he does is right or wrong. What he thinks is more important, is that the homework book is handed in. So, how can someone then achieve the desired results?

What i am saying is the people involved in all of this sort of work in MHF do not have the calibre to undertake it. It shows in everything they do. I am honest enough to highlight this and i am not prepared to "beat around the bush". Just compare our Coaches from the Senior and Junior teams with the coaches from the top 10 teams in the world. I am sorry they cannot even stand on their "shadows". If they are far below this category, then please do not expect anything from our hockey teams. This is the reality and that is the picture.