Thursday, October 30, 2008

MHF Elections - Many are the same "old" faces. Would hockey be better off?

Hockey has, in the past, provided great times for Malaysians. In Malaysian context, hockey was the 1st team event where Malaysia had participated at an Olympics and that was at Melbourne in 1956. The 1st team event to win a bronze at Asian Games. It is the first team event where Malaysia had organised 2 World Cups i.e in 1972 and 2002. The list of hockey achievements are numerous.

On the other side there have been disappointments and most of these relate to failure to qualify for the World Cup and the Olympic. Hockey also contributed to the 2nd constitutional changes relating to Royalties following an incident that took place at a hockey game. Such has been the length and breath of hockey's influence on Malaysians.

On November 1st, the Affiliates of MHF would select the Office Bearers who would work with the new President,TM, who won uncontested on Nomination day. The incumbent Deputy President, 2 incumbent Vice Presidents and a well known hockey lover are eyeing for the post. of Deputy President. The most interesting part of the elections.

Strangest of all, the 2 incumbent Vice Presidents were initially supporters of the incumbent Deputy President in the previous election. The 1st to fall out was the Vice President who originates from Malacca. Indeed he fell out of favour with the current incumbent Deputy President on the eve of the previous election. Since then this Malacca personality has gone through hell in MHF as they have made his life intolerable. So much so he had been on a "war path" and promised for a long time that he would take on the incumbent Deputy President. He has been one of the 2 persons who has canvassed the Affiliates for the change. Something that has materialised with this election.

The other incumbent Vice President originates from Kuala Lumpur and is a medical doctor by profession. A man who played ball with the incumbent Deputy President for a long period of time. This was done despite of occasions where he was ceremonially removed from positions to put the incumbent Deputy President's loyalists. He was totally frustrated when he found that he was not in the original list of candidates prepared by the loyalists of the incumbent Deputy President. He used various renowned personalities, one of whom felt his presences in MHF would be helpful to him in his position in another organisation. This obviously did not go well with most of the Affiliates and there is a strong belief that he will withdraw before the election. Failing which he would be termed as a "spoiler".

As for the known hockey lover, it is a pity if MHF cannot find a place for this good passionate hockey reformist. He decided to retire early as a CEO of an Oil & Gas company so as he could pursue his PhD. This would give him the time to be of great assistance to MHF. Unfortunately KLHA who nominated him did not get a consensus from the other Affiliates and this did not go done well. He has very good hockey credentials including being the prime author of the "Wawasan Hoki", the only existing Master Plan which the current MHF refuses to comprehend. Like the Doc from KL, if he remains in the race, he may also be seen as a "spoiler"

As for the incumbent Deputy President, it seem he is pushing his luck in wanting to contest. Many hockey supporters have apportion the blame directly on him for the dismal state of Malaysian hockey. A lot has to do with the sort of advice he gets and the way his "henchmen" go around doing their work in MHF. A man who cannot find the time to attend MHF Management and Council Meetings still thinks he can contribute to MHF.

Rumours are flying around of the incumbent Deputy President"s unfulfilled promise at the last election 2 years ago. The promise of a grant of RM 5000 per Affiliate and 500 hockey sticks has left a "bad taste" and a "ear ache" with the Affiliates as they remember the verbal commitments.

Many believe that the incumbent Deputy President should voluntary withdraw from the contest, as this would be the most honourable thing to do. Unfortunately his interest in the Junior World Cup 2009 with Malaysia's venue being Johor Baru may be the stumbling block. That tournament itself is embroiled in its own controversy and it is coming under careful scrutiny. It is very much the incumbent's decision.

Seriously, moving away from the election and looking at the future of Malaysian hockey: Would the TM's leadership and with the other Office Bearers coming from the same old set-up, help to uplift Malaysian hockey to world standards? I cannot see that happening unless the TM takes on board an Agenda that can be driven by certain co-opted people to make the change. Good Luck MHF.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

MHF Election - Congrats TM while the incumbent Deputy President wants to retain his post, a challenge to Affiliates.

MHF nominations 0n the 25th October contained only real one real surprise. BeforeI get into it, let me congratulate TM for being elected uncontested as President of MHF for a 2 year term. It shows that the Affiliates of MHF want to see a change of leadership. TM must be aware that his journey in Malaysian hockey has just started; and I wish him the best of luck. I sincerely hope TM realises what he is getting into based on the current scenario of Malaysian hockey.

The outgoing President of MHF must be thanked for having the guts and the willingness to make way by not contesting. He had his fair share of problems during his term, for he had to accommodate a certain personality who had the influence on the direction of MHF. It is never easy particularly with such a personality, who has the name and certain key "henchmen" to do his various work.

The surprise on Nomination day was the incumbent Deputy President's name in the list of contestants for Deputy President. This was shocking, for being the main person responsible for the current dismal state of affairs of Malaysian hockey, he seems to have the guts to face the Affiliates again to retain the position. Credit must be given for such an act of bravery but I hope it is not a way to intimidate the Affiliates to support him. Apparently his presence itself has such an aura, and above all he has the resources to canvas for support. Just looking at the nomination list, 5 Affiliates have already thrown their support behind the incumbent Deputy President

The incumbent Deputy President has to take the greater share of blame in the current dismal state of Malaysian hockey. At least that is the story emerging from the Affiliates. So, if they really want a change, the incumbent Deputy President has put the Affiliates on notice i.e he is defending his position. Now, lets see if the majority of the Affiliates have the "spine" to make the difference on whether the incumbent Deputy President retains the post. It is going to be an interesting "battle" for Deputy President.

If the incumbent wins, then it shows he has the support, and the criticisms leveled against him is purely a "vendetta" campaign. So, all the critics including myself have to put our "tails between our legs" and quietly walk away. Maybe an apology may be also an order of the day.

If the incumbent loses, it proves that the Affiliates wanted the change and they are prepared to see it through. It also means that the various "henchmen" who are a catalyst the downfall of Malaysian hockey must also move out with the change. These are the very people who would be going around canvasing and cajoling the various Affiliates to give the incumbent Deputy President another chance.

One of the cards that would be played is the Junior World Cup 2009 (JWC) where Malaysia's venue is Johor Baru. The controversial manner of bidding for the tournament, including co-hosting with Singapore, and having the whole organisational matters controlled by Johor Hockey Association(JHA) offers the "henchmen" something to entice the Affiliates for support. If the Affiliates fall for such "cheap stances" then Malaysian hockey deserves what it gets.

An interesting story that seems to be going around is that the incumbent Deputy President is contesting purely to safeguard JHA's control over JWC 2009. Is there truth to the matter? It is difficult to answer except the manner in which the whole episode of bidding for co-hosting JWC 2009 including the unwritten condition precedent of organising the debt ridden tournament of Champions Trophy, seems to reflect a high degree of truth.

The question to ask: Is all of this done for MHF's benefit or for other reasons? If the Affiliates have the answer they know exactly what to do. It is in the hands of the Affiliates.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mutiny in MHF - Seem to be a "given" right.

Last Saturday at the Park Royal Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, at least 5 incumbent Office Bearers and about 15 to 16 Affiliates congregated to meet the Tengku Mahkota (TM) of Pahang. Their aim was to get the TM to become the President of MHF as nominations were to close on the 25th.Oct, and the election was due on 1st.Nov.

Most of the Affiliates want to see a change except for 1, or maybe 2, who were there to provide feedback to their "masters". There is no doubt that the MHF badly needs a change but is it the Office Bearers alone or the whole structure of the MHF? Every 2 years it would seem the Affiliates of the MHF become "power brokers" to determine who gets what in terms of position. Whether the Affiliate is active or simply dormant, they carry the same number of votes. It simply means everyone has equal power and therefore they all become very important to aspiring candidates. Sometimes, the less active Affiliates can jointly decide the future and faith of the MHF. This probably explains why the MHF is in this diabolical situation.

What happened at Park Royal hotel in military terminology constitutes a "mutiny". Was it necessary? A definite "Yes". Why? The MHF leadership seem to have gone astray forgetting the very purpose of their existence. Why did the Affiliates not react much earlier through the Council? Probably fearful or possessing a misplaced feeling of obligation. Should the Affiliates also be blamed to the state of affairs of the MHF? They equally share the burden for the state of hockey as the incumbent Office Bearers.

Yet! The Affiliates sit in a paradoxical position i.e still being able to decide on the future of MHF. Probably that is democracy. The membership decides as they have the rights. Such being the case the Affiliates have the given right to determine what they feel appropriate. The Affiliates know that and they therefore enjoy the position once every 2 years. It is not about the "Agenda for hockey" but rather seems to be all about the maneuvering and manipulation that takes place in the jostling for positions; in essence, the Affiliates become "King Makers". Needless to say, this is a position they all cherish.

In 2006 the Affiliates went against the advice of the then incumbents to put in the current incumbents. Now in 2008, the Affiliates are endeavouring to get rid of the incumbent leadership i.e the 2 people they put in. This seem to be their specialty. I wonder whether the TM is aware of this? Would TM suffer the same faith in 2 years?

The question is whether the TM is going into the MHF with an "Agenda", or just leaving the future to the Affiliates? Further, would the TM have a team that he believes can carry the MHF into the future? If he does not, then the TM must start thinking whether he is doing the right thing? Why I raise this, is because the future of the MHF rests with him if he decide to helm the MHF.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

MHL - National Juniors were disapponting but it helps for the future.

When the National Junior Coach wanted his boys to play in the National League, he was a very brave man. After the disaster at Hyderabad, the then National Junior Coach was not keen for the Juniors to play in the League. He obviously knew the Juniors may not live up to the expectation and he would have a barrage of criticism. His replacement, the current Coach thought otherwise, as the League becomes part of a build up for the Juniors.

If they do well then it is a question of consolidating the team. If they do not then at least the Coach can work on them and look at other build-up matches to "stock take" on the performance of the team. What would be good is for the Junior Coach to become aggressive in his approach and get as many of the Juniors to play. This would give him a better understanding of all the players in a game situation.

The Juniors have another 8 months before the Junior World Cup (JWC) and it is important they work their way steadily to peak around the beginning of the JWC. People must give the Junior Coach some room to breathe so as he can experiment to find the right team. Results are not paramount except the team cannot play silly to be trashed or beaten by some scrappy team. This is the time they can try their set-pieces or combination of players and movement. The Coach would not get another environment like his before JWC.

I hope the National Junior Coach uses this opportunity properly and work all that is required to get the right mix of players for the JWC. Thereafter it is question of working on the "finishing touches" and tactical moves to ensure the team is sharp with the different opponents. I am sure where there is a "will" there must be a "way". Good Luck Juniors.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"102 Former Hockey Internationals" tenure has ended

102 Former Hockey Internationals is a group of former Malaysian hockey players who collectively came into origin by supporting an open letter on the current plight of Malaysian hockey based on the failures of the various National Teams. This Group had called all the relevant parties involved to get together and assists in ensuring Malaysia gets back to the glorious days as a World ranked nation in hockey.

Their appeal was forwarded to the Deputy Prime Minister as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Sports, the Minister of Youth & Sports and other relevant parties. The Sports Minister set the ball rolling by meeting them and literally challenged the Group to come up with a proposal of what should be done to alleviate the current scenario in hockey.

Apparently today the Group had presented their proposal to the Sports Minister at Parliament. Sources indicate that it was a comprehensive proposal and the Minister wanted it in advance before a full presentation. Full details of the proposal is yet to be made public.

An interesting aspect of today's event is that the Group had formally informed the Minister that the tenure of "102 Former Hockey Internationals" have come to an end. They have completed their purpose and do not have a mandate to exists further.

The 102 Group had caught the imagination of people with their open letter and the signature campaign among the hockey internationals. Whether their proposal addresses the current predicament in Malaysian hockey is something we have to await until the documents become public. Still, we must admire the Group in helping to be a catalyst towards making a change in Malaysian hockey.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

MHF Elections - KLHA throws in their nominations. as the Agenda for hockey is forgotten

Malaysian hockey is at its lowest ebb and the future agenda of hockey is not being debated. The election fever for positions in MHF is peaking as names are being thrown around to seek support and endorsement. One such name is the Tengku Mahkota(TM) of Pahang, linking him to the post of President. Anyway there are already 2 persons who have announced their intentions for the same post and they are the incumbent President and Deputy President.

The rumours that have emerged seem to indicate that the affiliates want to see the current top 2 incumbents replaced. There is definitely a clarion call to ensure that the TM comes into MHF. Can he be the "saviour" of Malaysian hockey? People are not sure but one thing is certain and that he would do a better job than the current incumbent top 2. Something I personally agree and to be fair the Pahang Royalty had, and is, still taking good care of the sportsmen and the officials. What I hear of the TM, is that this is also very much his style and this would do a lot of good for hockey.

The affiliates are busy putting together a line-up in the hope that the TM becomes the President. Indeed the barter trading is on and from what i here there is a sizable number of affiliates who have got together. The affiliates want to see a change and they have admitted that they may not have been vocal on a number of issues save for 1 or 2 affiliates. They had their reasons and they want to show it now with the election. Therefore the presences of TM can in many ways see the manifestation of change.

In a way a few have also gone their own way to participate in the change.. KLHA noted for its own league and development programme have nominated 2 personalities for certain key positions in MHF. They too want to participate in the euphoria of the possibility of TM's involvement.

Proposed for Deputy President is a personality who had served in KLHA as Vice President and has just retired as a CEO of an Oil and Gas company. Do not get it wrong, he is still young! He is very passionate of hockey and had been Manager for a number of years of his corporate club team in the National League. It has been said that he is the "architect" of the recent Vision document of MHF.

The other nomination is for the post of General Secretary and the candidate is no stranger to hockey and to sports. A renowned journalist who has been in the forefront of sporting news for years. I had mentioned him in some of my other articles in the blog and without doubt a very capable person. His love for hockey is second to none (I hope his wife and children would not be upset) and he is able to find the balance to manage his career and his voluntary work on development of hockey with kids.

Both these candidates would become great assets to Malaysian hockey. However i have a concern and that is whether KLHA in nominating them have entered into any discussion with the other affiliates to solicit the necessary support. As it remains there is already a confusion as to how their names appeared and who is supporting them other then KLHA. Various big names have been associated to these candidates and one of them is the TM himself. These are unconfirmed stories but the fact that the candidates are prepared to test their popularity means they have done their groundwork. I hope!

If the various forces do not "gel" then the idea of wanting to replace the top 2 incumbents maybe a futile exercise. More so if the TM wants to helm MHF then he must have a capable working team and also an Agenda for hockey. If it is purely taking a position or replacing the incumbents without an Agenda, Malaysian hockey would be no better. Strangely, I think the Agenda for hockey is the missing ingredient as jostling for position becomes the preoccupation. Lets not waste another 2 years and permit Malaysia's ranking to further slip.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Junior World Cup 2009 - Its Johor and Singapore co-hosts. Why not Malaysia and Singapore?

Today's daily reported that FIH inspected Johor's 2009 Junior World Cup venue and that Johor and Singapore are the co-hosts of the Junior World Cup (JWC) 2009. Not wanting to split hairs, is Johor an affiliate of FIH or is it MHF? Yet, MHF does nothing to correct that wrong perception the reporter is trying to create. But why?

Note that the whole country was misled on the way MHF went about to bid for the co-hosting including stating Johor Baru as the venue. It also meant that the Government i.e NSC was also misled when MHF requested for government's support. Complicating the matter further means FIH was also misled as NSC wanted it to be held in Kuala Lumpur. How the people behind the bidding got away with all this is very surprising. A lot of stories have been told implicating certain personality from Singapore hockey, who sits in FIH and has the ears of the FIH President. Is there truth to these stories?

Maybet because the Deputy President is from Johor and since he had been acknowledged by MHF as the mastermind behind the successful bidding of the JWC 2009, Johor is given the distinguish honour of being officially named as the co-hosts. Still does it have the endorsement of MHF or is it a unilateral decision of a certain person? Amazing! Extraordinary! it can only happen in MHF.

Funnily enough the Deputy President wants to be a contender for President of MHF and yet Johor seem to be his priority. A strange world.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

MHF - "Public interest over Personal interest".

My usual visitor to the blog "Malaysia Boleh" has reappeared with another story. This time it is about the MHF's election.

Titled "Public interest over Personal interest," he has something which i feel is interesting and must be in the category of mandatory reading for sports lovers. This person always finds the time to give his piece of advice to hockey. Mind you, his advice is usually sensible and what is interesting is his authoritative approach in analysing the Malaysian hockey dilemma.

The title of Public versus Personal itself allows our mind to get into imaginary mode of thinking. Now i think it is important we look at the text of the article:

"With the campaigning fever at a high we see the probable candidates claiming to have delivered their responsibility after the last election. The current state of MHF in terms of administration and the team’s performance speaks for itself. What we have witnessed would appear to be the culture of individuals putting themselves above the game.

Why should the authorities and states affiliates continue to believe that the same personalities should be given a second term to administer the game and pledge more promises to get us out of this rotting pile of S*** as like before they took office 2 years ago? Can the present line-up adapt to the changes needed to push for progress with fresh ideas? It will not happen considering their lack of ideas and stereo type thinking which continues to remain “within the box”. Fire fighting could also have pushed them to the limit, leaving them with no time for “quality planning”. When MHF is needed to make the right decision in crucial areas we have often witnessed them fumbling, whereby their initial decisions has to be reversed to redeem their intellectual pride. The list of poor decisions and calibre contributed to the Malaysian 1.3 million debts which we have to bear after hosting the Champions Trophy. Other MAJOR disaster is probably expected with the coming Junior World Cup next year. Profit sharing ideas has mushroomed and attracted previous enemies to be reunited as ally to ensure their intentions are protected. Failure by MHF to adhere to the bidding policy for the hosting job is another revelation of their thinking power and “practices”. Can the “2 genuine” Junior World Cup stadiums be constructed as promised to FIH? Or Malaysia’s image to the world as an “undeveloped sporting country” due the unprofessional practices is already cemented.

Going into the coming elections the “characters” should be considered seriously as the saying goes, “Leopards can’t loose their spots”. In every decision there is a complication in hand…well this is probably the side effect of putting one ahead of the game! The authorities would appear to have realised that they have been taken for a ride but the affiliates may not share the same opinion. If the kickback arrangement of “tour guide assignments” continues with the states affiliates, they would be more than happy to support this line-up. Never mind the development at their states. It is not an issue with the undelivered promises to help their states to develop hockey considering that this arrangement is good in the “I scratch your back, you scratch my back” strategy.

The affiliates hold the key and they are happy enjoying the situation. So what is going to happen if the same set-up wins the elections and remains in power? What are our options to save Malaysian hockey?

On a personal note it is better for the association to be deregistered looking at the provision provided by the relevant acts. NSC must stop funding and only essential funding for development purposes should be supported. Anyway it is the NSC that is doing the development for MHF all along and MHF have shirked their responsibility pushing MSSM to undertake it officially now. So be it if Malaysian hockey is omitted from the Olympic movement events! Rather than we accept their illusion promises and condoning to the malpractices. The PUBLIC’s INTEREST must the considered looking at the association’s accountability and credibility for the last 2 years.

Act 576




11. (1) The Commissioner shall have the following powers:

(c) to revoke or suspend the registration of a sports body.

Sports Development 15

(e) is hindering the development of the particular sport and it is in the public interest to revoke or suspend its registration;

(f) has failed or neglected to remedy any malpractice, misconduct or irregularity on the part of its office bearers or its members within the period specified in the written notice given by the Commissioner; or

(g) is inactive, unco-operative or obstructive in the implementation of the regulations, policies or guidelines made under or pursuant to powers under this Act.

The time is right for all authorities to join hands to redeem Malaysian’s pride and combat the issue to protect the game and public interest. Others like OCM can and should contribute by playing their part to help us see the light. The true perspectives of things must be understood before we jump the gun should MHF be suspended.

It would be rational that we put a stop to it rather than condoning to the association’s malpractice and spend millions of public funds knowing that we have already reached the dead-end.

Restructure and rebuild for the future would be the right thing to pursue as Malaysian hockey is already dead for the next 4 years!

All parties must support the TM interest to lead MHF should we choose not to let the 1st option taking place. The “TM option” would appear to the best hope and probably the only hope looking at the calibre of the current set-up.

A new line-up shall be inevitable!

Malaysia Boleh!"

With MHF going through the "Dark Ages", why should someone be interested in coming into MHF? It obviously takes a person with guts, passion and above all the ideals to ensure Malaysian hockey can be saved. Therefore can TM be the person?

On his own it is near impossible. TM needs a team but that is where he may be caught out. Vested interest parties are already marketing their candidates. All are doing it in the name of "Saving Malaysian hockey". This also includes the Affiliates, most of whom have done nothing over the last 2 years and then as the election draws nearer they become "power brokers". Similarly too are some of the incumbents who have switched allegiance in the hope to remain in power.

If there is an advice i can give TM as he ponders whether he can be the "saviour" of Malaysian hockey. is to get into the "Hockey Agenda" and see for himself what he is getting into. Then he must see the line-up and determine whether most of the incumbents and affiliates also want to remain. By this time TM would be able to determine the truth of Malaysian hockey personalities i.e Public or Personal interest.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

MCA in "schizophrenic" behaviour while FTCA pays the price.

"Schizophrenic" behaviour means that there is a dual personality. Is this evident of Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA)? I ask this question because of the strings of "flipping and flopping" decisions they have made and in particular to the recent game between Federal Territory (FT) and Selangor.

This is not only related to the incident between the Umpires, FT players and a key MCA official but also the aspect of who won the game. A few days after the game, an MCA Committee decided that the game should be awarded to FT, notwithstanding the fact the Umpires had called off the match due to certain circumstances. For the story see my blog dated 3rd September 2008 titled: MCA - Lack of Professionalism.

Based on the initial decision, FT should have been the Champions of the National League. Then the "schizophrenic" behaviour of MCA came into play and they reversed the decision. As a result they became runners-up. Obviously MCA may have had their reasons but their "flip flop" action does not speak much of them. The 1st Committee that made the decision were all members of the MCA Exco and what is peculiar is that the Chairman of Competition Committee for health reasons requested a fellow Exco member to be the acting Chairman. Yet, when the Committee met, he participated in it with the acting Chairman and the Vice President who is in-charge of Development.

Despite the presences of MCA "heavyweights" in the Committee, strangely MCA decided that there is a need to reconsider the matter. Strange as it may seem, MCA changed their mind and the overall results also changed. The question is WHY ?

Speculation on the matter points to the incident relating to the 2 FT players, the key MCA official and the Umpires. The FT players and the MCA official were conducting verbal assaults
on the Umpires when they made their initial decision on the match and thereafter the final decision. The onslaught of verbal abuses thrown by the FT Captain and a Senior player showed the total lack of sportsmanship and discipline. The matter became absolutely chaotic when the key MCA official also joined the arsenal of "verbal garbage" which they were directing at the umpires. I am told what was very shocking is that one of the Umpires is a full time staff of MCA. One wonders how this MCA official can face the staff as he had humiliated him and his colleague.

People who were present felt that the other FT players were "dumb founded" while the Team Manager was in a state of shock as though he was shot by a "stun" gun. Any visitor to the field that day must have gone back thinking that cricket cannot be a gentleman's game.

Days later despite the Umpires' report and the Team Managers' report, MCA had the audacity to discuss the matter at the Finance Committee meeting. I wonder whether this was done because MCA was looking at what liabilities they have to face for the ugly behaviour of their key official. The only explanation is probably MCA have strange ways of doing things. Whatever it may be the initial information was the whole matter had been resolved and that is the end of the story.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Federal Territory Cricket Association (FTCA) is made up of professionals i.e lawyers and their conscience dictates that the whole fiasco at the ground needs to be investigated. FTCA felt it was only proper an inquiry be held and I think this must have shaken the backbone of a few people including the MCA official. It is about this time that MCA decided to review their earlier decision on the game. At the same time the issue of the FT players and Umpires was also being revisited by MCA. Why the sudden change of mind by MCA?

Anyone who had been following what has been happening in MCA over the last year would realise that the philosophy of "I scratch your back and you scratch my back" is the way things are done in MCA. FTCA seems to have departed from it notwithstanding the fact that the MCA official has very close connection with most of the FTCA office bearers. This is the price FTCA has to pay for the professional basis of running their Association including having to tolerate the "flip flop" decisions relating to the national league.

FTCA must be admired and congratulated for doing the right thing. They are bringing order and discipline to the game rather then allowing it become a "cancer" to sports. I salute the officials of FTCA and I hope others would take a leaf from FTCA's book and follow suit.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

MHF incumbents jostling for positions and Affiliates maybe made fools again.

The election fever has caught up with MHF. At the September MHF Council meeting the President and Deputy President had mutually agreed between themselves that whoever has the highest nomination shall become the President. Something that does not confirm to the MHF Constitution and it would seem that both of them are attempting to "fool" the Affiliates.

Something the Affiliates had not protested, thereby providing an indication that they have no objection. Other than 1 or 2 members of the Council the other Affiliates are "tight-lip" to voice their opinions. This is because of fear or a sense of obligation having earned an overseas trip or certain positions in the set-up. The sense of right or wrong is not part of the Affiliates agenda.

Yet the Affiliates have now become part of the "politicking" as the nomination process has began on 1st.October. The Deputy President's Director of Elections is just back from the so called successful Hamburg Masters. Apparently they are swinging into full action to woo the Affiliates. The Deputy President has the resources and influence but will the Affiliates trust him this time. Many Affiliates felt short changed following the 2006 elections where the promises had not been fulfilled. Grant of RM$5000 and 500 hockey sticks were to be delivered to the Affiliates. It has yet to arrive and some of the Affiliates are wondering whether it is still stuck in the delivery system after 2 years.

Insofar as the President, the silence is deafening. Everyone is wondering who is promoting him as he seem to have gone on complete silence. Incidentally, i am told that in MHF nobody wants to be referred as the President's men. Having served 2 terms in MHF, of which one term as Deputy President and recently as President, it seem that the President is struggling to secure any form of support.

The issue of seeking positions is not only with the current President or Deputy President. The others in the Exco are also jostling for power. Apparently the General Secretary and a Vice President has been making their rounds to seek affiliation with various parties to remain in power. Then there are the other Vice Presidents barring the ones who constitutionally shall be there, are also using their influence to be in power. Meantime, Chairman of the Coaching Committee and the National Coach may make into one of the line-up for Vice President.

This is the Exco that has been responsible for the slide and deteriorating standard in Malaysian hockey. Yet! they are jostling for power. Maybe they feel they have not done enough damage to Malaysian hockey. Another 2 years would be about the time for these people to finally make hockey an "endangered" species in Malaysian sports.

All this is only possible because of the Affiliates. It is their votes that will allow the incumbents to be re-elected. Therefore the people who are going to ensure the demise of hockey in Malaysia is no other than the Affiliates. Strange but eventually the Affiliates themselves would have to fold up as hockey loses its glamour status in Malaysian sports.

Jostling for position and power is essentially fulfilling once own greed especially when the personalities concern lack the passion and commitment. They want to be there for the glamour, power, monies, travel and whatever goodies that come along. Doing the hard work like having a proper Master Plan and regularly resetting it, a good Development Programme, developing Coaches and Officials with IT knowledge and above all promoting a "value" system that inculcates good governance is not part of their DNA. Seriously the incumbents do not have the slightest knowledge of how to undertake them. They tag along and permit by default outsourcing their role to NSC, who have undertaken most of the things. If it was not for NSC, hockey is all about history in Malaysian sports.

So Affiliates of MHF, for the sake of hockey and the nation, please do the right thing. Put "service above self" and ensure that deserving people are put into MHF. Do not be caught up with the rhetoric of the incumbents unless you all want to go down in history as the people who ensured of the "death"of Malaysian hockey.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Well Done! Runners-up at Hamburg. Should we be proud of Malaysian hockey?

There is no doubt that the National Coach was very determined that his team performs well at the Hamburg 4 Nation Tournament. Malaysian hockey needed it, and more so the National Coach, the Chairman of Coaching Committee and the Deputy President. They have been going through a torturous time since Malaysia's failure to qualify for World Cup, Beijing Olympics and a series of other poor performance including Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy. Poor performances on the field, allegations of match fixing and money lending, plus the fiasco related to the bidding for Junior Hockey World Cup have all created a bad image for MHF.

Coming in as runners-up at Hamburg must have been a great relief for these personalities. Mind you, a draw with Olympic Champions Germany and another draw with Asian giants Pakistan must also be a great confidence boost for the players. To top it off, they thrashed Belgium 6-2, an Olympic qualifier. What an achievement!

Seriously, with such results we must be proud of our boys, coaches and administrators. All the cries of dismal performance of the Malaysian team seems to be just an exercise of people venting their frustration.

But: All this excitement came to an abrupt end when I was duly informed that the other teams were using Juniors and uncapped players. I knew that the other teams were on a rebuilding strategy, mixing their older players with the inexperienced younger players. The extent of this is what that disappointed me in being runners-up. Germany were literally on a 50:50 ratio of experienced players to Juniors.Indeed. in most of their games they had utilised a higher proportion of Juniors. Pakistan had 5 uncapped players combined with a far greater percentage of Juniors. Insofar as Belgium, it seemed to be a Junior team.

So were we doing an"apple to apple" comparison? In effect we cannot overpraise our boys, coaches or administrators. A full national side with fair number of experienced players were taking on teams that were rebuilding with majority Junior and inexperienced players. How can we take pride of the 2 draws and the massive win?

This is where the coach and the administrators should have carefully thought and planned what sort of team to sent to Hamburg. If they had sufficient "grey matter", they should have blended the team with Seniors and Juniors as a basis of exposure. This would have helped the Juniors and at the same time started a rebuilding exercise to replace our older players. MHF thoroughly and evidently lacks the foresight; but equally shocking is how NSC also commits the full expenditure without questioning the overall strategy and purpose of the tournament.

It seems when MHF makes any request, NSC just readily "rubber stamps" it. Perhaps NSC is just prepared to spent the monies without understanding what is going on. Indeed it would be worthwhile to see what MHF had put in their paper to NSC to justify the trip for the Hamburg tournament. It would be even more interesting to determine if NSC entered into a dialogue or discussion with MHF to ensure the trip is justifiable. I honestly would be surprised if NSC did that!

Therefore being runners-up at Hamburg is a "hollow" victory. In years to come people would not realise that the other teams were with rebuilding squads. So the statistics would look good until we get involved in tournaments that make a difference i.e qualifiers for World Cup or Olympics. We will then wonder why we did well in tournaments like Hamburg and yet fared badly on the ones that matter. When that situation rolls around, we would only end up regretting the shortsighted planning.

Seriously, insofar as the current people who manage MHF are concerned, please do not expect anything from them. Can things truly stoop any lower than to be given glowing reports on performance in tournaments that are used for "rebuilding"purpose by world class teams. Is the MHF trying to say that Malaysia not worthy enough to to compete on a level basis?

Further, I do hope that there is a better sense of judgment and purpose in NSC before they approve expenditures on MHF's request. NSC has to re look and reorganise their thinking if they really want to lift Malaysian hockey to world standards.

Sad as it is: We may have 'done well' in the tournament, but we paid for the victory with our national pride.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Blind support by NSC for MHF and they are taking it for granted..

There are various ways of employing people.There are those who are full-time employees and working directly for the employer.Others are similar except for a specified period and they are sometime referred to as contract staff or as those on service contract

Then there are others who are full-time employees, maybe even contractual, and they are seconded to another place. For all purpose you can regard them as staff of the place where they are seconded but legally they are employees of the original employer.

You may wonder why i am making such distinction and the purpose? It is about NSC and their relationship with National Sports Association, in particular Malaysian Hockey Federation(MHF).

In my previous article dated 28th.September.2008 titled: MHF - "Seated comfortably in their positions", I indicated that the principal financier of MHF is NSC. NSC pays for all the coaches with the various National Teams and the necessary Consultants. This article is not about the extent of NSC's funds that is put into hockey, but rather of the personalities who are on NSC's payroll. The ones who I am talking about are the Coaches and the Consultants.

I use the term "NSC's payroll" because those who had the opportunity of reviewing MHF's financial statements would let you know that the Coaches and Consultants are paid directly by NSC and the monies are not routed through MHF. Therefore for all purposes they are employees of NSC. While that cannot be denied but the recommendation for their appointment comes from MHF. This is where the situation becomes hazy i.e who takes responsibility?

NSC cannot say they are not responsible because the Coaches and Consultants are on their payroll. Really, the only thing that NSC can argue is that they pay them, but they are effectively on secondment to MHF, because MHF wanted them to be appointed. This sort of argument can never end. The issue here is both are responsible and it should not be a question of pointing fingers.

This is the sort of confusion that goes on. In the past Coaches and Officials play one of the other by trying to get MHF and NSC entangled. This is not healthy for the sport. More so now with the dismal performance of the various National Teams. Indeed questions are asked: "Why is NSC tolerating and paying for all these Coaches and Consultants despite the string of poor performances?". Similarly too, questions are being asked on NSC blindly funding the National Team to Hamburg 4 Nation tournament when the overall strategy of the trip is not known. This is especially as the other teams would be with their rebuilding squads.

Part of the reason NSC cannot effectively take position on Malaysian hockey despite their substantial assistance is because of the sacrosanct principle attached to government interference into sports. The other is that NSC is in a "Catch 22" situation. If they leave it to MHF, hockey would get even worse. NSC's presences in a way helps to put some form of pressure and that is probably as far as they can go.

Many may not agree as NSC and MSSM has taken over most of MHF's role including grassroot development. As mentioned in an earlier article the people in MHF are sitting comfortably as most of the work and funding have been outsourced. Therefore there is no pressure on them other than spending other peoples' funds. This is where NSC should get tougher and start denying them funds unless they can proof by performance of the teams. The pressure they put on MHF can get the "comfy" positions "hot" as MHF has to go out and find the funds. This would ensure that those who are prepared to work and have the passion for the game would find the place in MHF. So long as NSC continues its blind support, nothing will change in MHF.