His first outing with the Juniors was the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL). Even before the league could commence, he loss some of the players to the various clubs. Still he was brave enough to participate. Some may wonder whether it was "dutch courage" or plain "madness".
With a depleted team, there was nothing much to talk about the Juniors. However what was troubling was the young team could not match the efforts of the "older" teams such as Maybank and Sapura. Other than providing some form of exposure to the players, I do not believe the Juniors achieved anything concrete. I state this because the issue of "fitness" still was a perennial problem and apparently continued to do so on the Australian tour.
In preparation for the Junior World Cup in June 2009, there were certain administrative changes made. The former national coach i.e the German became the Coordinator, the coach and the assistant remained the same. The new team manager is a Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association Vice President and the attachment coach is from TNB. The selection was made by the Team Management Committee (TMC), obviously without carefully thinking.
Why a coordinator? The answer was actually provided by the players and that is , the coordinator is actually coaching the boys. Therefore the national junior coach seem to be only in name and for public consumption. Apparently this sort of style has been happening in the past but the German coach was usually a consultant. The term consultant does not provide an effective role and that is probably why the term coordinator was introduced. I am told that if you get to the training ground, the perception and reality can be easily distinguished. So why this charade? Probably the TMC can provide the answer.
When I mentioned that the TMC did not undertake their task properly, i meant that they have made a number of decisions that would put MHF in "bad light". One of it is appointing coaches who do not have any certificates. The height of craziness was also contributed by the Chairman of the Coaching Committee, when he indicated that these coaches shall be given 6 months to get their certificates. So the attachment coach with the Juniors who does not have the "papers" have to get his qualification while serving the Juniors, Interesting also that the Junior World Cup shall take place in 5 months. Poor coach, he has 2 tasks and which is he going to concentrate. When he gets his "papers", the Junior World Cup is over. Why such desperate acts of decision making? Is it "window dressing"? Maybe there are insufficient qualified coaches and that's why the desperation. Perception versus realities.
Back to the Juniors. Having participated in the MHL and then having centralised training before their departure to Australia, the Junior Coach then comes up with his excuses for the "not so good" outing. The excuses were
- Lack of fitness
- 10 players were benched as the tournament was Under 20
It would seem that the Junior coach can only stretch his imagination to such excuses. If so why was a fitness test not conducted by ISN before the trip? Why participate in a tournament where half your team is already grounded before the tournament?
Strangely, why was this issue not considered by the TMC. Even more confusing was NSC's lack of commitment to determine that the funds they provided for such tours can be justified. Honestly, this trip by the Juniors is a total waste of funds and both MHF and NSC must take full responsibility.
In reality. i think we are going to be disappointed with the Juniors. Peculiar, at the end of the day the coordinator would walk away freely while the poor coach and the team manager may get the "sticks". This is the price one pays for allowing such perception to exist.