The Sports Minister and the President of MHF were of the view that fitness is a problem with the national juniors after watching them play the 3/4th placing match at the 4 Nation tournament at Johor Baru. Fitness an issue? After all the centralised training and with the input from Institute Sports Negara (ISN). What else can be done to redeem this perennial situation?
Post mortem after post mortem, years after years, we are bugged by this fitness issue. We have the expert in the form of coaches, consultants, trainers from NSC and ISN, yet we seem to succumb to the failure of fitness. WHY?
Maybe because we change our coaches and team management so often that the past problems are forgotten. If it is not that then the people in NSC and ISN maybe wrongly grading the players i.e they may not be game fit but maybe generally fit. If so, our experts in both NSC and ISN have to review their tests and evaluation techniques to ensure that our players are game fit.
Indeed I have been told a story and how upset the junior coach was when the MHF secretariat messed it up. Apparently as early as October/November 2008, the Juniors planned to undergo military training in Lumut in February 2009. The reason being that the national junior coach comes from a school of thought, who believes in this traditional training to make the boys fit and tougher. In fact in certain quarters, this has become a joke as the coach does not fully support the idea of weight and gym training with the experts. The truth of this I have not verified.
The MHF secretariat in its usual style overlooked in making the arrangement and left the Juniors stranded. A planned activity was derailed and this left the coach fuming and disgusted. This is not the only thing the coach had to suffer. He also had to bail out his assistant coach who has not been paid for nearly 8 to 9 months by MHF. It would seem neither the secretariat nor the Team Management Committee (TMC) took active interest to resolve the assistant coach predicament. The NSC was well aware of it and despite promises by them, it all remain unfulfilled.
The worst enemies to the Juniors were MHF themselves. If they cannot organise the planned activity of the Juniors and even the salary of its assistant coach, how do you expect the best from these people. The way the Juniors have been treated is as though they are a "step child" of MHF. The full support is lacking from MHF including the supervision of the training and tactical methodology. If the relevant committees had got into the act when they were appointed and did their respective work, the issue of fitness could have been known much earlier. The problem is none of the Committees are complimenting one another to work for the better performance of Malaysian hockey.
MHF has become a dysfunctional entity and everyone is pulling it in different directions. The TM as President seems to be giving the officials the freedom to do their work and I believe they are abusing it, either by not doing it or undertaking things at their own whims and fancies. There seem to be many agendas among some of these official and unfortunately all of it is working against the progress of hockey. The TM came into MHF as an individual and he, on his own, is probably facing the accumulation of problems created by the same people over the past few years and are continuing with it even now. With time the TM would probably recognise it but would it be too late for Malaysian hockey by then. Just as fitness is to the Juniors.