Thursday, June 4, 2009

A plea to the TM on Malaysian hockey.

This time last year, the backdrop of Malaysian hockey started with the National team being embroiled in the "match fixing" allegations, despite their fairly satisfactory performance at 2008 Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy and a year earlier at the Asia Cup. Their failure to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games literally sealed the fate of the people connected to the senior team. Concurrently the Juniors disaster of the European tour in 2008, including struggling with minnow nations in hockey and the follow on disappointments at the Junior Asia Cup in Hyderabad in 2008 stitched the fate of the key personalities running the team. The decay of Malaysian hockey was further exemplified with another disastrous outing of the National Under 16 to Germany in 2008.

The above issues are mainly performance related and, incorporating the poor management skills of the previous regime, aided and abetted the call for change in MHF. Many groups were involved but the one that ignited the spark was the anonymous letters laced with certain strong and "wild" language from "Chintahoki" that snowballed the interest of a lager audience in the hockey fraternity. The group that catalysts the process was the "102 former hockey internationals" with their open letter and their signature campaign. Supported by internationals from 1956 Melbourne Olympics to present time, they came up with a nearly 100 page of Report relating to the transformation of Malaysian. The core aspect of the Report is the "Road Map" to revive the doldrums of Malaysian hockey.

When the change in MHF seem eminent, many got involved from the top to the bottom, wanting a piece of the action. There is no doubt that the Sultan of Perak, the Chairman of Sports Advisory Committee, some outstanding former national coaches and national managers ( i literally mean outstanding) and the "102" Group became the instrument of change. Of course one cannot forget the role of "Chintahoki".

Today there are many, including those who have blamed various parties, going around claiming credit that they were the instrument that brought the change. I think that is OK, provided they can ensure that there is a major upliftment in our standard of hockey. Sadly, other than being around the corridor with the powerful, rich and famous, they are even unable to deliver in the areas they are supposedly to be responsible. Many live on past history, to glorify themselves so as they remain recognise and respected.

Many in the previous MHF regime became "turncoats" and "jumped ship". Substantial numbers survived by being present in the new regime.What is known popularly as the phrase "leopards seldom change their spots", their presences in MHF still reflects some of the past stigma of decay. It was very unfortunate that the TM played it very democratically and did not enter into MHF with a team. Probably, he did not want to split MHF into cliques but rather wanted it "intact". It maybe a sound way of looking at things but does it achieve the desired results?

Today we are ranked 16th in the world i.e one step lower than last year, the Juniors are not going to achieve their target of quarterfinals, thereby probably putting pressure on the position at the Junior World Cup. The "swine fever" has camouflaged the capability of the National Under 18, having withdrawn from their German tournament. The Under 18 performance with Singapore Juniors. considered a minnows hockey nation is not really a reflection of the strength of of our team. German tournament would have shown the true colours.

Therefore, the TM must be aware after 7 months at the helm of MHF, he must realise that overall we are worse of than where we were. This is the plain truth and we cannot deny the fact. I have no doubt that the period is 7 months and it is a short time but looking at how things are progressing there seems to be still darkness at the end of the tunnel. Any rays of hope seem to be withering away.

From the onset I think too much was expected. I have no doubt that as President, the TM is concerned and working hard to get things moving. The problem is the people in MHF, for they lack the Vision, Commitment, Discipline, Endurance and above all the Strength to undertake drastic changes to re engineer MHF with new blood, innovative and capable people with a culture that embodies sporting ideals with corporate and scientific breeding.

Excellence breeds excellence. Unfortunately, TM please look around the people in MHF. Are they of that breed? Barring a very very few people, TM must know that is what is lacking. Proposal have been given to the TM and yet they are allowed to collect dust. Lets get the changes and bring the right sort of people into MHF and rebuild Malaysia into a great hockey nation. TM you can do it and I believe there are many outside who would support you.

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