Friday, July 31, 2009

Malaysian Hockey Poll - "Who is to be blamed on Malaysia's humiliating defeat of 11-3 by Australia?"

Today i have set up a poll site on the right hand corner of my blog with the following question:

"The humiliating defeat of 11-3 by Australia on Malaysia recently reinforces the continuous decay of Malaysian hockey. Who is to be blamed?"

There are multiple choices so kindly think about it carefully before you vote.

The poll results shall be made public and all those who participate may be playing a role in ensuring that MHF gets to know the feeling of the hockey fraternity.

This is important as the TM being President of MHF can start to plan the next course of action to arrest the decay and lift Malaysian hockey to a formidable international level.

Kindly ask as many of your friends to participate in this poll.

Thank you.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

11-3 defeat of Malaysia in hockey is diificult to "stomach"

Records are meant to be broken, usually to better one's performance, at least under normal circumstances. However, when Australia literally "whacked" Malaysia 11-3 at the 3-nation tournament at Melbourne, it must have sent "sparks of shock and disappointment" to all our officials both in Australia and Malaysia.

The results obviously have not broken a record but rather created a "new" one ie Malaysia's worst hockey defeat. More so, the opposition went into double digit, pretty much giving the impression that Malaysian hockey has registered itself in the "minnows" league of hockey nations. It would mean Australia scored a goal for each of their players.

Why such a devastating nightmare the players and officials have to go through? Just a few days earlier they "shocked" Australia by winning 1-0. Much earlier they were thrashed 8-1. Why the inconsistency?

The imaginary boundaries of many have gone into "mental gymnastics" providing sufficient speculation from players' revolt to incompetent team officials to Malaysia not having the material to compete with the best. The knives would be out to carve whatever reasons but the starting point is our international hockey has taken a drastic "beating". Be it Seniors or Juniors, the position does not give any "hope" for the future.

We can change the players, the coaches or the team managers but the point is whether we have a realistic outlook of what we are actually doing to ensure that we have talents or create talents to provide the "supply. Years and years of talking plus development programmes that were not carefully designed to be sustainable, added with the lack of good state and national leagues is a reflection of the decaying malaise that have got into hockey over the years.

All this is compounded by inactive Affiliates who become the core decision makers, without realising what disservice they are doing to the nation's hockey. It is not unusual to see the same old faces appear over and over year in and year out in MHF and yet they do not do anything in their state nor at national level. Their greatest role is to become part of the groups that "politic", bicker and allow their votes to be used for the wrong people for the various positions.

If an organisation is infested with such people and activities, we shall never get anything properly done, rather the whole scenario also starts to seep to the field. Therefore discipline issues among players become a bothering matter that is allowed to fester greater problems because of the lack of decisive actions. Decisive actions cannot be made because everything is built on"scratching the back" concept ie everthing is compromised.

Malaysian hockey is paying the price of years of dsyfunctional actions of MHF in the past and sadly the TM is unfortunately caught as he came in when the "bubble" was starting to crack. I hope he realises it and starts the change that is much needed for the future of Malaysian hockey..

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rumours that Mike is the GM of MHF.

During the last MHF Council Meeting, the Secretary of MHF made an announcement that former hockey international and one time Vice Captain of the national team, Maninderjit Singh or popularly known as Mike is to become the General Manager of MHF.

This obviously seems to be an official announcement following rumours around the time of the Junior World Cup that he was already appointed. I then did draw caution in my blog to the possibility of the "slip between the cup and the lips" and interestingly I was proven right. Much later MHF posted an advertisement for the post. Maybe they wanted to be transparent in their appointment.

Sources indicate that there were not too many applicants for the post. There were indications that about 8 people applied for the post including Mike. It is rumoured that a known media personality was also one such applicant. Interviews were conducted by a panel headed by the Deputy President and a shortlist of the recommended candidates was forwarded for a final decision. The fact that Mike is to be the GM, must mean that he was the selected candidate.

Mike is joining MHF during a period i categorise as "interesting times". He has a challenging task and the question is whether certain "forces" would allow him to function properly. Envy, jealousy, revenge, vengeance and other negative superlatives would be in interplay to make his life difficult. People are going to feel threatened, if Mike is able to do a good job. It is going to be interesting to hear the gossip and the results that are going to emerge out of MHF after Mike starts his work.

I do not want to predict anything except to wish Mike the very best of luck in his endeavours in MHF. He must know that people are watching every step and every move he makes. Everything is going to be seen "microscopically" and various stories shall emerge, right and wrong.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Dutch connection to spice KL Razak Cup squad.

6 months ago a Dutch couple decided to leave their homeland to bring "live" hockey matches to the doorsteps of Asians especially in Malaysia. They set up and this portal was to serve that very purpose. Technical glitches and the lack of commitment due to the failure to be in listening mode has made this couple reappraise their presences here. They had expectations but they found some of the truth the hard way.

Not at all remorse, this couple remain as excited as ever when hockey is the topic. They are no other than Jaap Suyk and his wife. Jaap has been a coach for nearly 25 years and now given the opportunity to handle the KL Razak Cup squad is permitting him to get into the "thick" of Asian hockey.

Obviousl;y, Jaap is going to enjoy every moment of it and with the "downs" he had been going through lately, this may provide the right dose to lift his spirits. I am sure there would be more avenues open for his services in Malaysia.

Good Luck Jaap.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hockey Poll on MHF & New Affiliates: "A clarion call for the future."

On Sunday 19th July 2009, i undertook a poll on my blog based on the following question:

"Should MHF's Constitution permit other organisations, who can contribute to Malaysian hockey development to become Affiliates."

After the completion of 7 days i.e today, I have withdrawn the polls from the blog. I believe sufficient time has elapsed and it is important that the polls should not be dragged on as 7 days seems to be sufficient time.

The overall results are as follows:
  • Total number of votes: 113 - 100%
  • Total no "YES" votes : 109 - 96%
  • Total no "NO" votes : 4 - 4%

There seems to be a huge call (96%) for MHF to ensure that new Affiliates are permitted to be admitted to MHF.

This is important for the future of Malaysian hockey that organisations like TNB, Sapura, EY, Maybank, BSN, Telecoms, various Universities and many others should be made new Affiliates with full rights.

The wider spectrum of membership brings with it broader creative thinking plus culture, which is a much needed necessity in the current predicament of Malaysian hockey.

Please TM, the opportunity is here for your kindself to stamp a legacy that would take Malaysian hockey into quantum leap in the international hockey arena. We cannot miss this opportunity and TM you are the right person to ensure of it. It is in your hands TM.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hockey Polls on Australia vs Malaysia matches

Please visit and participate on the polls on the expected results of the hockey matches between Australia and Malaysia.

Having gone down badly with a 8-1 thrashing on the first game, Malaysia has to do something for the next game. Any predictions?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A news portal on Asian hockey - Hockey-Asia

The only news portal for Asian hockey is: I am a regular visitor to the site and it is one way of updating myself with the latest news in Asian hockey. It also provides a comprehensive cover to Malaysian hockey and indeed some of the news tend to be the very latest, probably the first with it.

Part of my reason to highlight this portal is that they are carrying out a Poll and the participation of hockey lovers would greatly help the portal in moving further forward. I am sure your indulgence would be most appreciated by the portal.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why do some Affiliates of MHF wait for 8 months to contemplate undoing possible wrongs in MHF?

In MHF, most of the Affiliates are what i refer to as "sleeping giants". What i mean by this, is that they are most of the time asleep and only awake when canvassed by certain parties to undertake a major task. Just like the "Mexican wave" these Affiliates would automatically react based on the prevailing sentiment. Thereafter if no one continues creating the "waves", the Affiliates are quite contented to pursue their "hibernation". In reality, this is the benchmark of most of the Affiliates.

More annoying with their style is that they wait for an appropriate moment to make known their views ie when the "chips" are down eg. when the various national teams do not perform to expectation. Until then they do not make recommendations or suggestions or even complaints. They take the view that MHF should be given enough rope to "hang" themselves with whatever decisions they have made. They somehow seem to be importing a"political style" approach into sports organisation.

Indeed it was rumoured that some Affiliates were going to use the issues related to the appointment of coaches and team managers as a means of attempting to bring a "motion of no confidence" against the current leadership in MHF. In fact, some indicate it was supposed to be more related to the Deputy President, who had undertaken certain functions that have become questionable. Whatever it may be, it is absolutely a "dumb founded" idea, if people had even contemplated it.

Firstly, the appointments were undertaken by the Team Management Committee (TMC). How the TMC was set-up and constituted, boggles everyone. The TMC was apparently not endorsed at the Congress or at the Council and probably has given rise to the present problem. Still the Management Committee has the powers to delegate its day to day functions and maybe that is where the TMC may have derived its role.

Even if its formation and how it was constituted may be questionable but then all these took place in January 2009 and a significant time had passed before certain parties choose to make it an issue. More so as there were Council Meetings and other meetings where such issues could have been raised. If any, the appointments by the TMC was endorsed by the Council.

There is no doubts that wrongs must not be left unattended or not rectified. Therefore the TMC's formation and how people were selected is an issue. It was a issue in January 2009 and maybe in February and pushing luck till March. However, during these period, nothing was raised or done on the issue as most of the concerned Affiliates were "happy go lucky" including some being preoccupied with their involvement in the Junior World Cup. In fact i was one of those who raised it in my blog and yet there was a total lack of interest by anyone to pursue matters. With time the Affiliates had acquiesce the existence of the TMC and the appointments they had made.

So why should some of the Affiliates "cry over spilled milk?". The reason being some "smart chap" felt the poor performance of the Senior and Junior teams provided enough ammunition to solicit support to make a case out of such issues. An act that seems to carry flavours of revenge and vengeance.

The rationale for this argument is built on the premise of a view that people in the TMC and some who were appointed into various positions were instrumental in removing certain parties from MHF in the last BGM. The wounds have yet to heal and the "open cut" provides sufficient reminders that something must be down. It is all about grievances and not hockey that drives people to adopt "an eye for an eye" approach to settle the score.

The weak link in the TMC would be the Chairman of the Coaching Committee. The Chairman of the Coaching Committee had apparently endorsed the appointments without referring to his Committee. Further the make-up of his Committee may not have met the constitutional requirements and some of the Chairman's decisions may infringe the principles of natural justice. If there is truth in the preceding lines then there is a case to pursue but then why wait 8 months. Even more confusing is some of these Affiliates had endorsed the appointments at a Council meeting.

In all these the TM could have become a victim of the people who are greedy for power and would manipulate matters to take advantage of the prevailing scenario ie when MHF is at its lowest ebb. Obviously, they miscalculated and did not realise the TM's strength, which is his genuine interest and intent to uplift Malaysian hockey.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Polls to determine the need for new Affiliates to MHF

I have created a Poll site (right hand column of my blog) for people to participate, so that we can determine whether there is a sentiment among hockey lovers that MHF's constitution should accommodate new Affiliates who could help in the development of hockey in the country.

This is being done in the hope it provides a yardstick of the thinking of the hockey fraternity, so as MHF can take it aboard in their consideration to uplift the hockey standard, so that we can be a formidable force in international hockey.

Kindly encourage as many of your friends to participate

Thank you.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

TM becomes the "shield" for many in MHF seeking protective cover, while some Affiliates may have an Agenda for the coming Council meeting.

As previously highlighted, the TM was roped into MHF to change its fortune. He came without a team but continued with the existing "baggage" that existed in MHF. This is something that surprises me till today but it is probably his regal nature that makes everyone feel wanted and motivated to deliver. Essentially, it would seem the TM did not want to create a "cult" or "clique". We have to admire the TM for this.

There is no doubt that the TM's intention is honourable and in a short time he has achieved quite a bit. TM is slowly getting MHF's coffers filled, has ensured that the controversial nature of organising the Junior World Cup and associated issues were undertaken properly plus bailed out Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) by organising the Asia Cup in Kuantan. TM also got a Korean car manufacturer through its distributor to donate 2 cars for MHF use.

On the game side he met the various national teams and offered incentives for the teams to perform. At most of the key matches, the TM would be present, cheering on the players. There was no shortage of support from the TM. However MHF is not a "one man show" and it is asking too much to expect everything from the TM. The important question is whether the other office bearers around him are delivering their portion of work in an expeditious and proper manner.

This is where it is interesting to see how the Chairman of the Coaching Committee and the National Team Managers deflect answers to questions on various aspects including using the TM as a "shield". These people in the course of their respective functions have come under severe criticism and whether it is justifiable or not is a discussion for another forum. On the other side it must be recognised that "there is no smoke without fire" and what must be understood is whether such matters are trivial or of a significant nature to warrant such criticism.

The Coaching Committee cannot rely on what happened in the past. "2 wrongs do not make a right". If the Constitution has expressly provided for certain matters, then the Chairman is duty bound to follow it unless he has obtained a waiver from the Council. In fact as Chairman of the Coaching Committee, he must properly advice the TM. Please appreciate that the TM is new to MHF and it is imperative that people around him in MHF must advice him properly.

On the other side, the Affiliates obviously knew that the anomalies existed with the Coaching Committee and did nothing much earlier. In their "normal calculative" style they awaited for the right moment i.e when MHF is on the slide, to make it an issue. Effectively the Affiliates adopted a "political stance", which is very unfortunate.

Rather than being constructive, the Affiliates have chosen a "war path", which only goes to show their true colours. The Affiliates should not wait for mistakes to be made. They must help MHF to avoid any pitfalls. Such preventative measures would work for the betterment of everyone including the Affiliates unless they have an "agenda".

Coming to the National Team Manager, there is a lot of "stick" on the discipline issues pertaining to some of the national players. Part of the problem lies with the fact that all the players involved in the incidences come from his club and this itself creates a conflict. Compounded with the unusually light punishment, it has not helped the situation.

Further as most of the national players are from his club team too, the Manager has held meetings with the players independent of the coaches and other team management staff. Again a very unusual action and in a way has created a sense of suspicion including defying attitudes by certain players on the coaches.

To add to this, the Team Manager provides the most absurd reason why the national team failed to achieve the target of being Champion in the Champion Challenge II. Believe it or not, it is because the players could not score or missed open goals. He further elaborated that now they know the problem, they are going to work on it for the World Cup qualifiers.

This is a shocking statement. I thought winning a game is all about scoring goals. I also thought the more goals you score and the less you let in would determine the winner. I wonder what were our players trained for in the years of centralised training at a high cost. Unless the Manager is sending out "morse code" to imply that the Coaches did not teach the players how to score or we do not have the right players for the team. Mind you!! it is an extremely "novel" excuse.

The TM being new to hockey has to live through all these sorts of excuses. In a way people may be of the impression that he is agreeable to such excuses and therefore put him in bad light.

The issue becomes of a greater magnitude when the various personalities ditch questions by stating they were appointed by the TM and will only resign if the TM requests. Firstly why talk of resignation unless one has a guilt complex. Secondly, if these people are doing things properly and if they feel their conscience tells them they are right, then such issues should not arise. Sometimes there are "skeletons" tugged away, which may be uncovered that may make people uncomfortable and as such all sorts of statements tend to be rattled . More importantly, the TM must not be used as a "shield" to cover their weakness.

These is where the Affiliates have a great role to play. The witch hunting must stop or not revenge or vengeance becomes the key operative nature in MHF.The Affiliates must put their heads together and provide the support to TM to change the destiny from its current sliding position in the international arena to one of progressive and purposeful approach. If this means changes are imminent, then they must be part of the change to re-engineer Malaysian hockey.

We cannot continue just based on historical perspective. The game has become fast and explosive but yet we are still thinking by sitting on "bullock carts". We are unable to appreciate the sense of change and the demands it has thrown open. There are different ways and means of doing things and we have to quickly adopt to this. The TM can appreciate this but the Affiliates must throw the ideas for him to move it forward and implement them. Unless we move in that direction, Malaysian hockey would be left behind.

It is fundamental that the Affiliates utilise the coming Council Meeting as a basis of change for the betterment of Malaysian hockey. It should not be a place to "cry over spilled milk" but rather to ensure policies are set that such matters do not repeat itself. More importantly, what has to be done is to change the thinking in MHF and bring a broader spectrum of Affiliates plus people, who can provide the much needed impetus for Malaysia to be a formidable force in international hockey.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Malaysian Hockey - " It is walking backwards."

MHF is at its lowest. After Champions Challenge II, we must accept that we shall move "backwards" from our current ranking of 15th to probably 17th or 18th. This is probably the first time we have got to this ranking and in a way it is historic. I am sure this is something that MHF would not have wanted.

When the last regime in MHF was unable to deliver, the TM was roped in to help to change the fortunes of MHF. TM in his usual style refused to bring in a "team" to assists him. TM probably did not want to be seen to give credence to any form of "clique" system to exists. He allowed the Affiliates to decide who should be elected without throwing support to any candidates. Save for the President and 1 Vice President, the rest were essentially from the old regime.

As i had repeated many times in my articles, "leopards cannot change their spots" and therefore keeping the majority of the old team intact, is the problem of MHF and TM. As in the past they do not have a clue of how to manage MHF. They essentially seem to be "bench warmers", whose interest seems to be to rub shoulders with VVIPs and VIPs plus enjoy the trips that come with the teams.

Equally, there are others in the hierarchy of MHF who have the intellectual ability but strangely this aspect is not seen to be displayed. Maybe they are there to lend a name or give creditability to MHF. Other than that it calls into question, why do they hold positions?

Very often when the national teams fail to perform or are unable to achieve their target, the Coaches and the players get the brunt of the onslaught from critics. What we forget is that the Coaches and players are there because the Officials are the ones who selected them. Somehow these Officials remain "blameless" and the axe tends to fall on the Coaches. What a paradox!

When we talk of Coaches, the thing that comes to mind is whether we have appropriately qualified coaches with the necessary success profile. If a club is swarmed with national players, even a rookie coach can deliver results. This unfortunately has clouded the decision making process of our officials.

The trouble here is that the Coaching Committee lacks the vision to produce highly qualified FIH coaches to work with the national teams. These coaches should also be sent to spend time with some of the good coaches with various premier clubs or national teams in Europe and/or Australia. This would broaden their horizon and provide a better outlook to their coaching task.

We had this opportunity with Paul Lissek being in this country over a period of 15 years. Ask ourselves how many coaches of FIH accreditation did we produce? How many coaches did we send on secondment for a few months? These acts of omission is the prize we are paying for on the long run ie 1975 - 4th to 2009 - 17th or 18th. Can you see how fast we have gone "backwards".

The other failure with the Coaching Committee was the failure in developing the right sort of coaches for helping in the development process of hockey. Today, it would seem anyone with a paper from the Coaching Committee could become a coach. This is irrespective of whether such a person has the passion or the knack to handle young kids. Many seek such qualifications because as teachers they get allowances to enhance their earnings.

The issue seems the same too with Development. If the Coaches do not have good talents to work within the high performance teams, then it must be the failure in the development process to provide such materials. Just take a look at what plans there are in place to be implemented by the current regime. Honestly after 8 months, nothing seems to have touched the ground.

Taking the large slice of the blame must be the Affiliates. Most of the Affiliates barring 2 or 3, do not have their own State Leagues. Even if they do have one, the participants do not constitute a serious outlook, rather they see it more as a recreational activity. Further the States also do not have their own Development programmes. In fact a great majority of the Affiliates exists in name and really have nothing much "hockey wise", yet they constitute MHF.

In view of such colossal failure on the ground, there is no "root" for "grass" to grow. Therefore "grassroot" development is just not there. Over the years as Affiliates failed to provide the "grassroots" for the hockey talents, MHF slotted in to take over the vacuum. Loaded with funds from NSC, through various programmes such as "Tunas Cemerlang", "Sukan Teras" and others, the nationwide development started. As fast as it got started, the programmes also went "cold" fast enough.

NSC & MHF intervention provided the right excuse for the Affiliates to forget their primary role ie to promote hockey at grassroots. Affiliates have failed while at national level the cumbersome process of undertaking development at nationwide brought it to a grinding halt. This was a "double whack" to kill development and as such talents which were part of the "supply chain" to the national teams have been derailed. A prize that Malaysia is paying heavily for at international hockey.

All these are a reflection of the way MHF is set up. Since hockey was introduced and MHF's existence, we have relied on the State Associations as Affiliates. This was a "time in memorial" decision simply because State Associations were the "kingpins" of hockey. All tournaments on nationwide basis whether schools, government services or police or Razak Cup were inter state. The States were then the "vehicle" for the promotion and growth of hockey. This effectively meant that the States had a stranglehold on MHF, which was rightfully justifiable.

The coming of the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) provided the catalysts to strangle the influence of States in the game. Banks, Armed Forces, Companies
Municipalities and State Foundations decided to be the main players. The MHL became the main tournament and in a way devalued the other tournament which was inter state basis. Lack of foresight, the leadership in MHF did not incorporate all the "new players" as Affiliates of MHF. The leadership hung on to the old set up in modern times.

The States felt that the only power they had was to determine who gets into MHF. They realised this is the only thing left for them and it is the most powerful tool which they were not prepared to dilute. Today's MHF in the main represents a dichotomy ie on the game it is the MHL teams while determining MHF's future it is the States. What a paradox, the active have no say but the inactive or less active can determine what happens.

There has been papers after papers stating what should be done including by the "102 former hockey internationals". Unfortunately, there is no "will" in MHF to implement its recommendations despite an early agreement to do so. If nothing is done Malaysian hockey's journey would be all about "walking backwards". For the moment we are doing it extremely well !!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

MHF - " All in a mess from office bearers to committees to affiliates."

This is what the detractors of MHF were awaiting. 4th place at Dublin for the senior National team, provides the "grinding stone" for them to sharpen their swords to take on the office bearers in MHF on their shortcoming. For 8 months many have shut their mouths and kept accepting the things MHF Management Committee and other MHF Committees were doing. Right or wrong, constitutional or unconstitutional, they just remained ambivalent to the happenings.

The swords were taken out after Sultan Azlan Shah tournament, Asia Cup and Junior World Cup. Many were not happy with the teams' performances and also with various other things that should have taken place. The Coaching Committee and the Umpires Board completely failed to ride on the FIH sanctioned tournaments to organise the respective courses. Their failure of not getting something done in at least 1 of the 3 tournaments was a highly negligent act by these Committees. Malaysian coaches and umpires could have had the opportunity to uplift their status in their respective arenas. MHF completely "flopped" to provide that platform.

While these Committees remained in "hibernation" stage, the question comes to mind what were the hierarchy of MHF doing? Fundamentally it boils down to a weak administration and the General Secretary must take the full rap . A good General Secretary in the mould of Datuk Vijiyanathan or the late S Satgunam would have reminded the President and the various Committee Chairmen of the need for organising such courses. It essentially reflects in the words of the "102 former hockey internationals" that MHF does not have the "right person in the right position".

The General Secretary is the "heartbeat" of any Sports Association and if he remains "dull or slow" in outlook, then the Association would face insurmountable consequences. This probably may explain the current scenario in MHF. I must say this has been the hallmark of MHF over the last 3 to 4 years.

It does not excuse the leadership particularly the TM. This is what surprises me about him. A sports loving Prince who generally cares about sports, yet seems to have a high degree of tolerance for the inefficiencies that prevails in MHF. Most of these are self-created by the officials and the TM seem very forgiving. It has come to a point when one wonders whether he is aware of it or such matters are not brought to his knowledge. The TM must appreciate that he is allowing people to speculate and whatever it is the "bug has to stop with him"

A good example is the issue of the players involved in "alcohol consumption". The 2 incidents, one with regard to training and the other with regard to the wee hours of the morning reflect the situation of discipline issues with the team.
The sad aspect is that MHF slapped them with a light punishment and left the quantum of fines with the team manager. It all boiled down to the issue of "gerrymandering" by officials to serve the interests of vested parties. The point being the TM seem to tolerate it knowingly or unknowingly.

The biggest single problem that MHF is facing is the lack of planning because of the failure of all their Committees to perform. The Development Committee seem totally "lost" as to what to do, Competition Committee does not know about other hockey events taking place before they put up their schedules, Coaching Committee is embroiled whether it should rightfully exists, Umpires Board seem not to have the interest in getting more Malaysian umpires to international class while the Team Management Committee (TMC) may not have the right to exist plus appoint the relevant coaches and officials.

All of that seem to give the impression of incompetency at MHF. This can only happen because the Affiliates themselves are the ones who make up most of the officials of MHF. Yet the current "detractors" in MHF who are some of these Affiliates must be blamed for what is happening. Interesting is that the detractors had permitted all these to happen over the last 8 months, without raising issues at the various Council meetings. It would seem that they must have an agenda to bring the issues when they think MHF is at its lowest.

The Affiliates must know that they are responsible for what is happening in MHF. They must share the success and failures but it would seem they are only interested in safeguarding themselves. They are just interested in themselves and being critical of MHF does not relieve them of their responsibilities. The Affiliates have to be pro-active and genuinely participate in MHF. They must understand the basic point and that is they make up MHF. Good or bad they are responsible. There are no 2 ways about it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A viewpoint from a seasoned foreign hockey expert on Malaysian & Asian hockey.

Hockey Asia was kind enough to pen me a note which i am permitted to reproduce. It is interesting for it provides an "outsider's" view of certain modus operandi of MHF and AHF.

They have some good ideas that would have helped Malaysian and Asian hockey but they had to face the mammoth task of interacting with people having antiquated outlooks. This unfortunately is a common phenomenon and is best summed up by a Polish philosopher that: "introducing the new is not a real problem but it is getting rid of the old that makes things difficult".

This probably explains Hockey Asia's "misadventure" in Malaysia & to a certain extend in Asia.

Below is the full text of the note:

"Dear Gandhi,

Thank you for your kind words, actually we were surprised to get this attention but we are happy with it. I have read your blogs since we are in Malaysia and although I had many times a different opinion it is good to have a voice in sport that is for sure.

Gives me the chance to say that Hockey Asia had a different approach then being blogger and website developer. Our ideas were to have Live TV and use the income as financer, a banker for hockey projects. News is now our main item at the website of Hockey Asia.

I must correct you for the MHF website, this one is up and running only they never mentioned Hockey Asia as partner and the only time they made some changes was after the first match of Malaysian Juniors.

One of our projects was a good education program and bringing top-coaches to Malaysia to get better results. Ideas are good but we were naïve thinking that this was where Malaysia was waiting for. Coaches, trainers and players know it all so much better than we do. The fact that nothing has happened for the last 35 years is just a minor detail.

Also we were naïve thinking that money from our side would make a difference. MHF gets millions and millions out of Government money so why bother about “foreign” donations. Besides my ideas are totally 180 degrees different from MHF. We strongly believe in hockey clubs with paying members, strong long lasting leagues, and a good grass root program as the way to move forwards in Malaysia and Asia.

A real professional league like PHL in India but for a much more longer period, say sponsored by 10 companies and with a lot of foreign players (Europe), commercially well presented would make a tremendous difference. But once again this isn’t the strategy of MHF. I believe if Holland would made the same strategy decisions with putting the national team first and with only centralized training sessions and without a professional league and no hockey clubs investments they would never be no. 1 in the world for the women section and at top 4 in men section.

I strongly believe, with me, Harendra Singh (India), Jose Brasa (India), Siegfried Aikman (Japan) and Wouter Tazelaar (Pakistan) in an Asian Hockey League where top 6 -8 countries play a national league every 2-3 weeks. This for minimum 5 months. The World Volleyball league started years ago with this set up and it became very successful. From officials of AHF we could hear only laughs about it and remarks as: ‘ridiculous idea’.We feel this as a missing link in Asia and if this doesn’t change anything will.

You’re right about website technologies MHF and AHF is lacking and both wanted to do it their way, we have offered our services and at that time we would done it for free. Things were probably not meant to be that way.I feel that the AHF is really more of a Malaysian promotion than an Asian promotion, it is all about Malaysia. This could be done so much better.

As you probably know I was hockey coach for a very long time (over 20 years) in Holland on a good level and with that expertise I think I can judge what I have seen in Malaysia so far. For me based on many videos of last year Sultan Azlan Shah tournament 2008 and watching this year SAZ 2009 and Asia Cup 2009 the national team didn’t improve at all, in fact I was more impressed by Sarjit Singh as coach. But this is my personal opinion.

Based on what I have seen Malaysia is far away from a professional level as I have experienced in Europe. I offered a top-coach from Holland doing video-analysis during Asia Cup, he would evidently do it for free if MHF would have contacted him but also this idea had no listeners, probably as the national coach would feel attacked.

We don’t blame anyone at MHF but we feel that when you get so much out of the Government pocket things could run much more professional, like Singapore Hockey Association used the event management of ESPN for World Cup Juniors.

Let’s be honest our project failed because of lack of professionalism at MHF. But it is our fault that we didn’t take our own actions instead of relying on the organization in Malaysia.We still have a few options to consider, one is to start hockey club with Dutch model with a hockey academy here in Malaysia, but changes to success is minor, we realize this. The next weeks this must be clear.

Thank you and when we are back in Holland we will think with a lot of positive feelings of our “naïve” business adventure in Malaysia.

Met vriendelijke groeten/Kind Regards"

Jaap Suyk
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia

Saturday, July 4, 2009

"No listeners in MHF" - one of the reasons for the collapse of the MOU.

Hockey Asia with a blog site: provides an up-todate hockey scenario of Asian hockey. Indeed its presence in the blogosphere helps to fill a vacuum that Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) seems to have completely forgotten or overlooked or they just do not want to undertake to provide such services.

It is strange how the Asians having outsource information technology services all over the world and yet AHF seem to be caught in a time warp that they have omitted to set-up their own site. This too goes with MHF, who has just lately got into the act. Unfortunately, sources indicate the site is still under construction.

This is a very strange phenomenon and it is difficult to comprehend why AHF is extremely slow to join the cyber world. This is where Hockey Asia must be commended as their Dutch husband and wife team had the courage to invest into Asian hockey. Mind you in the 6 months they refer to as "adventure", Hockey Asia has made great strides. I am one of those who visit their site regularly.

Indeed I was fascinated plus supportive that they entered into a MOU with MHF. I thought with the Dutch connection, greater technology awareness would creep into MHF and a paradigm shift in the thinking process among its officials would materialise. To do that the MHF officials must listen and participate. Sometimes this is where we fail exspecially when we do not have the expertise.

In fact I am not surprised, as this aspect of not listening is the hallmark of MHF. Therefore Hockey Asia terminating the MOU ( refer to would probably be seen as a normal event in MHF. This is why they are filled with enough issues that is "weighing down" MHF and ultimately affecting the performance of the various national teams.

It is a pity that Hockey Asia could not achieve what they set out to do. I hope they would strive and make sure that there are other parties with who they can get into joint venture, so as there is this symbiotic process that Asian hockey can benefit from.

My best wishes to the Dutch couple and thank you for continuing to provide information on Asian hockey.

Planning documents in Malaysian sports becomes the nuclei for collection of dust, as Sports Administrators conveniently forget to implement it.

Tony Mariadass, a known name in the sports journalistic fraternity and in his blog: On Wednesday 1st July, Tony had an article titled "On the shelf or shelved."

Tony, without mincing words, precisely highlighted the "dust collection syndrome" that takes place in Malaysian sports following a study, tour report, or post mortem, or other in-depth analysis to move forward. Sometimes all this is combined with seminars or workshops, where people get caught with "verbal diarrhoea" and thereafter are so tired that they get into "hibernation".

Matters are forgotten until another crisis hits the roof and everyone starts the whole process again i.e a Study. The process repeats itself with seminars or workshops, then the "hibernation" which permits the "dust collection syndrome" to materialise. All these takes place while awaiting yet again for another crisis.

In all of these, the key element is that the same Sports Administrators are involved. They have not seen it once but "umpteen" times and what surprises me is that they are prepared to tolerate it. To be fair, initially there would be loud cries and high degrees of concern. However, with the passage of time the "hibernation" process steps in and the "coldness" freezes the thinking process.

Therefore it is not surprising to see year in and year out the same Sports Administrators. There is no doubts that they have volunteered their services and the positions they hold are not their "bread and butter". Therefore one should not expect too much.

If that argument holds, then Malaysian sports will not see "daylight". I have always maintained that people who are elected to position, wanted the post and , as such, they have a duty of care to undertake their responsibility properly. They have been bestowed trust and that is fundamental in providing the leadership for the betterment of the sports. When they sit on the Chair and make statements just to appease the public, then they are seeking personal glamour rather than getting the job done. Holding positions also means making decisions that may be unpopular but good for the sports. This is where the Malaysian Sports Administrators are so skillful in sweeping things under the carpet, thereby permitting the problems to silently persist and organically grow bigger, hoping that, with time, either the problem would be forgotten or the officials would have left their positions.

I believe Tony has pinpointed an area where Malaysian sports has totally failed to undertake its role. We are paying the prise as declining standards have set in , namely in football, hockey, athletics, cricket and many other sports. I would list Tony's article as compulsory reading for those who care for Malaysian sports.

Thank you Tony Mariadass.