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 !!!


Anonymous said...


The decision by our goverment sport bodies,treat the symptoms of a problem while they nurture the cause.

Our team sports performance are deteriorating day by day till even our national sport "Sepaktakraw" regu team have lost to South Korea.

Who's nurturing the cause?
-Ministry Of education
-Ministry Of Youth and Sports
-National Sports Council

Total revamp need to be done for the above goverment bodies in their methodology in creating sportsmen.

#They must remember all behaviors can be changed by changing beliefs,values,rules and identity.


Sports Association get their pool of players created by the above goverment bodies.

There is a Malay saying "Melentur buluh biar dari rebung" in english
means "To bend a bamboo start from a early age".

Thank You.

Anonymous said...

It is not the education ministry or teachers to be blamed. In the past most of the coaches were teachers and teams performed well. Teachers understand and groom their players. What have the so called 102 done for the development of hockey in the country. How many of them volunteer to coach a team ? None of the national team age group coaches or officials are teachers. Who groomed these national players ? wasn't there teacher involved. The MHF needs to work together with the Education Ministry to develop players.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Anony 9.21PM,
Just ask the 102 who developed them into international players and 75% if not more will say it was their school teachers. The problem with them and other ex internationals is they can never accept a school teacher as a coach if the poor teacher has not played for the country before. To the ex internationals, a coach has to be a national player before he can qualify to coach even a National age group team. These ex nationals are champions at criticising others but never have the guts to 'turun padang' and coach set of school boys in their neighbourhood.

Gandhi, said...

I think those who indicate that former internationals do not recognise their teachers as the ones who taught them hockey, has got their bearings "off centre". I know at least 50 to 60 former interntionals who till today have nothing but great memories and praises for their coaches who were inevitably teachers.

Ask a more important question: " HOW MANY SUCH SORT OF TEACHERS EXISTS TODAY?" This would probably provide you the answer.

As for the 102, if you look at the list then you would appreciate the number who have gone to the ground and done the work. Many have worked with schollboys even without coaching certificates.

I am sorry but i feel those who think otherwise are not fully aware of it.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Gandhi,
May I humbly seek the list of ex internationals who are now actively coaching grassroot hockey (would be great if could provide the location too). Many parents who want to have their children coached will have access to the ex players. This will also silence the ignorant critics that have appeared in this blog.
Thank you

Ex-International said...

Dear Ghandhi and Unhappy Teacher (Anonymous)

Put the record straight.

102 are made of players, coaches, administrators and umpires. It covers from 1956 to 2006.

They all contributed:
1. Growth of the field hockey in this country.
2. Achieved glory at international stage and domestic.
3. With their achievement have permitted Government to support this game - Category A funding.
4. Created Employment
5. Retirement Scheme - Yayasan
6. MOU with Universities for Players.

Nutsell, they all have done their contribution and deserve that recognition.

All of them are Great in their capacity and for sure after their service they have directly or indirectly have given back to the game.

The 102 exist because of the Open Letter. With this the Minister of Sports requested them to provide solution with a detailed proposal.
And they delivered a superb proposal.

But it is sad that they have declared that the 102 could not go on after the submission upon request from the Government.

Therefore in October - 102 no longer exist either than the document.

As for the Teachers, we do not deny their contribution and created many champions and provided the supply of the players for school, district, state and national.

To all the teachers, thank you but we need more good and passion teachers as in the 60's, 70's'and 80's to bring back that glory,

We miss them...


Please understand and do not shoot from the hips...

Best Wishes and Good Luck to the Teachers...

Part of 102.


Anonymous said...

'102 are made of players, coaches, administrators and umpires. It covers from 1956 to 2006.'

'To all the teachers, thank you but we need more good and passion teachers as in the 60's, 70's'and 80's to bring back that glory'

I'm not a teacher here...but after read wisely through the statement above, i think all the teachers currently already lost hope to coach the grass root anymore. Why? Because there's no more respect to them..Because they were not ex-international.. :-)

Keep wondering.. Is this 102 really got the passion enough? Or actually got their own agenda?

Jusvir said...

l would happy if you could list the schools/clubs the 102 have coached. i once asked them to coach but the question of money cropped up. go to the schols / outskirts to develop the gamae. don't sit in airconditioned offices and pass comments. l salute my teachers. why are the age group coaches or officials not teachers. can someone in the MHF answer that. who undestands a student better if not a teacher.What credibilty has dharmaraj , azlan bakar , gopi got to train the under 16 and under 18 teams.they were not even present at this years MSSM to do the selection. this is a question that the coaching committee should answer.

Anonymous said...

My name has been used in your blog. I have not passed these comments as l am not a blogger and am not interested in MHF politics. So please delete any comments that seem to be from me. JUSVIR SINGH

Anonymous said...

Apparently the allegations that ex national players only can coach seem to be true. Not to worry, Jusvir, there's more than one Jusvir in the country, just like there's more than one dharmaraj, azlan bakar and gopi.
Gandhi, this topic on teachers coaching state / national age group teams seems to be attracting a lot of comments. Why dont you delve deeper into it (e.g. create a vote site etc.)rather than highlighting the affiliates issues which will never change in the near future. I think readers appreciate some empirical proof of ex nationals coaching grassroot levels and are better developmental coaches than the teachers. Why teachers are preferred to coach the juniors? Because they understand the players better? Why ex internationals then? Because they understand the game better? Weigh the pros and cons.