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.