Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Coaches always get the chop for team's poor performance." - Is that fair?

The President of MHF has more or less determined the fate of the coaches of the senior national team by providing an ultimatum. The finale for them would be the 2010 World Cup qualifier, to be held in November 2009. If Malaysia qualifies, the coaches may be retained but if they fare badly it is "sayonara".

The TM has taken an unusual position on the matter especially as the 2 coaches had fulfilled their original target i e being in the top 4 at the Asia Cup. Indeed they were even one better by being runners up in the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament. Rightfully they had delivered their initial deliverable and therefore MHF should have confirmed them to a permanent arrangement. Fortunately or unfortunately this did not happen and the national team's disastrous performance at Dublin's Champion Challenge II and their lacklustre tour to Australia & New Zealand has not helped the coaches.

The question is: "How do you expect the coaches to perform"? From the onset the coaches had to face disciplinary issues with players from heavy alcohol consumption to late nights or wee hours partying to mutiny against the coaches. Added to this are the "clandestine" meetings by the national team manager with the players in the absence of the coaches. Part of this also lies with the special relationship most of the players have with the manager, relating to club hockey where he is their paymaster. This has created a delicate situation whereby the coaches had to always walk on a "tight rope" to maintain the balance, without having to create a chaotic scenario.

A further twist comes into the equation, where sources indicate that the Deputy President and a senior NSC official requested that any comments or written submission by the coaches must be directed only through the team manager. Sources highlight that such a position was not the decision of the MHF Management Committee nor the Team Management Committee. So why all the big fuss by these 2 people? Was there a conspiracy to vet, censor and silent the views of the coaches?

It would seem that the coaches had their "hands tied". They did not have the freedom to properly undertake their task without fear or favour. Sources indicate that the coaches had produced comprehensive reports of the team and other relevant issues but nobody in MHF spent the time reading or discussing matters with the coach. The coaches became lonely and found that there was no one who was prepared to listen to them. What mattered to everyone was only the results i e a Machiavellian approach - "the end justifies the means".

As pressure is exerted on the coaches, MHF has to realise the fundamentals of the game relates to the players. The coach is there to guide the team with tactics, assist with game fitness, game temperament and most of all to motivate them. All these is only possible if the players have the passion to don the national colours both as a patriotic and national duty, while earning their salaries.

We have to move away from the "denial" state and accept the fact that the current crop of players cannot sustain our position in the international arena. Therefore the idea of 2010 World Cup qualifier must be seen from a different perspective. We are paying the price for the lack of developing talents over the past few years. It has finally caught up with us and sadly we are doing nothing to rectify the situation.

We have not embedded the principles of excellence and therefore everything we produce tend to be half baked or half bred sportsmen. We turn them overnight into "superstars" and this gets to their heads and they think they are indispensable. They start pulling the strings and officials fall "head over heels" crying for their services. They believe that nothing can touch them for all their ill discipline acts. The matter gets compounded with bias sentiments and favouritism permitting the aspect of meritocracy to just become a figment of imagination of the officials. All these add in making lesser quality players to think they are great "stars".

Reality hits them when they flop with international teams but by then the damage is done to Malaysian hockey. While some may recognise the truth, the players still do not make amends as they continue to be pampered by the officials and guaranteed their salary as the national team. On top of this most of these players get another handsome salary from the club and therefore there is no real hunger to perform.

End of the day with this backdrop: "Should the coaches be the fall guys"? Maybe it is the prevailing system in MHF that is failing to produce the players for the senior national coaches to work upon. Great philosophers had stated: "Look inside, not outside". Maybe that is the soul searching MHF has to undertake, for even if they had the world's best coaches, with the current players we cannot produce the results. This is probably the reason why we are unable to get any foreign coach for the Malaysian team, as they do not want to dent their own reputation.

The 102 Group had recommended to forget the World Cup qualifiers as a target. They felt it was not realistic. They recommended developing a team for the 2012 Olympics and its qualifiers. Again nobody in MHF wants to listen. They just waste the resources on lost causes rather than investing for the future. To date MHF does not have a clue what to do for 2012. Why? There is no planning strategy which would have encompassed a master plan and the action strategy to achieve the targets.

Until MHF reorganises itself with the right people undertaking the appropriate strategy and actions, we might as well accept that Malaysia appearing in the World Cup or Olympics in the future shall only remain a dream. Nothing more than that. Believe it !!!!!


Anonymous said...

Dear Gandhi,

I think it depends on how the 1st negotiation and contract between coach and paymaster/msn/mhf before the coach start his works. We need to be specific and more professional. If both parties especially the coach agree with the contract and specific time frame / work schedule given, I think the coach shud be realistic with that. Doesn't matter of any problem such as the time frame / work schedule is in short or long period or lack of others commitment as it is agreeable thru the contract. Shud be no any reason of excuse on that. If the coach can't deliver the specific result on time, then the coach shud leave when the time comes.
So the coach got to fully responsible of his players, tactics, technics, fitness, etc.
If we so pity with Tai Beng Hai, then how about the other coach like Sarjit, Paul Lissek, Wallace Tan, Stephen V Huizen, etc.??? They also got their own reason to be considered..

want to b part of mhf said...

anons 3.06 sory to disappoint you but what have the coaches u named done for the game except bring us to the level we are today n that is being a third class playing nation.

Anonymous said...

Dear 'want to b part of mhf',

It's so simple...As per u said if all the coaches like Tai Beng Hai, Sarjit, Paul Lissek, Wallace Tan, Stephen V Huizen, etc. were 3rd Class Coaches, then they shud leave and why shud mhf/msn extend their contract?? Why waste money?? I'm also the taxpayer which will contribute to pay their salary. Hence, mhf/msn shud end the current Tai Beng Hai contract if Malaysian Team not qualified for next World Cup as per agreed by both parties in the beginning. No other excuses!! Just wait for the result 1st..Thats the way and we must learn to be more specific.
Even Roland Oltmans (considered 1st class coach) of Holland been sacked by his paymaster even he previously already bring Holland Hockey Team among the best in the world!! So doesn't matter 1st class coach or 3rd class coach, if not bring the agreeable result in the time frame given,the contract shud not be extended..plz find others..who?? msn/mhf shud have the expert to scout..
But my opinion, malaysian hockey team shud not only depends on 1 coach and 1 asst. coach to carry all the job responsibility..Its not specific enough on task given and normally in the end, the asst. coach will be safe. Just see how the top teams in the world arrange their coaches task. They have a lot of coaches in their team at once. Everyone got their specific task to be done such as head coach, tactical coach, goalkeeper coach, psycologist, fitness coach, data analysis/statistic person, video/IT/networking person, dietician, etc. So, they will professionally combined and give their best performance/result for the team. The incompetent coach can easily being detected through each task. Previously, I've noticed that our malaysian hockey team also did in such way..but dunno why it only been done half way..
Sorry to say all this..just to share and give opinion..

Anonymous said...

I believe you can have all the latest technology and manpower " to train the" big boys" but one has to remember at the professional level- They are MEN- with different physiological and mental attributes and different family upbringing and agenda in their minds.

They earn through their clubs, their Jobs( if they have), have cars and houses and are totally pampered by sponsors and worse still all Tax payers money is gone when tournaments are held and they still do not pay taxes--
Worse still people " IMMORTALISE THEM" -

We must never praise or single out an individual player in a TEAM SPORT- this is the basic teaching- TREAT ALL SAME even if one if more talented- In doing so WE SPOIL THE TEAM DYNAMICS

It is time one looks at gently " PHASING OUT" the senior players ( 24 and above)while grooming the YOUNG AND UPCOMING ONES as they are trainable and can adapt to strict discipline at the very beginning.
Never call back any outgoing senior as one will rock the team dynamics again and create weak links in the team no matter how big a STAR he may be.Otherwise you will continue to get leeches and the team will bleed to death.

WE cannot compare ourselves to the Germans, the Dutch or the Australians coz our environment , our social status, our culture, our home upbringing and education for these young is SO VARIED.The author said some have become big headed and think they are indispensible and then make their demands.
What to do the mental training taught them to be warriors.
No body told them to " Derole" after tournaments

These big boys must be let off at 24Yrs and move on in life-
In short, there must be a bigger base of backup young and " TRAINABLE" and " DISCIPLINE" ones.
While you cannot change the system in the higher rungs of the ladder one can look at the base of the ladder and try and strengthen it from below

Anonymous said...

Hi Gandhi,

Sacking the coach is an interesting topic any where in the world.

I would agree with anonymous 28.08.09 3.06pm.

His sacking would require reference to the contract.

It is surprising that MHF made the announcement just before the world cup qualifier that he will be sack if the team does not qualify for the world cup.

Does this announcement out of the blue demoralise the coaches? What about the players? Does this affect the players and coaches state of mind in the next 3 months?

There is a chance to qualify but rather slim (i believe). M'sian track record to the WC is also quite weak, we only manage to qualify in 1982 and 2002 merely being host.

Sacking the coach would be the easy way out. But it does not make any sense when his appointment is still on the interim basis. He is merely filling the gap from what I understand from reading the blogs. I tend to believe that there is no direction in MHF as his appointment has been dragging for the past 3 tournaments.

Unless MHF has already officially appoint him then he should be sack if he fails to deliver provided that it has been spell out in the contract.

As usual the working culture would be at snail phase in MHF or his appointment letter got lost in the mail.

Good luck to him and in my opinion he should get another job else where.

Trigger Happy Clown

want to b part of mhf said...

Anon 11.57 if you had seen the trend after the 90's you would have noticed that anyone aligned to the coaching commitee chairmen would be placed as a coach while all those not aligned are sidelined.
Mhf itself was run on the basis of having a click system and the president is just a figure head as others like the vp end up running the show. but as the development programmes never reached the grassroots,hence the dreath of talent we have today.
As for the comment of being a tax payer we Malaysians(tax paying citizens)are easily fooled into believing that the nsc has a check and balance system to monitor mhf,well the truth is there is none.Now with all these shortcomings you will be able to understand why the mhf has become a shit house as when you ask a wolve to guard a hen house this will happen. tq.

Anonymous said...

You can have the best coach in the world for Malaysia.
Alas, it won't help much if our domestic structures remain as it is - Ad Hoc.

Full time training is the short term solution for the moment. The players need to balance their life with other activities apart from hockey (work, studies etc) and that can only possible if our states, affiliates, clubs work together to develop a strong club structure in Malaysia. And clubs can only exist if the states can produce their leagues and as such complementing the MHL.

Anonymous said...

now you know where all the money is going...... get the tax collectors after them lo!!!! They have drained all taxpayers money and pretend all the way....

Anonymous said...

wah..quiet interesing topic on taxpayer money....has ever u thought how much going to the sports academic from the money that u paying for tax? if u're talented in sports, u wont be saying what u saying now. if u think,u want to get back your taxpayers money, please contribute somethng to the sports. don't juz sit there and pass comments, do something useful. good thing about this hockey column, everybody from any sports can comment. About coaches sacking,doesn't make sense to me! how come hockey management give target for every tournament for a sound ridiculous!!!! It is not EPL or La liga for god sake! If that is the case, there will be lesser new coaches in future, they rather fnd a job elsewhere. Lucky not happening in my sport. Hope hockey will be back to where it was.

darthvadai said...

its ironic to see a flurry of comments on both sides of the river over one interview.

Frankly speaking did you really think we could walk into the world cup?

In this day and age anyone holding a position related to hockey is scared or does not have the gut to make a statement of the actual picture and decline of hockey in the country. We all want to watch our own backs and find a scapegoat. Trust me when I say this where there is a great result everyone wants a say and a photo opportunity

If and when we fail the qualify (please note the optimism) then it if a group fault not just the coach but team management and to a certain the National Association.

Like it or not we contribute to the success equally to the failure.

Not to pick and harp on sections of the interview but for example we talk about centralized and de-centralized training that players are not disciplined in fitness. This is not a new problem what have we as a group done to correct this?

Remove the player?
Deduct his allowance?

What have we done drastically to check the rot? Please do not say another working paper. Please do not say another trip.

The day we can raise our hansd and be accountable and step up to the place only there we can progress, if not we continue to rot and slide down the ranking and hockey in this country will be down the same path