Friday, October 23, 2009

TM must be commended for being firm on the discipline issue.

On Thursday 22nd, carried an article titled "Door shut on Ismail". In brief, it relates to a discipline issue where a player misled his coach and took leave from training but was caught "red handed" at a online gaming centre. He withdrew from the national team by furnishing a letter to the team manager. The Management Committee accepted his withdrawal and sources indicate that he is not permitted to participate in the national league i e MHL.

On Thursday at Kuantan prior to the 3rd Test match between Malaysia and Australia, the player, certain key MHF officials and the 2 national coaches with the national team manager apparently "ambushed" the TM to ascertain whether the player should be reconsidered for the national team. "Ambush" is the key operative word because there was a confusion created that the player was prepared to withdraw his letter and the TM had "approved" him to be reconsidered for the national team. Obviously there were sufficient personalities with the intelligence to pursue the matter with the TM. Sources indicate that the TM was solidly firm not to change his mind as per the decision of the Management Meeting. Indeed the story goes that the TM was upset with the player, more so as he originates from Pahang.

Analysing the entire episode the said player must either be a "smart cookie" or he has good advisers. His strategy and tactics that he adopted were "good maneuvers" and in a way it may have paid off. The fact that he instantaneously withdrew from the national team after the incident was probably to be outside the ambit of being disciplined by MHF. In fact, that strategy worked as the MHF's Management Committee mildly disciplined him, without referring his case to the Disciplinary Board. This provided him a lifeline and he was able to activate it in Kuantan following the national team's 2 defeats in the hands of the Australians. The timing was immaculate particularly as Malaysia's forward line were "firing" blanks and his recall may have been imminent.

Somewhere good sense prevailed and the TM and various other personalities knew exactly what they wanted. It was a "no go" for the player and therefore the message even though mild in nature was not minced. The decision of the Management Committee remained intact.

It is sad such a young player has to face such consequences. The point being he courted the danger and apparently it was not the 1st time. Maybe this punishment would open his mind and eyes to understand that it does not pay to play truant and on top of it to indulge in an activity where the statistical chances of winning is slim. So why waste the hard earned resources. Now that a major slice of his income is lost i e as a national player, it is probably going to have an impact on his quality of life. This probably would be a lesson to him and i hope with time he matures to realising that he can still work his way back to the national team. Of course he has to drop all the extra unwanted "luggage" he is now carrying. If that happens i am sure MHF would not want to exclude him in the future national teams provided he earns his place. It is probably a price he has to pay and that is the message for other players waiting to don national colours.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

There is no "whomp" in the national hockey team.

I had the pleasure of witnessing a few people exchanging views on the current Malaysian hockey team. This was in pursuant to the 1st and 2nd "Test" match between Australia and Malaysia on Monday and Tuesday at the Tun Razak Stadium. Most of them had strong views and in a nutshell it seem to revolve around the following points:
  • Australia brought a young team and 9 of their senior players are absent and are still playing in Europe.
  • The Malaysian team seem to be "headless" and "speechless" as no one seem to be directing the operations in the field.
  • The Malaysian players basic skills of trapping the ball, goal shooting, creating passing opportunities, supporting the player with the ball, and so forth seem weak.
  • Malaysian players do not seem to have the passion nor the hunger to perform.
  • Although there were glimpses of individual dribbling and taking on the opposing player but the finishing was poor.
  • Save for 1 or 2 players most of the Malaysian players could not "match" the "body contact" approach the Australians had adopted.
  • The Malaysian players lack the imaginative sense to create opportunities to score including through "set pieces".

The Malaysian coaches Beng Hai and Saiful must take these points aboard. After all it is "test" matches and it is important the team's weakness are spotted and worked upon before the qualifiers. Although there is not much time yet the key aspects can be addressed. I am sure Beng Hai must be doing all that is possible to get the best out of the team.

An area that seem disturbing is that there is something missing in the national team. There seem to be no "whomp" factor i e a sense of "cohesive urgency" in the Malaysian game play. I wonder whether the prolonged politicking in the national team over the months have taken the toll that the players are just carrying the "stick" in the field to earn the "caps" and the monthly salary.

I raise this as there are some stories going around about the national team and its management. Firstly, the 1st choice national goalkeeper wanted an extended Deepavali leave to celebrate his 1st year of Deepavali as a married person ( a cultural aspect ), thereby missing the "Test" matches. The 2nd choice goalkeeper overslept before a match and therefore he is yet to be utilised.

Secondly, there is the aspect of announcing the list of players. The names were released last week and yet the team manager remained silent about it. There are strong indications that the relationship is estrange between the team manager and the coaches. This can be of concern as a significant number of national players are in the team manager's club payroll. Finally, early this week the coach had to make it known to the media. It would seem strange why the team manager went on "silent" mode.

Thirdly and interestingly, a former foreign coach with the national team has become privy to what is happening in the national team as some of the current players who were under him are talking. Apparently he is well versed with the situation and that may not be helpful.

All these combined and with the previous discipline issues it seem to have created an aura that nothing is going to go right. Whether this aspect is a figment of ones imagination could also be a question? However the way matters have progressed it seem to indicate otherwise.

If all these are factual events then i can understand why the national team is under performing and the "whomp" factor is missing. Too much of distraction for the players and at the sametime they are being pulled in different directions, thereby making them lose their sense of focus. It is imperative that the individual disgruntling must give way to national interest i e the big picture of the country needing to qualify for the 2010 New Delhi World Cup. The differences have to be shed and everyone must work together as a unit, if we are to make that fundamental difference. The right motivation with the right attitude combined with the right spirit, anything is possible. Lets get the battle jointly going so as we can win the war jointly to qualify for the World Cup.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Malaysian cricket - "A left over from the colonial era but certain officials undyingly maintain that mentality".

The former national coach resigned from the national cricket team after the fiasco of "cheating" him of a trip to Singapore for the ACC tournament at the end of August 2009.The manner in which certain officials conducted themselves on this matter reflect the lack of human understanding in them. They had created a "make believe" scenario as though the local coach was going to the tournament. At the same time they continuously delayed the paper work for him to obtain the necessary leave approvals. It was a process of buying time for they wanted the trainer to join the foreign coach for the trip. This made more 'political" sense for these officials as part of the "back scratching" concept in return for support from the affiliates. Essentially the former national coach was a victim of the maneuvering and manipulation that was being played by 2 key officials and a key staff.

The disgusted coach resigned with a "stinging" letter recommending MCA to continue employing foreign coaches. After all MCA was handsomely paying them with excellent fringe benefits while the local national coach was paid a pathetic attendance allowance. This did not go down well as the Executive Secretary of MCA wanted that part of the written statement to be withdrawn.

The former national coach had been involved with the national team from 1998 and in many ways for the love of the game he had "mortgaged his soul" by tolerating all the rubbish that was dished to him during that long years. He probably reached a "saturation point" when the MCA officials "played their latest number" on him.

Following the diabolical performance of the national team in Singapore and the departure of the foreign coach, there existed a "vacuum" on the coaching front. With the resignation of the local national coach, pressure was building up with the forthcoming of the Carl Schubert Trophy and the Saudara Cup games. Both the Under 23 team and Senior national team respectively needed to get into their regular training sessions. Guess who MCA turned for help? No other than the former local national coach.

What is interesting is that MCA took the coach for "granted" i e the "mortgaged soul". Indeed MCA was so sure he would turn up that they even sent out the leave approval letter to the coach's employer. However it would seem that the local coach had learnt his lesson and was determine to "redeem his mortgaged soul". Apparently now he wanted a formal invitation for the appointment and this MCA hesitatingly agreed.

Sources indicate that the local coach had responded in writing to MCA with his terms if he was to take up the appointment. Apparently he wanted a number of matters to be clearly defined from salaries, allowances to team selection and decision making. The concerned MCA officials were too "shocked" to react as they had underestimated the local coach. It would seem the MCA officials had loss their basic human touch because they always look down at people and communicate.

The officials were not prepared to engage into discussion with the local coach, so they turned to the national under 19 coach as a replacement. This person was the former national wicketkeeper and a amiable character. MCA was cautioned of his lack of ACC coaching certificates in an ACC tournament and yet thereafter MCA did nothing to rectify the situation. This person gladly accepted the appointment as coach for both the games. His terms of appointment is not clear-cut and probably in the future he too would be a victim of MCA's "games".

MCA cannot afford any long term appointments as their cash position is greatly depleted. Indeed the team for Carl Schubert Trophy had their train tickets purchased by a staff who advanced his personal funds. The position is so critical that MCA officials are debating whether they need to "break" their last deposit of RM$50,000 to pay off the long overdue creditors. There is a lot of "balancing act" that is taking place particularly with the "rolling" of funds. Therefore any long term financial commitments are not being considered.

In all this MCA had painted the wrong scenario giving the impression that everything is going on well. They have misled people to a stage they completely forgot or overlooked the human aspects of the issues. MCA played on the emotions of people whose sole "weakness" was the love for cricket. They capitalised on it and used to the maximum and when the time came the person was "constructively" dumped. Still they had the audacity to turn to him and when he wanted matters to be put in their proper perspective, like pushing "buttons" MCA left him in the lurch. Probably because cricket in Malaysia is a left over of the "colonial" era and some officials still strive with such mentality. Sad but it seem to be the operative nature of these people.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Elected or Appointed into MHF - "Some are there just to add to the numbers"

MHF has 10 elected posts while there are 3 Independent members who are appointed. The Chairman of the various Committees like the Coaching, Development, Umpires, Disciplinary and so forth are also appointed position. Some of these positions have they role constitutionally defined i e the President, Secretary and Treasurer. To a certain extent the Deputy President too. Similarly also the function of the Chairman of the various Committees. In all these, the question is whether these people follow what has been enshrined in MHF Constitution?

The area i am looking at is the role of the 6 Vice Presidents. Their function is not clearly defined and a lot has to do with what they have been delegated to handle. The active of the lot is the Chairman of the Competitions Committee. His committee is suppose to have handled the organisation of the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) and the Razak Cup. In a way they have attempted to re-engineer these tournaments and credit must be given to them for looking at things differently rather than in a stereo type fashion.

Another Vice President is responsible for the Medical Committee and he has been serving MHF for sometime. He is not new and seem to enjoy that position because it gives him accessibility to various hockey parent bodies in the international scenario. He was one of those who wanted to be a candidate for the Deputy President's post but was persuasively discouraged from contesting it last year. In MHF this person has done nothing much in the Medical Committee and indeed some wonder whether he has a committee and if so it would be interesting to look at the Committee's plans. Maybe it operates on an ad-hoc basis because of the traditional outlook of the role of the Medical Committee i e limited in nature. In a way this is sad as Sports Medicine is playing a significant role in modern day and could be under the ambit of the Medical Committee. Sometimes people do not like to venture into new areas.

Lately the Chairman of the Medical Committee has rubbed certain Ministry officials on the wrong side by his style of questioning their development programme. The story is that he has nothing much to do in MHF, therefore it allows him to be critical of others. The believe is that he wants to impress certain parties of his knowledge in hockey.

Then we have a corporate personality who is serving his 2nd term in MHF as Vice President. I believe he is Chairman of the Finance Committee and is responsible for raising funds for MHF. It surprises me that he has time for hockey despite his busy schedule, heavy work load and the responsibilities that he has to burden in the corporate sector. From various sources he is extremely supportive of sports particularly hockey. There is no doubt that with his presences MHF have had sufficiently large sponsorship for various of their events from the organisation he helms.

Another Vice President is a legally trained person who originates from Negri Sembilan. He is the Chairman of Special Projects, which according to many could be anything but at most times has nothing to do. Because of this they have now made him the Assistant Team Manager for the Project 2013 team. It would seem that he is one of those who is pushed "here and there" to fit into situations where they cannot find anybody.

Finally on the last 2 Vice Presidents, MHF have 1 each from the states of Sabah and Sarawak, who constitutionally must be elected to the post. They are there in name but do not appear for the meetings or functions and their contribution is as good as nil. Yet! for all purposes they are Vice Presidents.

The preceding paragraphs in a nutshell provide in summary of the role of the current Vice Presidents of MHF. The post of the Vice President is a key position and yet some of them do not have any major role to play. It seem to be a story of "to many chiefs and very few Indians" ( note that the Indians here denote the American Indians). So how can MHF function when most of them are some form of "chiefs" without an "army" to do the work. This is the saddest aspect in MHF i e only a few are passionately involved because of their love for hockey whereas many are there for various other reasons which is only best known to them.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Discipline issues in hockey cannot be simply "pooh poohed".

Last week saw some interesting developments in hockey. Hockey lovers were treated to details of 2 incidents relating to:
  1. A national hockey player who got leave from training in order to repair his car but was caught "red handed" at a cyber-gaming centre at the material time.
  2. The disciplining of 2 national players who were caught returning wee hours of the morning apparently intoxicated.

Some believe that the players should not be severely punished as:

  1. They are young, not withstanding their years of experience in international hockey.
  2. The centralised training environment forces them into such activities as a form of releasing their tension.
  3. They are much needed in the national team for the World Cup qualifiers.
  4. The nature of incident does not warrant such punishment as it relates to play station activities and returning after curfew hours.

It is strange how the "news splash" with the main media and the alternative media provided a sensational account of the events and yet following it, they want MHF to be lenient in administering the punishment. The rationale for it is based on the reasons outlined above. It would seem that they want to influence the fate of the players and maybe also of the national team. They believe without these 3 players Malaysia shall fore go any chances of qualifying for the World Cup. This is obviously a persuasive "school of thought".

The 2nd "school of thought" is that the discipline issues are fundamental aspect of performance on and off the field. Players have to be aware of this from the onset and it is part of their training to handle such matters. Therefore once MHF unnecessarily "bents" its standards, it has placed itself in a comprising position. This would bound to "haunt" MHF in the future because of the precedent it has set.

In fact the issue at hand is about a player who had lied to the coach and indulged in an activity which has similarities to the past issue relating to the allegations on "match fixing". On the 2nd incident there has been a history of 1 or 2 senior players turning up for training with stench of alcohol and therefore when these 2 players were caught wee hours of the morning apparently intoxicated, one cannot expect NSC & MHF to close their eyes. All these deserve its level of attention irrespective how good or experience the players. 'Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done", a known maxim in law.

Therefore the level of punishment must relate to:

  1. Severity of the incident.
  2. Was the player a 1st time offender or a repeated offender?
  3. Has the player received warnings or cautions in the past?
  4. Does the player's actions influence others or is he disruptive to the team?
  5. Does the player's actions affect the image of Malaysian hockey?
  6. Is there any mitigating circumstances that must be taken into account before a decision is made?

The answers to the above questions would help to pinpoint the level of punishment that should be handed out to the players. Essentially, this is where the crux of the matters rest.

With all these taking place, it should be noted that the level of absenteeism for training has been significant and now there are rumours that both NSC & MHF have devised a system of deduction that would affect the players monthly remuneration. If that is so, we have to commend both NSC & MHF for taking such pro-active steps to create a system which hurts the players where it matters i e their salary.

Whatever, it is sad that the players have to face such harsh decisions. After all it is based on their own actions but not that of MHF or others. MHF has to do what is right and not what is popular. The integrity of the sport and its future has to be preserved. Any short term gain cannot replace the potential long term repercussions that maybe there if such indiscipline issues are left unattended. The simple rule is "everyone has to account and take responsibility for their actions". That is the only way if Malaysian hockey is to move forward.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

NSC need to change its procedures on disbursement of funds for national teams tour expenses.

Last Monday seem to be a unusual day for Malaysian hockey. On that day a senior national day was caught playing truant from national team training (became a known fact) and the other it was rumoured that the assistant national coach for the ladies team had RM $26,000 stolen after he had received the said. sum from NSC for the ladies tournament that was going on in Bangkok.

Sources indicate that there is some form of news "black-out" and as to why, it is any one's guess. Maybe it is a security measure that they do not want the public to know because such practices are a common feature in NSC's modus operandi. Apparently this time the cash given is small while there were instances in the past where coaches or managers had to carry as much as RM $200,000 to RM $250,000 in cash for foreign tours. The amount depends on the anticipated expenditures from hotel bills, internal travel , players daily allowances to other ancillary expenses.

When i heard this i was totally shocked that in this modern era as the nation works towards a "1st World" status, NSC seem to have an antiquated system of fund disbursements, which probably deserves to be documented and displayed in Muzium Negara. Indeed the current system is such that it only encourage abuses and in the past such stories were well talked about. It has been told that there are times that it is near impossible to get the expenditure report and supporting documents when it comes to close the accounts. Despite all these past stories and experiences, NSC nor MHF had made any changes but rather they seem to be continuing a "3rd World mentality and system" in a country that is striving for "1st World" status.

I cannot understand that in this modern world why do we revert to such "antique" disbursement system. I hope neither NSC nor MHF have their monies in the pillows or in the mattress at the houses of their financial staff for safe keeping. Honestly, most of these payments could be paid by telegraphic or Internet transfers in advance of the tours if they are properly planned , thereby minimising the cash that has to be carried. Even then why the cash? There are sufficient financial papers like the travellers cheques that would help to minimise the risk factors.

What NSC may not be comprehending is that the theft of monies maybe replaceable but what if it is a person's life. Theses days the thieves would do anything to help themselves to the bountiful of monies. I am sure that neither NSC nor MHF would have taken the necessary insurance cover both for the person and the sum of monies they carry. I am sure of that because such covers are expensive.

What further surprises me is how such a system is permitted to exists by both the internal and external auditors. The system has major flaws and yet allowed to operate. It is very strange that this has been going on for so long. I think NSC has to seriously review and make the drastic changes to bring the operating system to a "1st world" methodology with a proper system of controls with minimum of risk factors. Lets not wait for that unfortunate day and regret but rather make that changes immediately.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Strange decisions being made for the National hockey team.

A national player is paid by NSC and he also receives his club salary. This would take a senior player to the RM $5000 range per month, which probably contributes to an acceptable quality of life. Both such salaries are paid so as the player is readily available to train and play for the country and the club. At least that is the hope.

Lately and very strangely 2 players were released from the final rounds of the national team training to play club hockey, one in New Zealand and the other at Austria. Mind you they are not playing for charity rather being paid by their respective foreign clubs. What irks me is that they are still on the national team payroll and given approved to skip crucial national training prior to World Cup qualifiers to earn more monies for themselves. I really cannot see the logic of this and i am surprise that both MHF and NSC seem to tolerate such matters.

What surprises me is that both these players seem have had the consent of the team manager, who i understand had the clearance of the national coaches. Is there something we should read into such decision making? Maybe they want the players to tell them more about their opponents for the World Cup qualifiers like Austria and New Zealand. If that is so then i believe whoever who came up with the idea must get their "upper faculties" properly checked. There is no proper justification for the players to be away in this crucial hours.

I do not blame the players as the more they earn the better it is for them. They have only a short window they can enjoy such opportunities but then they cannot go on a "rampage" for monies without appreciating their commitments. In this case they did the right thing and that is to get prior approval.

However this is where the team manager should not have given the approval and if he did, he should have then suspended their salaries as national players and also indicated that they would not be considered for selection for the qualifiers. This in a way would have put the players to make a choice. I wonder why this had skipped the minds of the team management of MHF and also that of NSC.

What MHF and NSC had done is yet again set a precedent, where in the future other players can claim the same privileges i e being paid as a national player they seek approval not to attend the crucial training so as to earn the extra income as a club player in a foreign land. Is that what MHF and NSC prepared to accept? If not, i recommend that both of them be ready with reasons why they made such an exception this time.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Was the National Hockey Team Manager fair in his actions?

MHF has been embroiled in more than sufficient issues both in and out of the field. Ironically they seem to have significant negative impact and sometimes i wonder whether MHF has permitted it to "grow" to this uncontrollable state. I state this for it was only in September 23rd in my blog under the title of: The "ghost" of Malaysian hockey "match fixing" is still lingering around, i outlined the issues of MHF failing to act. It would seem that i am proven right.

As i mentioned previously, if we allow the problem to brew by sweeping issues under the carpet, it is only a matter of time the foul stench would ooze out to fill the air.. This is what MHF has done, by leaving the allegation of "match fixing" unattended without an in-house investigation. MHF did not do anything sensible to arrest the potential problems that the "match fixing, money lending and gambling" issues when the allegations came to the forefront. Over and over, time and time, we get "new brooms" to sweep the issues under the carpet. They all thought that it was the "cure" without realising it was being postponed to let the issues become even bigger.

The failure to act by MHF in the past has given the "hard core habitual" parties the licence to continue their undesirable activities, while the newcomers to the scene just followed suit. Therefore the incident on Monday 6th October where a national player misled his coaches by missing training purportedly to repair his car when in fact he was at a cybercafe apparently indulging in online gambling, when he was caught "red handed" by MHF officials, is the testimony of the prevailing sad state of affairs with the national team . The story goes that the player was asked to apologise ( it is unclear to whom ), which the player refused and he went to see the National Team Manager, who is also his Club Manager. The Team Manager felt that he has broken a promise which he had previously made to him ( detail of the promise is not known ) that he requested the player to resign from the national team. Thereupon the Team Manager has left the fate of the player to the coaches and the MHF Management Committee.

Unfortunately this incident became a scoop story for the media and rightfully so. After all it is the duty of the media to report and publicise such matters particularly if someone is prepared to confirm or stand by the story. This the National Team Manager was a willing participant and the incident became a sort of "breaking news" i e a headline on the back page of one of the main newspaper.

It is obvious that the media had "smelled a rat" and in their usual style as responsible media they needed collaboration to ensure that they were right, There is no doubt that the media undertook their task properly but the question is whether the Team Manager did the same.

I pose this question because the actions taken by the Team Manager seem unilateral in nature and peculiarly seem to have passed the ultimate decision to the coaches and MHF Management Committee. All this is being done after the Team Manager had extracted a resignation letter from the player because the player had broken an earlier promise. In fact the Team Manager had already made the decision i e for the player to quit the national team, so why then does he need the coaches or the MHF Management Team to consider the matter. Again was the promise something of a personal nature or something that is known to everyone? It would seem the whole issue is "clouded" by too much of conflicting interests that the Team Manager should have opted not to deal with the incident and passed it on the proper MHF officials.

Indeed if any the Team Manager had made the issue far bigger by confirming the name of the player and the incident. He should have taken a responsible position stating an incident was reported and that MHF would be investigating before the details are made known. In fact the Team Manager may not have realised that in the spur of his indiscretion he has put MHF, the player plus his family, the national team and Malaysian hockey into a disrepute position. There is no doubt that on the first place the player had done so. So why give it a "double wacko".

This therefore begs the question whether the Team Manager had acted fairly? In coming to a decision the case must be seen from each parties point of view without having to compromise on the truth. Maybe the Team Manager may have been pretty upset that his emotions may have overtook all other sense of rationale thoughts at that moment. The Team Manager is a human being and when someone provides misleading information, while his actions contravenes an earlier promise plus the player comes from his own club, it must have created the "topsy turfy" scenario. This in fact has placed Malaysian hockey in a dilemma and the issue of untangling the problem becomes even more difficult. It seem that people are working in an uncoordinated fashion thereby giving an impression that there are a number of cliques at work within the national team, each having their own agenda. Some how this seem to be affecting the team's performance. So how can Malaysia perform? It is already a tough job for the coaches, why make it even tougher.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

An idea to start Club hockey culture in Malaysia by Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee, was the legendary kung fu actor and my first impression of this article in the name of the legend was a "knock out". Why?

A simple idea with brilliance in thoughts and practical in implementation. Bruce Lee must be commended for forwarding this idea and i hope the President of MHF would look at it very seriously. In fact if MHF wants to contact Bruce Lee to pursue his ideas, the least i can do is to give MHF his e-mail contact.

The "peribahasa" (maxim) i remembered from my younger days is "Di mana ada gula, di sana ada semut" (where there is sugar, there is ants). Bruce's analogy makes the "stadium" the "sugar" ie the focal point & center of attraction, while the people become the "ants". A great marketing philosophy in order to set up grass root development in hockey. Well done Bruce.

Kindly read Bruce Lee's article and give it a serious thought. He indeed has got a very interesting outlook to uplift Malaysian hockey. Mind you it is quite unique.

Below is the text of Bruce Lee's article:

Have you noticed that many of our hockey stadiums are owned by the local councils? (KL, Ipoh, Kuantan, JB, Melaka, Manjung and the list goes on) Many of them are idle, void of hockey activities and slowly turning into white elephants (I know one that become a futsal center)

In the wake of calls to improve our grassroots structure, I’m suggesting the local councils to play their part by forming hockey clubs with paying members.

Imagine this example:

Kelab Hoki Majlis Perbandaran –XX (MP-XX)
Members: 500 people
Teams: 4 Men’s (A, B, C, D) 2 Women’s (A & B) 6 Juniors (U21, U19, U16 A& B), 6 Minis (U10, U9 & U8), 4 Veterans and 1 Mixed
Venue/Clubhouse : MP-XX Hockey Stadium
Activities: Weekdays/nights Trainings, Weekends Matches, Annual Tours, League participation
Fees: RM 500.00 annually for juniors, RM700.00 for seniors.

Starter packs include training shirts, shorts and socks.

Why the paying members?Simple. The club system is the basic grassroots throughout Europe and the key to their consistency in providing competitive club and national teams despite their generally low hockey population. With fees, many of the related administrative expenses are covered and should meet the basic requirement of daily club operations.

Currently we do have city councils like MPPJ, MBMB and MBI participating in our national league. But then, these teams concentrate mainly on competitions. Frankly, there was not much impact the city had on its hockey development. Hockey is not enjoyed at social and recreational level. Only the selected players, officials and coaches who actually reaped the benefit of getting into team selection.

By opening membership to the public, people with interest will come and join. Hockey can be enjoyed at all level from social and recreational up until competitive level which is healthy to the society. Why the local councils?Through the existing facilities, why not utilize further to serve its community?

When state leagues are almost nonexistent throughout the nation, this is the best way a local hockey stadium can benefit the local community. Who are the major target?

1. School kids. Especially so when their school coaching is poor and their season is at most a month, kids can turn to clubs for more exposure to hockey.

2. School leavers. We lost so many talents or rough diamonds at this stage. A club establishment can help develop these talents and can even benefit late bloomers. This is also important for our female players. So many of them quit after school.

3. Current or past hockey players. For those who move to new places for work or studies, a local club will continue their interest. Players dropped from the National Team may use their clubs as the platform to regain selection.

4. Hockey coaches and umpires. So many certified officials around and this is a perfect place for them to continue and contribute their knowledge to the club.

5. Parents. Continuous involvement with kids hockey activities may attract their involvement to the game as well. Greater parent and children relationship can be fostered as well as volunteerism spirit within the club.

What are the value-added benefits?

1. Creation of jobs (part/full time) for coaches and administrators.

2. Structured training on scheduled basis. Building more discipline to the members.

3. Volunteerism by parents will develop a healthy sporting lifestyle to the society

4. Continuous hockey activities allow for greater access for business opportunities (a win-win situation for sponsorship avenue) Hockey retailers could open their business strategically at the club. Even caterers could open their business at the stadium as well!

Once these foundations are firmly laid, then the clubs may want to venture further into Junior or National League hockey (or at least state leagues if there is one). They can employ top players into their roster and in return, the players must coach the junior members of the club. Another win-win situation that creates more energy and excitement to the existing establishment. League matches will be continually supported and a healthy hockey environment is created.

It’s a small start to develop such sporting culture in Malaysia. But why not giving it a try? The Europeans have been practicing such environment with proven success and why it cannot be done in Malaysia? (They even have smaller hockey population than us)

The local councils have already the facilities in place and it’s a shame if it cannot be utilized to its true potential. Should the practice becomes a norm in our hockey stadiums, I believe other city councils will follow suit and build their very own hockey stadiums and establish their clubs. Potential councils could be Taiping, Shah Alam, Subang Jaya, Putrajaya or Selayang. With the objective of bringing hockey reachable and enjoyable to the society and using club establishment as the mean, it makes more sense to build one now.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Good thinking MHF !!!!!!!!!

So often we are critical of MHF that at times we overlook some good things they undertake For example. in the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) they did not "cave" in when the defending champions decided to pull out and also on the aspect of the possibility of Malaysia qualifying for the World Cup. There seem to be some form of new thinking which is innovative and above all addressing the issues directly, thereby putting hockey as the paramount matter.

Now it would seem that the MHL will probably have 5 teams in the Premier League and the games would be played in a few different states with a "carnival" atmosphere, encompassing the idea of a "hockey festival". This without doubts seem to reflect a "new style of thinking" in MHF. I must tell you that i was surprise for i always had the impression that the people in MHF were endangered species or maybe extinct like the dinosaurs. This new idea comes at the right time as hockey need a major push. Our international furore in hockey has not been good to fill the "appetite" of the fans. A fresh breath is very much required and the latest idea seem to provide the right anti-dote for the current sluggish nature in Malaysian hockey.

This forward thinking seem again to come into play with MHF who are now having a contingency plan for the MHL if Malaysia qualifies for the World Cup. Previously, they would have done it the easy ie postpone the MHL. This time such thinking has gone out of their mind. Rather they have devised a formulae where the national players can have their training and still play in the MHL. This sort of mixture keeps the momentum going in Malaysian hockey rather than everything coming to a standstill. Indeed this new style gives MHF a better manner to plan their future calendar. After all, the self made restrictions of the past must now be best forgotten and the future must be seen through a different prism.

MHF must be congratulated for coming up with such innovative thinking. I hope this is not a one of process but rather the start of many worthwhile changes they plan to execute. I may want to know why the sudden change in MHF. Maybe in adversity MHF has been "enlightened" or maybe it is a process of timely self realisation or maybe there is someone who has become the "factory" for ideas.. Whichever way, MHF has found a proper sense of thinking that seem to give an impression, there is hope for Malaysian hockey.

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Talks" that the former national coach may make an appearance in the MHL.

In the early 2000s, it was told that a core of young coaches were highly disappointed with moans and groans that they were not being given stints to work with the various national teams. They put it down to 1 person, who in those days was responsible for the day to day decisions of MHF. The story goes that there was so much hatred and anger that they were trying ways and means of getting rid of him. He was so well entrenched that it was near impossible to do it.

Luck seem to stare at these core of young coaches, when he followed the then President and voluntarily retired from MHF. Things should have looked better but other than some inroads the main aspect remained the same. Part of the reason is that the previous leadership still had close links with the new leadership and therefore the influence continued. Still one or two made it and not that all was lost. The few manage to exploit the situation and made it a point to understand the operative system that was in place.

When the then President decided not to seek reelection before the expiry of his term in office, various forces started their action plans to take control of MHF. There was sufficient time for the politicking and various strong personalities found themselves in key positions. Yes ! there was a change and the old status quo was shown the exit barring for the new President. There were others from the old status quo group who change accordingly to the flavour of the day. Some may call it the "chameleon" behavioural pattern.

Prior to this, the then Junior National coach had a good relationship with his colleagues in the hockey fraternity and they shared a lot of ideas to transform Malaysian hockey. 2 such persons were the Manager of the EY team and its coach. They plotted together the EY game plan and strategy including encouraging the national players to join the EY team. This created the initial influx to the ultimate monopolistic control of national players when the Junior Coach got promoted as the National Coach for the senior team. Was this coincidental or otherwise, is something that is still being speculated.

The relationship between the then National Coach and the EY coach started to show signs of strain and the talk was that the National Coach had a "fear"syndrome of the success of the EY coach and this he probably realise could constitute a "threat" to him. The other possibility was the growing influence the National coach was having with MHF and the fact that there were stories of the "make or break" strength he had on certain issues. The rumour was, he made sure that the EY coach would not make his way into the hierarchy of coaching in MHF. Again all these seem speculation and it is difficult to confirm any of the stories.

On the other side, it is said that the EY Manager has always maintained a good relationship with both the coaches. This is probably a shrewd aspect as their relationship may come useful in the future. So why create "enemies" when you have to always look back to guard yourself. This thinking is probably a sound basis of leading life.

Now that the EY team is to pullout of the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL), the peculiar aspect is that the EY manager is rather silent about his players, who are still on contract with EY. Some believe that he may release them after the World Cup qualifiers in November, so, as their National Team Manager he still has control over the players, who are mainly from EY. The other opinion and probably looking more certain is having another team with the same players where National Team Manager may have indirect interest. There is a believe that this arrangement is being worked out so as to avoid utilizing EY's name and at the same time being able to overcome some of the conflict issues. This probably is a prudent way of disengaging oneself and maintaining the standards to which one is trained.

If the new team materialises, then the question of the coach becomes the issue. EY's coach is already with the Project 2013 Team and such he would not be available. There are no other coaches of an accepted standard who can fit the position, except for the former national coach. Further his indulgence with the Johor Under-18 and winning the national tournament has obviously got his "adrenalin" flowing. The latest news about him in the alternative media also provides some form of insight that he still wants to coach. The more persuasive argument would be that all these players were under him either in the National Juniors or Seniors or both. As such he knows them and they know him and therefore they all may speak the same language.

Time shall be the judge of the issues that is being speculated above. Whichever way what must benefit out of all these maneuvering, if any, should be Malaysian hockey and not any single individual or group only. That is the key for Malaysian hockey to move forward.