On Thursday 22nd, malaysianhockey.blogspot.com 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.