Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Wanted" - Coach for Malaysian cricket

I received this comment for another article and i think the comment is quite "hilarious" that it needs to be independently highlighted. Obviously, the writer is taking "pot-shots" at Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) on the issue of the coaches.

Mind you, MCA had and is still fumbling with the issue, particularly the manner in which they had "dumped" their long standing local coach. In desperation they tried to get him back but at MCA's pathetic old terms. Apparently the coach had "set" his terms, which according to sources seem "very reasonable". Indeed insiders indicate it is much less than the "claims" made by others or compared to certain key staff salary. Maybe the "small figure" does not attract the attention of the hierarchy in MCA.

Below is the text of the comment and i have formatted it accordingly:

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Malaysian cricket officials seem to have lost the ...":

Wanted Cricket Coach for Malaysia Cricket

  1. Benefits: Free Lodging,
  2. Free car during contract period,
  3. Free parties at DP's hse,
  4. Can come for training after the schedule time,
  5. Free call to your Country,
  6. Every meetings you attend,
  7. You are entitled to get 4 can beers.
  8. Basically you will get Holiday package in 2 months contract.

  • Requirements:Degree in Haanji ( YES SIR ),
  • We are looking for a person who really can enjoy holiday.
  • You must be Management Coach,
  • You only can listen and follow what Management say's.
  • You can't be player's coach.
  • You must sit away from player's when match going on.
  • You must be talkative.
  • Your must work under supervision of DP.

Please contact Cricket Malaysia if you qualified for above requirements. "

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Re: Coaches - Is there a "selling" plan for someone to be appointed?

Below is a comment i had received and i want to share it with the readers of the blog. The comment seem to "throw" a view that takes on the issue directly.

Is there truth in the comment? For you all to judge.

Text of comment is as follows:

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Re: Appointment of foreign coach - "Could it be an...":


It is very hilarious to following this article!. The last few comments are also very interesting to note. Other blogs are promoting their choice of coaches, and there are also some coaches who are "selling" themselves.

Your regular comment about power struggle in the management level of the MHF has now shifted to the coaches?

Some comments are posted by the coaches themselves or the working group judging by the contents.

I hope the delay in MHF to hire the foreign coach will not trigger a situation where the coaching qualities of the respective teams are compromised.

Frankly speaking we may not even secure the intended foreign coach judging by the way the “potential candidate’s” predicament of having to endure the news leak before the appointment.

Malaysia may just have to hire a local! But how many locals are actually qualified and ready? "

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Re: Appointment of foreign coach - "Could it be an act of sabotage"

I had received a stimulating comment for my article titled: Does MHF officials learn from their past mistakes. The article was dated 15th December and questioned the manner in which some key MHF officials had acted every time it came to the appointment of a foreign coach for Malaysian hockey.

The comment seem to bring a new paradigm into why this may have happened. Although speculative in nature it seems to introduce the concept that these could be "acts of sabotage". Could this be a possibility? I think it is "far fetched" but it is still worthwhile to study the issues that has been raised in the comment.

Below is the full text of the comment:


When 'screw-up' is consistently practiced then it is not a screw-up but should be taken as an act to sabotage or destroy the game within the association.

What we see is individual(s) acting beyond their jurisdiction or permitted role in trying to gain out of hockey.

"Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. In a workplace setting, sabotage is the conscious withdrawal of efficiency generally directed at causing some change in workplace conditions. One who engages in sabotage is a saboteur."

An interesting comment. What attracts me in the comment is the aspect of "consistently practised". Can we be certain that repeated mistakes are consistent practises? The whole matter is "mind blogging".

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Does MHF officials learn from their past mistakes?

Just prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it was rumoured that a renowned South Korean coach, then with China is being "head hunted" to join Malaysia and uplift the declining standards of our hockey. While negotiations were ongoing, some "smart" MHF official met with another South Korean coach, purported to be a former assistant to the South Korean coach with the Chinese team. This created sufficient publicity in the alternative media i e "blogosphere" in South Korea that there was a tussle for the Malaysian job. The South Korean in China professionally withdrew from any further discussions with the Malaysian hockey representatives. Even a "secret" meeting held in Bangkok thereafter could not the coax the renowned South Korean coach to reconsider the Malaysian job.

Sadly, Malaysia was at the verge of getting his services but there were people in MHF who helped in "derailing" his appointment by not understanding the salient aspects of confidentiality and discretion when it comes to employment of "key" personalities. If these people had done such acts in a corporate environment, they would have faced drastic consequences including termination. Fortunately for them, it was only MHF and it would seem people get significant leeway to do things.

If that was the only incident then this article would not be forthcoming. The search for a foreign coach continued even after TM became President. This time the matter was handled by the Vice President of the Medical Committee. Why? It is anybody's guess? My article: MHF Committees in "Slumberland" - Part 4: "Motionless" Medical Committee dated 4th December, would probably give an insight.

Apparently, he was in negotiations with an Australian coach, who came highly recommended and was about to seal the appointment when the Secretary of MHF stepped in to take over the paperwork. In his "style" of English he communicated through the e-mail with the Australian and somehow confused the terms of appointment. Indeed stories were told that the Secretary was so keen to go to Australia to sign the deal, which itself probably created the confusion. Yet again, in the simplest of language MHF officials "screwed up" the whole deal.

With a brave front MHF's story then was they could not find a suitable foreign coach. All the backroom fiasco in MHF seem to have been forgotten and now as the story of the foreign coach resurfaces, nearly all the same officials have become the "players". If history is a lesson of the past, the question is: "Will history repeat itself"?

Statistically, there is a high probability. We need not create a mathematical equation. In plain words it is the same "players" who have in the past "screwed up" such deals. Now their initial acts itself have put potential candidates on to the defensive. Even at an early stage candidates cannot trust the "employer" on confidentiality, how does one expect for the long run. The people concerned are not "unemployed" coaches rather professional serving coaches whose request for "professional confidentiality" is of vital importance. To give "half baked" news to the public by MHF is tantamount to misleading all parties. So the statements of the Deputy President, the Vice President and Secretary of MHF with regards to the foreign coach is only going to help MHF lose its own creditability in eyes of all foreign coaches. The little hope we may have had for their services may have already been "killed" by the officials concerned. Can MHF afford such repeated "screw ups". The TM as President needs to think carefully.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Tips" for TM as President of MHF.

Below is a comment for another article and i wanted this comment to receive the right level of attention. The comment literally believes that the President of MHF is doing his job but wants to see effective changes as the President is ultimately responsible.

Indeed the comment believes he holds the "key" to the future of Malaysian hockey and wants to see him use his "veto" powers if he is not satisfied with his team of administrators.

Something for readers to think about and comment. Below is the full text of the comment:

"mahatma has left a new comment on your post "MHF Committees in "Slumberland" - Part 5: "Pointle...":

All said and done, I believe the MHF association has played a key role to the success of hockey in Malaysia.

Just get the right people doing the job and the Pointless Team management committee becomes "meaningful" even though it is not anywhere in the constitutionally set up.

The vital person for the growth and success of all the committee set ups is the PRESIDENT himself. Anyone can run the hockey association but the president takes the hit and answers to the malaysians and to the world about the success or failure of the sports in Malaysia. Not the medical committee, not the TMC, not the coaching committee but the president himself.

The president who has much expertise and respect in the world of sports must be saluted not because of his position but his sincere majestic desires to bring changes and success to the hockey world. Changes is vital for the organisation to grow. The sooner the better as we have less than 300days for asian cup and olympic qualifier and less than 1500 days for the JWC.

If Raja Azlan Shah have been able to do so in the 80's and 90's, I believe that our current president has all the charisma, talent, power, credibility, leadership and willpower to bring Hockey to the next level in Malaysia,

Being the president, he shall have his veto power to override certain decisions made by certain committee if deemed not right for the progress of hockey and this has to be abide by all in MHF.

Dear President, Don't be a toothless lion. the future of Hockey lies in your hand. As the right or whatever wrong decisions made by you will see the success or failure of hockey in Malaysia."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

KLHA's Under 14 two "coaches" issue.

This was a comment i received for another article and i thought that the comment deserve "centre stage", so i have reproduced it as a main article. Obviously, the comment seem to indicate that all is not well in Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association (KLHA). Something i find difficult to believe as it is one of the proper managed hockey association in the country.

The comment seem to distort this image and i hope KLHA would be able to enlighten us on this matter.

Full text of the comment is published below:

"Mahatma has left a new comment on your post "Yet again Malaysian hockey misses the "crowning wi...":


Someone trains the KL under14 boys for 2 years preparing them for the under14 tournament and someone else takes the credit in 2 weeks.

It was a sudden shock to this coach upon arriving from Myanmar under18 tournament that his hard work was given to another coach.

Anyway everything started wrong from the selection process to the way the game was played. One player was not even in the top 18 list and was eventually sent off to play for Malacca where he emerged as the top scorrer for the state.

KL lost the first game and drew the second game. I was in Ipoh attending to a meeting when someone call me to inform that KL under 14 hit badly to the extend that some players do not want to play the next game against Tganu.

News went to the "Original" coach who was shocked with the results. He knew this team was a winning team and many KL coaches was lobbying for it. Not believing the results, he decided to see the boys and the game for himself. And his presence at the field the next day chased away all the curse and gave a fighting spirit to the boys. The angel's blessing went on to give a 7-1 winning against Tganu. The others was all history.

This team won all the matches from than on to win the championship. Of course with one coach at the bench and the other sitting outside showing signs to the boys what to do.

I was in KL when I received a call that the KL boys had won the championship. I slept peacefully that night and many others in KL did the same too.

Powerful characters have powerful minds and Powerful minds build winners. Success does not come overnight but pure hardwork. "

Friday, December 11, 2009

MHF Committees in "Slumberland" - Part 5: "Pointless" Team Management Committee.

Team Management Committee (TMC) of MHF is not a constitutionally designated Committee. It was set up in the past probably one and the half or 2 decades ago to ensure that matters pertaining to the various national teams are under a jurisdiction of a Committee. This is how the TMC derived its name.

While that provided a sound reason but people involved in that era tell a "story" that it was done for political purposes. Apparently a very senior office bearer in MHF felt that he was "cut off" from the day to day matters relating to the national teams and that the other Committees or personalities may have greater access including directly to the President, therefore he pushed for the TMC. Because of his seniority it fell on his lap to Chair, fulling the original intended objective. This way he became the main person reporting to the President and accessibility to the President for others were totally minimised or eliminated.

From then on, everyone involved with the national teams had to "pay their respect" to this person. On a day to day basis he became the "kingpin" of Malaysian hockey, having the administrative and operative control. If the story is a fact, the person must have been a genius in "maneuvering and manipulating" matters without others realising or even if they did, they could not do anything about it. The story concludes with the bottom line that "everything in MHF got going if he felt it deserved the attention and provided it was good for hockey". Therefore in a nutshell, it was not "bad" overall because things got going.

This precedent of having the TMC continued by other administrations of MHF even when the so called "founder" of it left MHF. The TMC brought a fair share of "ups and downs". This time there were more "downs" and slowly the purpose of the existence of the TMC became a glaring question?

In the current administration the TMC is being chaired by the Deputy President and he had selected the TMC's members including a senior officer of NSC to represent them. At its first meeting the TMC decided to name the coaches and team manager's of the senior national team, the junior national team and the national age group team (now it is referred to as the Project 2013 team). All these selections were done without discussing with the Coaching Committee or other relevant parties. The matter seemed to have a sinister flavour when certain people within the TMC were some of the named officials.

The matter got out of hand when the Chairman of the TMC made the appointments public even without informing the President of MHF. The matter became the "talk of the hockey community", when certain people in the TMC and some of the appointed officials seemed to originate from Malacca. Thus the group controlling or having influence on the TMC is referred to as the "Malacca Mafia". This effectively gave rise to the issue on the continuance of the past administration habit of "cronyism", thereby overlooking the fundamentals of meritocracy.

The manner of appointments by the TMC set the "tails wagging" and the main victim of it was the Chairman of the Coaching Committee. His Committee as result of this became " war torn." Accusations were flying around how friends were rewarded with appointments, more so overlooking the fundamental of ethics and conflict of interest. The "hodge podge" approach by the TMC gave a feeling that the whole thing was done in a hurry before the formal matters are considered. Maybe they were fearful that with time they may not be able to achieve their desired objective.

On the meantime, they got away with their first act. Then informally the Chairman of the TMC and the NSC Officer started exercising their powers. They summoned the coaches of the senior team and wanted them to go through their team manager on any statements or communications with any parties. This unusual approach seem to be a "vetting" process and wanting to strength the position of the team manager. Part of the reason was the coaches used to provide independent reports to the President of MHF and NSC. This the "Malacca Mafia" felt uncomfortable and if the reports were vetted then they would have an advance warning, which would give them time to react accordingly. Indeed the Chairman of the TMC was making life difficult for the senior team coaches.

With the passage of time, as more issues developed particularly of disciplinary nature with the national team, the TMC decided "to put its tail between its legs" and walk away from the problems. The TMC did not even "wink an eye" on the matter. Suddenly the TMC "lost its tooth" and became speechless. The purpose of their existence seem to have suddenly disappeared. Some believe that the Chairman of the TMC was slowly being caught out and he does want to display his true colour.

Lately, the Deputy President must have decided that his silence must be "broken". He found a topic that he felt was probably under his jurisdiction as Chairman of TMC and that is the foreign coach for Malaysia. Not realising the rules of confidentiality and breaching the understandings agreed upon, the Deputy President freely made information publicly available. This in a way gave the impression that the TMC is still in-charge of such matters. Some of course believe his actions may be calculated to sabotage the appointment of the foreign coach. The debate on this matter would continue for years to come.

All these raise the fundamental issue of whether there is the need for a TMC? Even if it does , should it not have a scope clearly defined as to what the TMC's functions are and the procedures they must adopt including seeking the endorsement of the Management Committee on certin matters. The TMC should not be seen as an independent unit wanting to do what they like based on their "whims and fancies". Ultimately the President of MHF is responsible and they must know that they cannot usurp his authority.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

MHF Committees in "Slumberland" - Part 4: "Actionless" Vice-Presidents.

MHF has 6 Vice-Presidents (VPs) of which 4 are elected and 2 others are filled by virtue of nomination representing the states of Sabah and Sarawak respectively. The idea probably was to ensure all States are fully represented and also to make sure that the States of Sabah and Sarawak feel they have roles in Malaysian hockey. Maybe when the MHF constitution was drafted then the hockey administrators probably had the foresight of embodying the principles of "1Malaysia" which is the current national slogan.

The 4 elected VPs have their roles defined by being appointed as Chairpersons of the following Committees:
  • Medical

  • Finance

  • Competition

  • Special Projects

The Finance and the Competition Committees seem to be sufficiently active in MHF, whereas the Medical Committee's activities if any ( refer to my article, MHF Committees in "Slumberland"-Part3: "Motionless" Medical Committee dated 4th December 2009) is a "question-mark". Insofar as the Special Projects Committee (SPC), there seems nothing "special" is going on for the services of this VP.

In fact the Chairman of the SPC, i believe is from the legal profession and has a good reputation for undertaking his task properly. It is a pity that this VP's talent is not fully utilised. Although he has been given ad-hoc roles purely as "stop gap" measures in the form of team manager or assistant team manager, still MHF has not fully capitalised on his talent.

Indeed players who were in New Zealand for the World Cup qualifier found him highly responsive to their needs as the assistant team manager. They found him approachable, understanding and easy to communicate with. More importantly he did not have an "agenda" in dealing with them.

It is sad that this VP although being new to MHF seems not to be used to the fullest extent particularly as he is a capable person. Why he being used on a "piecemeal" basis by MHF is "mind blogging."

On the other side the 2 VPs coming from Sabah and Sarawak seem not to exercise their "position" despite their legitimate rights that is enshrined in the constitution of MHF. Both have not made their physical presences in MHF Management and Council Meetings. This probably may explain why they have not been given any portfolios. I do not know whether it is fortunate or unfortunate that they are placed in this predicament especially as MHF VPs and seem not to be doing anything worthwhile.

What is shocking is that one of these States could not even raise a team to participate in the Razak Cup. Another interesting story was about the MHF VP from one of these States, who was appointed as a team manger for a national team on an overseas tour during the time of the previous administration. His busy schedule could not permit him to undertake the job but he recommended one of his family members to the position. Maybe in that State, they may work differently in the administration of hockey.

I may have stated that these VPs may not be contributing anything worthwhile and this may not be perfectly right. One of the VP is in fact in the Development Committee, at least in name. Please read my article, MHF Committees in "Slumberland"- Part 2: "Clueless" Development Committee. dated 1st December 2009, to judge for yourself the prevailing scenario.

What i find difficult to comprehend is how people hold positions and seem not to be worried about not functioning properly. Maybe it is the glamour or "rubbing" shoulders with VIPs or something else that drives them to take up the positions. I do not know whether they understand that they are holding the post in "trust" because they have been elected or nominated to do the job. Therefore in that position they act as "trustees" for Malaysian hockey and they have an implied "fiduciary" duty to perform with reasonable skill and care. Maybe this sort of dimension of thinking has yet to "hit" them to appreciate that holding elected positions even in Sports Associations has a far greater responsibility that they cannot simply ignore.

The issue i have raised about the 2 VPs has been a perennial issue in MHF. The matter has seldom been raised and everyone adopts an accommodating view. It would seem the idea of having the numbers and giving the perception that Sabah and Sarawak is represented, is more important than having functioning VPs. In a way MHF is being "imprisoned" by its own constitution and people have the "fear factor" not to raise the matter.

It therefore becomes essential that these VPs have to decide whether the MHF constitution should provide for Sabah and Sarawak the VP posts. They are the only people who can recommend and from what is happening they should do what is appropriate. Good people from Sabah and Sarawak can still be elected rather than being given the nominated posts. What is important is that posts in MHF must be for people who can perform rather than ending up as "passengers" and expecting the others to carry them. Somehow this is what is happening in MHF.

Friday, December 4, 2009

MHF Committees in "Slumberland" - Part 3: "Motionless" Medical Committee.

After the MHF AGM last Saturday, it would seem 2 people were extremely busy and making a "beeline" for the press. They seemed excited and wanted to display their importance in MHF. They were carrying with them some "hot" news, which according to other office bearers was confidential in nature. Forgetting that aspect of it, the Deputy President and a long serving Vice President of MHF decided to "spill the beans" so to state. Many "MHF watchers" cannot understand why this was done particularly as the President of MHF was there and the TM would be the right spokesman on such a matter i e the foreign coach issue.

Some were finding justification why these 2 key personalities of MHF should act like this. If the TM was absent, a case could be made particularly for the Deputy President. This could be done under the constitution that he was deputising the President, which in this case was not so. As for the Vice President, it is not his area of responsibility and therefore why did he become "sibuk". Sadly both these key officials have let MHF down badly for it implicates the others as though they do not want to talk or are not transparent. It would seem the simple rules of confidentiality were flouted by them . These are no ordinary people but rather very senior officials of the MHF Management Committee.

The Vice President's principal area of responsibility is the Medical Committee. So the question to ask is: "Why is this Vice President so "sibuk" on the matter of foreign coach?" He must consider himself "lucky" to be in possession of such information and he should learn to honour the nature of such information, particular if he is told of its status.

He is probably "sibuk" because he has nothing much to do or his Medical Committee is so "super efficient" that he can find the time to indulge into other areas of responsibility. In checking around, it must be said that many do not know what is happening with the Medical Committee or even if it does exist. They think that if they are doing anything it is probably undertaking or assisting in dope testing and working out ways to ensure that there is physical "medical coverage" in MHF tournaments. Even this they are doubtful as this aspect is usually undertaken by National Sports Institute (NSI) and the MHF office just liaises on the matter.

Indeed, based on my knowledge i do not believe that any random dope testing has ever been carried out by MHF. The only time this tends to take place is when the tournament is organised by FIH or on behalf of FIH. I believe even for the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) tournaments such random tests are not done. The Chairman of the MHF Medical Committee is a key personality in AHF Medical Committee.

One would be surprised to know that the MHF Medical Committee may not have members. It represents a sad state of affairs. If this argument is "stretched", it effectively would mean that this Vice President is not doing anything worthwhile in MHF. Does this explain why he can afford to have a "sibuk" attitude and thereby create an image that he is a key figure in the activities of MHF? Mind you, in a way he seems to have achieved this for the first impression of him dictates such a view.

Seriously, the Medical Committee if it exists and is properly functional could do "a world of wonders" for Malaysian hockey beyond its traditional role relating to dope testing and medical cover at tournaments. What they have to do is "quantum leap" in their thinking and the areas they can assists are:

  1. Enter into collaboration with Universities and study the eating patterns and lifestyle of the players including sleep, drinking, smoking and so forth with the intention of making the necessary recommendations, as to what should be done to sustain endurance and speedy recovery.

  2. Viewing advancement in Sports Science and Bio Medicine with the idea of having relevant courses or seminars for players, officials, and coaches, thereby creating a greater awareness of the key elements and working on them.

  3. With the assistance of NSI, undertaking Bio Mechanical analysis of players with the intention of overcoming their weaknesses and polishing their strengths.

  4. Working out "mental stress" training programmes with the coaches to enhance the capabilities of players to handle various pressure scenarios in a game.

These are some of the areas but as usual there could be many more. At this point, it is more important that the Medical Committee identify the priorities and implement them rather than considering any form of exhaustive list. The little start the Medical Committee can do would in fact be a "quantum leap". No Medical Committee in MHF from the past have taken responsibilities outside the traditional role. We are still dogmatically indulging in traditional ways when we are playing modern hockey. This probably explains why we do not have that "extra" to have sustained Malaysia as a force in world hockey.

The Medical Committee has to move with time and if they find that it is difficult to do so then they must make way for people with innovative ideas who are willing to serve. People cannot take up positions just to warm the "chairs" and give the impression that they are doing work. Sometimes it could be that the people may be out of depth in the respective fields that they continue with the past so as to be within the "comfort" zone. These are selfish views that do not help Malaysian hockey. In a way this may explain Malaysian hockey's current predicament.

Whatever it maybe there is no point beating the "war drum" or "massacring" people, rather it is important that firstly the Medical Committee exists and then start mentally positioning themselves to positively engage in making the "quantum leap" decision of taking on a significant role in the progression of Malaysian hockey. If that "mental block" can be overcome, then the "sky" is the limit. This is where the "sibuk" nature can be best utilised to serve hockey appropriately.

The Medical Committee in coming into existence must understand that they have a far greater role if Malaysia wants to win the coveted titles in hockey. The question is whether as "volunteers" the people in the Medical Committee want to invest the time. The solution would probably be to lay out the policies and procedures and get the MHF administration to ensure its operations. This is the key in ensuring the Medical Committee plays its vital role in moving Malaysian hockey to the right direction in this modern era. The question is whether the Medical Committee would be formed and would have the tenacity to pursue it or be a figment of imagination?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

One year on, Malaysia remembers its "sporting" son, the late Datuk Ho Koh Chye.

On 3rd December 2008, the country was "robbed" of a great sports personality, Datuk Ho Koh Chye. A popular figure, who even in his last hours at home recovering from an operation, was still engaged in discussion on the future of Malaysian sports, particularly hockey. A few months earlier he had completed the national call-up as Chef De Mission for the Malaysian contingent to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Having been embroiled with the Olympics for months including the completion of the various reports and recommendations to OCM, Datuk Ho found the time to have a family holiday prior to his operation. While sports was in Datuk Ho's blood, family was of paramount importance and the holiday may seem to be a divine intervention of getting them together before his final farewell. Now looking back the family would treasure every moment of that holiday.

For Datuk Ho's friends a year has passed by and rarely has his name not been mentioned. Whether it is hockey or OCM or NSC or Ministry of Sports or other sports, usually they would finish a comment by stating, "What would Koh Chye have thought about it?" This is the lasting impression he has left with people. Physically not around yet his spirit and what he stood for continues to remind us of Koh Chye's presence.

His style of handling issues, without having to "upset the cart" is something uncommon in normal people. This extraordinary nature permits Koh Chye to go with the believe that nothing is impossible. He believes people must be given the opportunity to try things out and if they succeed, it is well and good. If they fail, he still believes that they have learnt something which would equip them better for the future. This probably was one of the tenets he utilised to go through life and probably gave him the calmness to handle the challenges he had to face. Indeed the word "NO" was not a common vocabulary with him, as he believed that there were many ways to approach an issue. It was all about finding the right path.

A former Malaysian hockey international K Enbaraj, related an incident in Auckland, New Zealand in the early 1990s, where Koh Chye was the team manager of the Malaysian hockey team for the Olympic qualifiers. This player was not getting his "deadly" hits on target at the warm-up matches and training, which concerned the team management. Enbaraj felt that his attire was too tight-fitting and he was extremely uncomfortable with it and it upset his playing rhythm. The coach did not pay much attention to that matter. However Koh Chye only wanted to know whether if he had the right attire, he would be able to return to his normal play. Trusting the player, Koh Chye took him shopping to sort out the attire. From then on the player was on "fire" and Malaysia qualified for the Olympics.

The point being what may be trivial to others, Koh Chye was prepared to look into and help in the transformation. It may be a small matter yet it was a big issue for Enbaraj and ultimately the team. Koh Chye did not "pooh pooh" the matter, rather he got down to solving it. This is Koh Chye, he had the time for people.

This is where his friends still remember him and are finding ways of honouring him. A former player under him, now a corporate personality Ow Soon Kooi, whose company is involved in the OCM hotel, has got one of the meeting rooms named after Datuk Ho Koh Chye. Apparently he is collecting the various memorabilia of Koh Chye, to be displayed in the meeting room. Koh Chye has the capacity to make an impact on the people who meet him. That itself creates a life-long friendship and one such person is Ow Soon Kooi.

The friend who probably misses him the most would be Datuk R Yogeswaran. Even till today when Koh Chye's name is mentioned, there are tears in Yoges eyes. Koh Chye and Yoges were like brothers and their respective families also understood that relationship. They met in the hockey field as young boys, blossomed their relationship at MTC Penang, deepened their understanding of one another as players of the national hockey team from 1962 to 1968 and thereafter it was a "brotherly" bond that took them through the administration of Malaysian hockey including working together in NSC. For Yoges without Koh Chye is like "his arms missing". That is how close they had been.

While his friends remember him, it is my hope that MHF, OCM, NSC and KBS would do something posthumous to honour Koh Chye. He gave a lot to the country and he did not ask for anything in return. He was always grateful that Malaysia gave him the opportunities and he shouldered these beyond the call of normal duties. Maybe a Sports Scholarship named after him or a posthumous national award or the combination of both would be very appropriate. In years to come future generations of Malaysians would know there was such a high-calibred person like Datuk Ho Koh Chye. What a way for history to record Koh Chye's achievement.

Finally, it is only fitting we also extend our warmest regards to Datin Karen, Koh Chye's spouse and to the family. You all meant a lot to him. Although he gave a major part of his life for the country, it was because he had an understanding wife and family. This probably gave him the peace of mind to venture out and serve Malaysia. We have to thank Datin Karen and the family for giving Datuk Ho Koh Chye the space to have us as his friends.

May God Bless all of you and the soul of Koh Chye.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

MHF Committees in "Slumberland" - Part 2: "Clueless" Development Committee.

The state of Malaysian hockey is what it is today because of the failure to undertake good development programmes by the previous hockey regimes. In the past there was more talk and getting to the ground was a huge hurdle for MHF to surmount. In the last administration one of the current Vice Presidents was for a short while the Chairman of the Development Committee but was tactfully removed as his thinking was not in consonant with the parties that made the difference in MHF then. Therefore if there was any "development", it was the "politicking" and this permeated to all levels in MHF thereby destroying the possibility of concrete development projects materialising. This therefore interrupted the flow of talents in the supply chain.

Malaysian hockey had been quite lucky because NSC came as a saviour with their programmes like "Sukan Teras", "Tunas Cemerlang" and the Sport Schools. If we look at the young generation of players especially in the Project 2013, you can see why i state NSC had been and will continue to be the saviour of Malaysian hockey. Whether it was intended or otherwise, the facts of the matter speaks for itself.

Now lets come to the fundamental issue of what do we mean by the term "Development"? Is it to popularise the game at grassroot such that we have sufficient numbers that permit a good reservoir of players, where quality talents can be extracted to become the first part of the series in the "supply chain" to furnish the States and the high performance national teams.?

If that is so, therefore it is not creating the national team that is the immediate priority but rather the pool of players from the grassroots. However, "grass" can only grow if there are "roots", at least that was what i remembered from my Science lessons. The question then is: Where is the "roots"? Of course they must be planted. It then begs the next question: By whom? This i presume becomes the Vision, strategy and action plan of the Development Committee.

If the preceding paragraph has its basis, then can the current Development Committee after 1 year of mulling over the development issues, be prepared to state that they have got the "modus operandi" under going for "root" planting for grassroot hockey? I ask this question because we can debate "till the cows come home", but the fact remains that the "roots" have not been planted on the ground and the only "planting" if any that has been done, is at the Development Committee itself.

Obviously there is an argument that the Development Committee had submitted 3 plans. The first in early 2009 but it seem to be riding on TNB's Project 2013 programme, which TNB had presented to the previous administration. The 2nd plan was submitted in mid 2009 but seem to be involved with high performance teams rather than planting the "roots". Again the 2nd plan like the 1st had an inherent flaw because the Development programmes were not discussed with the Affiliates, which would have infringed the MHF constitution.

With the coming of the MHF General Manager, apparently the matter became an "eye opener" to the Chairman of the Development Committee. The Development Committee then indulged into discussion with the Affiliates and this was 10 months after the new administration came into office. Even at that stage they came up with a "grandeur" idea i e the 3rd plan, costing a few million ringgits, which from the onset seem to be a non starter.

What surprises me is that the Development Committee is made up of a "high powered" team and i wonder how they miss the obvious matter of "planting the roots". The other problem may also be that the Committee may not have had the guidance by MHF as to know what exactly to tackle. It probably explains why they have the notion of intervention involving the high performance teams.

Some may argue that all these seem to provide the right excuses. Yet, the point being why did the Development Committee not seek guidance at an early stage itself rather than 2nd guessing what is expected of them. Indeed now "planting the roots" may not arise if the Ministry of Education (MOE) Hockey Development programmes gets into full swing. The schools become the "nurseries" i e the "planting fields". This effectively would save the Development Committee the resources of getting down to the ground as the teachers become the "agents of change".

Such being the case the Development Committee may have to re-engineer its direction and position itself to "aid and abet" the MOE development programmes. The areas they could look at is:

  1. Assisting in the creation of more teachers as coaches for development.

  2. Creating a system of quality control with MOE to ensure the system adopted nationwide is of the highest quality,consistent in nature and fits into a national game plan.

  3. Creating a "half way" Academy in each State to spot talents in the MOE programme and further enhance the skills of the selected students through periodic gatherings.

  4. This "half way" Academy can be part of the supply chain of players to the States and high performance teams.

  5. These "half way" Academies should be encouraged to have inter state tournaments to create a competitive nature.

These are some ideas floated, while the high powered team of the Development Committee may have better plans. The point being the Committee cannot sit around and wait for things to "drop from the sky". The MOE initiative is already underway and the MHF Development Committee should work with the MOE to take the programme to another stage rather than "hatching" another plan which may take another year in the making, if past experience is anything to go by.

In this way the Development Committee would be assisting to lay the foundation of a nationwide programme for schools with the MOE and working with the Affiliates. This tripartite relationship if undertaken properly would become a benchmark and a legacy to sports. More importantly, it could be the "infrastructure" to ensure an uninterrupted supply chain for future quality talents in Malaysian hockey. I am sure that would be the dream of this high powered Development Committee and why not?