Monday, November 30, 2009

MHF Coaching Chairman seem to be on a "showmanship" trip.

Following my article: MHF Committees in "Slumberland" - Part 1: "Directionless" Coaching Committee, i question the wisdom of releasing the national coaches to be employed by the MHL clubs, when they are paid full time salaries to serve the national teams. I also questioned why when every one of the national coaches were allowed except for the chief national coach.

Today's dailies reported the Chairman of Coaching Committee's disappointment of the MHF Council rejection of his clearance to the national coaches. Firstly there is no change of mind by the MHF Council because it would be the first time they would have come to know about it. In that sense the Council as the governing body has the right to decide.

More importantly the action of the Chairman of the Coaching Committee must be questioned. He has acted "ultra vires" of the constitution of MHF. He unilaterally made the decision without consulting his own Committee. This is not the first time he has done such an act. Over the period he has been Chairman, he has created enough blunders on a unilateral basis , which has turned his Committee meetings into "war" scenario.

Now in the heights of "showmanship", the Chairman in his action of calling for a meeting to discuss the issue of the national coaches, maybe taking on the MHF Council. Maybe he is trying to display who is the "boss" and calls the "shots". Probably this maybe an error of judgement on his part that may bring the whole MHL to disrepute. The point being such a meeting should have been held prior to his unilateral decision. At least he would have had the constitution on his side and more so the Affiliates representatives too. After "spilling the milk" he is trying to salvage his own pride.

If the Chairman of the Coaching Committee "tickles" his grey matter carefully, he would realise some of the facts he made known to the medis may not paint the right scene. He has to recognise the following:

  1. The number of national coaches who are on MHF payroll and suppose to be involved in MHL are only 3. They are the senior team assistant coach, The national Under 18 coach and his assistant.

  2. The above 2 assistant coaches are employees of TNB and they are adequately looked after by their employer. On a piecemeal, the issue of being paid a paltry RM$750 per month as national assistant coach and staying in KL may be dramatising the issue. Please check with the person concerned of his combined remuneration package for the truth.

  3. As for TNB, i am sure they have adequate coaches because of their corporate social responsibilities to hockey. The services of these 2 personalities may not be deemed necessary.

  4. The only person that remain an issue would probably be the national Under 18 coach. On the first place in taking the appointment he should have realise that he is moving to a different bracket and he should have made sure that he negotiated a reasonable remuneration package to make up for what he would not be earning.

  5. Finally the argument of precedent does not mean it is always right when time passes on. At that time there may have been grounds and whether the same grounds apply now may be questionable. Indeed if any, the Chairman should "weight" each circumstances on its own merits and not allow history alone to dictate the decisions.

Just because "one or two people decided to have dreams, it does not mean that they can impose nightmares" to MHF and Malaysian hockey. The strange thing is the Chairman of the Coaching Committee is "blind" to these facts and seem to be guided by "whims and fancies" of the situations.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Anonymous comment on matters relating to Sports School

I received the comment below for my article titled': "Sports School seem confused with their hockey boys", dated 21st of November.

Although i have published the comment under that article, i felt it is also proper to let the other side of the story be given its publicity.

The comment has raised some interesting matters and it would be worthwhile to see the reaction of the readers.

Below is the full text of the comment.

"Mr Ghandi,

We have to be fair with the KPM or Sports School!

When a talent is spotted at MSSM Inter-state tournament there is a big cry by certain MHF officials that Sports Schools is "KILLING" the state development.

Then why are there 90% of the current National Juniors that took part in Myanmar consist of players from SSBJ & SSBP.

A good question that needed to be answered by State HAs and MHF. Lembu punya Susu Sapi punya nama. This sounds familiar?

Please also let me clear the air that all players from sports school are released back to the home state for all tournaments. Be it MSSM or MHF tournaments i.e U14, 16, 18 and even Sukma.

Mr Ghandi, why should you not be concern if you are a parent of a player from sports school?
Where do u think the existing national players pick up the drinking habits?

Well with beers free flow out of the chillers after a MHL game (and training) it is matter of time a student from SPORTS SCHOOL be on this habit. Well before you know it he will be reaching the school gate after 12pm drunk. Well the famous 3 recently. 2 current players, 1 is the living proof of this where he received early training to this routine habit.

So Ghandi, please check these fact before we pick on the wrong parties that is killing the game.

I sincerely hope that you are also not a supporter of paying big money to these students. It appears that this is the practice with the clubs. Grab what you can by luring money and buying loyalty.

Mr Ghandi, this is also the training ground towards 10/2 habits and illegal internet betting!

On a sad note why the MHF does not support the idea of Sports school putting a side instead?

Maybe that would be better since the question of accountability and responsibility for these students will be taken care for before they leave school.

Cheers Sir, we hope you are in a better position to promote better image of the Sports Schools and stop the negative articles on the good work done by KPM or the Sports"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

MHF Committees in "Slumberland" - Part 1: "Directionless" Coaching Committee

MHF shall be having their AGM today and dutifully all the Committees shall be presenting their annual report. Many may get a way with it as the Affiliates may not know what to ask the Committees to account for their 1 year activities. An area that may get great focus would probably be the Coaching Committee, the Development Committee and the Medical Committee. For this article i shall confine myself to the Coaching Committee.

Coaching because it has been riddled with enough controversies from the previous MHF administration. The "hue and cry" continues into the current administration as part of an exercise referred to as "pay back" time. Many who were involved in the running of Coaching Committee previously are now in the position of being members and are giving back what they got previously. Indeed the coaches close to the previous administration have been left in the "lurch" and this has annoyed them even more. Effectively there are cliques in the Coaching Committee that make good decisions difficult to come by.

Indeed the Coaching Committee Chairman has acted strangely including not following the MHF constitution in the appointment of the initial Coaching Committee Secretary. He was not spared the devastating verbal attacks from a particular group within the Committee. Indeed he tended his resignation and subsequently withdrew it. The Chairman has been literally bullied by certain key officials in MHF particularly by the Team Management Committee when they named all the coaches for the various national high performance teams without discussing it with the Coaching Chairman.

The Coaching Committee is scarred badly that its creditability is severely dented. They have even failed to issue certificates for coaching courses completed some 8 months ago. This is the state of affairs and peculiarly if you do ask for the certificates from the Coaching Committee, they tend to point the fingers to the Secretary of MHF. If you ask the Secretary of MHF, he points it back to the Coaching Committee. End of the day these 2 people have a good laugh but the poor coaches are still without the certificates. Even a simple act like that is so time consuming.

Therefore you can see that they do not have a clue of what to do. They are doing nothing seriously, not even trying to get our coaches to FIH courses. A year has gone by and the Coaching Committee is still in its bickering mode. It would seem difficult to get anything done.

Latest of the fiasco is for the Coaching Committee to release the national coaches and their assistants to become coaches or consultants for the MHL teams. The only exception seem to be the Chief National Coach. These are full time coaches with MHF and if they are not training any of the national teams, then they must be busy spotting talents or helping in development or running courses for novice coaches. The problem here is the coaches want more money and such the Coaching Committee allows them to indulge. Question is what ever happens to their full time job for which they are being paid?

In all fairness, MHF must stop this silly clearance that the Coaching Committee has given or not at least deduct their full time salaries if they want to participate in the MHL by granting them "no paid leave".. What i cannot understand is if everyone else can take part why then create an exception for the Chief Coach. Might as well everyone enjoy earning more money at the expense of their full time job. After all it is taxpayers money!!!!!

More importantly why should the National Coaches have a monopoly. They are already promoted therefore give the other budding coaches a chance to be exposed. Where else can they get a chance to work in an environment that MHL creates. If any, the national coaches are not only greedy but are equally selfish. All this happens because of the lack of foresight in the Coaching Committee and its Chairman. Strangely these are the guys who are going to create the coaches to train our generation of hockey players. I seriously think MHF need to look at this carefully if they want there to be "hope" for the future of Malaysian hockey.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yet again Malaysian hockey misses the "crowning win". Why?

Consecutive Sundays, Malaysian hockey had 2 teams in the finals, one the Seniors at World Cup qualifier in New Zealand and the other at Asia Cup Under 18 in Myanmar. In both instances we ended up playing "2nd fiddles". It seem that the "winning crown" is eluding Malaysia.

Some put it to the fact that our players are unable to cope with the "big game" temperament. The pressure of wanting to qualify for the bigger event adds a higher level of stress which either allows them to start with a "bang" and then fizzle out with time or start poorly with a number of goals down thereby staging a "fightback" against the clock. Both these scenarios seem to fit with our teams in New Zealand and Myanmar respectively.

This "yo yo" temperament of the team seem to reflect the lack of consistency throughout the game and thereby hurting themselves from becoming champions. This is because we do not educate our players to familiarise how to cope with different pressure scenarios and the varying levels of stress. Both the finals in which our boys were involved is a classic reflection of the lack of such familiarisation. Part of the reason is that our national league is not highly competitive as it is dominated in the main by 1 team which has most of the national players. Therefore the training ground does not exist.

One does not have to be a "rocket scientist" to analyse these issues. If we are aware we must take the necessary steps to prepare the boys accordingly, it is imperative that the coaches understand this and select and substitute the players accordingly. This is where Sports Science and Bio Medicine data of the players are fundamental. This has to be incorporated into an IT system where the coaches can utilise it on a real time basis during the game. Modern progressive qualified coaches use such tools to cope with the growing demand of ensuring their team has that added advantage over their opponents.

To be fair to our senior national coaches like Beng Hai and Nor Saiful, against all odds and the predictions of certain naysayers they have done well. More so if we look at the adversities they had to face during the time they were handling the team. It is incredible they still could get the best out of the team. I am not saying that they are brilliant coaches, rather hard working and highly focused of wanting to achieve their objective. Their principle minded nature where they call "a spade, a spade" provides an uncompromising position particularly on discipline and training methodology. This had upset a few senior players plus certain key officials who were trying to undermine the coaches. However the leadership at MHF and NSC had kept faith with both these coaches and in a way the New Zealand final is a testament to these coaches determined quest of working and geting the best from the available talents.

At this point it must be noted that our reservoir of talents as part of the supply chain is slowly but surely "drying up". Almost 1 year has gone by and the Development Committee is still at the drawing board working out their development programme. This is what that puts the pressure on the future when the wise men find it difficult to put together reasonable effective plan to develop talents. The "high flying" stature and the huge financial commitment they are looking at, in the absence of a sound integrated platform seem to reflect the lack of understanding of the terrain of grass root hockey in Malaysia. While the Development Committee continues on its "mental gymnastics" , they must be aware that the ground does not get fertilised with development while they "think". This delay would bring its price too.

Reverting back to our Under 18 team, the coach Dharma supported by Nor Azlan and Gopi are doing a good job. They are moulding the boys well, cajoling at the right time and using the "rod" where it is required. Dharma's boys are shaping up well and they have taken the game to the top teams in Asia. That itself is a good start but we must recognise that Asian hockey is on a downward spiral and therefore we must always look at the Europeans and Oceania nations as a basis of comparison. Can we match with the teams from these regions? That would be the real test.

The Under 18 coach seem to ooze a high level of confidence particularly viewing his pre match comments. At a point it would seem he had portrayed a degree of arrogant over-confidence and Dharma has to be cautious of this. It would seem the defeat at the final had brought him down to earth as he accepted responsibility for the tactical error. Maybe with time and more international exposure the coach too would be able to fine tune his approach.

Dharma's greatest task is how he is going to hold the team together for the future. As it is they are being coaxed with monies and other attractive offers to turn out for various teams in the MHL. They are going to be exposed to all sort of things from good, bad and ugly, which is going to tempt them accordingly. Many had paid the price and in a way had affected the "bolts and nuts" of the teams in the past. Something Dharma and his fellow coaches have to look at if they want their "stars" to perform consistently in the future.

If we are not careful the consecutive Sunday finals where Malaysia appeared has given some hope to Malaysian hockey and may only be a one of matter. We can be in many finals and get all the "crown" but it requires people passionate of hockey with modern, progressive, intellectual outlook, who can bring with them scientific and corporate culture to be incorporated into the operations of Malaysian hockey. That is the only "WAY FORWARD".

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sports School seem "confused" with their hockey boys.

I thought the idea of having Sports Schools was to develop the talent of players in various sports. If that is so, then these athletes must be given the exposure to participate as much as they can in various sporting events. At least that should be the case as opportunities may not be always there unless they are continuously created.

With the coming of the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL), various teams have been on the hunt for players. These teams are prepared to pay the "going" rate as "salaries" for the players and are even prepared to provide scholarships plus employment. Indeed if any it seem to set an attractive basis for the young talents, which must be encouraged.

Unfortunately majority of the young talents seem to originate from the Sports School and there seem to be a confusion of whether such players can be "tapped" for the MHL by the teams. Initially, they were told that Sports School policies cannot allow them, notwithstanding that most of them would have finished their SPM. Strange that a player is still part of the school when he has completed his SPM. When the Sport School found that argument could not sell, they changed their strategy that the school is having a tour to Sabah during the school holidays. Yet again why take the SPM boys who technically will not be with the school. It would be better to take the next generation of players.

The Sport School seem to have created a bureaucratic position of making it difficult for the young talents to be secured to play for the various teams in the MHL. While the confusion seem to be raging on the SPM students something similar seem also to be happening with the matriculation students too.

One wonder whether it is policies or just certain hurdles created so as particular group or groups could benefit from these talents. I raised this as one of the staff of the Sports School has been appointed as a coach of a MHL team and with a "magical wand" some of the previous issues seem to have evaporated into thin air. Is this a mere coincident or is there a change of heart or a planned strategy to gain an advantage? This is where the Sports School and its staff have too be careful for their actions can be construed in many ways when potential conflicts exist.

Whatever it maybe the point is that the young talents who have become "hot properties" are being being used as "tools" by certain party or parties to achieve their own objectives. This must be stopped as they create further confusion as Malaysian hockey tries to keep its head above water.

What must be clear is that these boys must be given all the opportunity to be exposed and reap the benefits that come with it. Rather than creating hurdles and making life difficult for clubs to tap their services, the Sport School must be helpful. They must create a defined pathway for clubs to come and assists their students i e provide a service that is only going to help sports and ultimately the country.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Golden goal takes Dharma's boys to Under 18 Asia Cup final

In consecutive Sundays Malaysian hockey has worked its way into 2 finals. Last Sunday it was the Senior team at the World Cup qualifier final in New Zealand and coming Sunday it shall be Dharma's Under 18 boys playing Pakistan for the Asia Cup final in Myanmar. Surely the TM must be in jublilant mood as it has been sometime since we had such news.

I do not have the full story of the semi-final game between South Korea and Malaysia except that Dharma's boys won the match on golden goal in extra time with a score at 3-2. Visit to get a brief insight of the match. It provides comments from Dharma of his team performance.

Well done Malaysian Under 18 boys and our best wishes for the final. I am sure Dharma would be burning the late night candle to strategise the tactics and the set pieces for the game. Dharma you have our support, for your boys and you can do it. Good Luck.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Project 2013 team doing their bit to salvage Malaysian hockey at Yangon Under 18 Asia Cup. .

The Senior hockey team did its bit to claw back some pride and dignity for Malaysian hockey when they entered the final of the World Cup qualifier in New Zealand. Although playing at the World Cup still remains a dream for many, as Malaysia was defeated by New Zealand 2-1, yet the boys did something unexpected. It is significant for it shows there is hope for Malaysian hockey and it is how we are going to capitalise on it.

More so, as Dharma's boys, the Project 2013 squad in Yangon seem to be keeping our "Jalur Gemilang" flying. In the Under 18 Asia Cup, Malaysia had defeated Sri Lanka 9-0 and yesterday beat India 3-2. Effectively we are into the semi-finals with one game left in the group i e against Pakistan.

Not much has been reported about this tournament and therefore it looks like Dharma's boys are not getting the publicity they deserve. These are young boys and they must know that the Malaysian hockey fraternity is with them. This would go a long way as they are the future of Malaysian hockey. If Dharma's boys do a good job at the Asia Cup then we know that the next generation of national players are being groomed in the right manner.

In a way this is where MHF seem to lack the public relation exercise. Their website seem inaccessible while their leadership seem to be silent with the results of the Under 18. MHF must learn to "blow its trumpet" when it matters and accordingly entering into the final of the World Cup qualifier and the good results emerging from the Under 18 Asia Cup are good instances.

Much too often we are critical of MHF and the performance of the teams. Yet of late that disturbing trend seem to have been diverted with certain pieces of good news. All is not lost in Malaysian hockey, yet we still cannot afford to sit on our laurels. More work has to be done and it is important that MHF should get down to it expeditiously.

Meantime may we extend our best wishes and good luck to Dharma's boys in Yangon and hope that they strive as hard as they are doing to ensure the "Jalur Gemilang" is hoisted as the winning flag.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Zealand's "deadly 3 mins" kills Malaysia's opportunity to compete at the 2010 Hockey World Cup.

My article on Saturday: Malaysian hockey team - Considered "no hopers" make it to World Cup qualifier's final, i stated that in the hour of need the players have to be aware that the nation is standing with them and therefore they must give more than their best for the final. On Sunday, Malaysia took on New Zealand to decide who shall make to the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi.

Those who were watching the direct telecast of the match must have been surprised that Malaysia took an early lead and were able to sustain that lead to half time. Although surprise the sense of joy and jubilant could not be hidden notwithstanding the fact that this team was categorised as "no hopers". As the match progressed the tag of "no hopers" was obliterated from most of our minds. The Malaysian team seem to be serious and were actually trying their best. They may not be very skillful nor highly tactical but they had the "mati mati" spirit of wanting to succeed.

Although most played in the Test matches with Australia but the way the team played in the final seem to reflect that they had a new "zest" of life. It cannot be the cold weather or the Kiwi food, rather i believe it must be the sheer determination of the players wanting to win. The coaches and the team management must be congratulated in transforming the team in such a short spell.

As the game progressed we seem to be missing our penalty corners especially as we had 3 in a stretch. Something we have to look into for the future. Up to 81% of the game we had been leading New Zealand with the solitary goal and in a deadly 3 minutes the Kiwis netted 2 goals off penalty corners. This seem to have taken off the "air" from our boys as their fight back seem to have lost the character they had in the first 81% of the game.

At the final whistle Malaysia was defeated 2-1 by New Zealand. Obviously the players must be sad but they can walk with their heads high up. As "no hopers" they were 13 minutes away from making it into the World Cup. That is how close they came to achieve a dream that has been eluding Malaysian hockey. Some dignity and pride has been restored but the key question is: "Would we be as consistent or better in our future performances". Something that MHF has to look into immediately.

For the moment lets praise our players for their good performance and the coaches plus team management for preparing the team for this tournament. What is important is that we must built on the momentum we have gathered in New Zealand rather than allowing it to fizzle out. Maybe the failure to qualify for the World Cup is a "stepping stone" for future success.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Malaysian hockey team - Considered "no-hopers" make it to World Cup qualifier's final.

Following months of fiasco in the national team and the disappointing performance at the Test matches with Australia, many including myself felt that the national team are going to New Zealand just to make up the "numbers" for the World Cup qualifier. The believe was we would probably be positioned 3rd to 5th at the qualifier. This would mean at the worst case we would be behind New Zealand, China, Austria and Scotland. In a way this would signify the demise of Malaysian hockey.

The bigger picture of national interest and not wanting to provide a "damning" prediction prior to the departure of the team or while the qualifier was on going, made me refrain from writing about the national team. After the 1st match against Austria, where Malaysia drew with a minnow team, confirmed my initial views. Thereafter pulling through with Wales and Scotland by one goal margin, did not in anyway change my sentiments especially taking account of our 4-2 defeat by New Zealand.

Today, taking on China and defeating them 3-0 and making it into the final of the qualifiers, has rekindled a bit of hope in the Malaysia team. Part of the reason is probably that they are going to be 1st or 2nd, which in a way has messed up my prediction and i am pretty happy about it. It is probably the team is "peaking" at the right time and kudos must go to the players, coaches and team management.

Tomorrow they take on New Zealand and that game would determine whether we make it to New Delhi for the 2010 World Cup. I do not want to make a prediction for it is important we all stand and support the team. We may have certain views but it must be forgotten tomorrow, for the most important aspect is for the team to be aware that the whole nation is with them. The players must give more than their best and everything is possible. The show of grit determination combined with passion and intelligent tactics must surely get the Kiwis to become guarded. That "mati mati" spirit would rattle the best of teams in the world.

So Good Luck Malaysia.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

An apology to the National Team Manager

In my article yesterday titled: TM's decisiveness on Beng Hai's "hour of need", i inadvertently omitted to mention George Koshy's name for being supportive of getting Beng Hai's return to Malaysia. As Team manager, George is in New Zealand with the team and is the principal personality holding the reins of the Malaysian contingent.

I duly apologise to George for the error as the omission may have given rise to various other interpretations to the readers of the article. It is my hope that this little note would help to rectify the situation.

This also mean that i can take this opportunity to wish George and the team the very best of luck and hope they are able to fulfill their objective. Good Luck

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

TM's decisiveness in Beng Hai's "hour of need".

Today Beng Hai has arrived in town in a sombre mood as he makes his way to Taiping to be with his family and loved ones, who are gathered to pay their respects to his late father. Beng Hai's father succumbed following a road accident on Monday. At that time Beng Hai had just arrived in New Zealand with the national team for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

On receiving the news Beng Hai in his usual self did not want to trouble others nor distract the team, as such he kept the news to himself. If it was not for the kind intervention of MHF, the Malaysian officials in New Zealand would not know of this "heart breaking" news that Beng Hai was carrying himself. Indeed from what we gather Beng Hai wanted to keep things as normal as possible without displaying any emotions. He probably wanted to continue his duty despite the adverse emotional stress he was undergoing. Poor Beng Hai was caught in two worlds i e the duty as a national coach in New Zealand and to be with his family in providing support to one another in this hour of bereavement.

Fortunately, there was a thoughtful MHF official who brought the news of Beng Hai's father's sudden demise to the TM. Apparently without a second thought the TM requested that all necessary things must be done for Beng Hai to return to Malaysia to participate in the last rites for his father. Such decisive action of TM paved the way to get Beng Hai to Malaysia as soon as possible.

While arrangements were being made from Kuala Lumpur, Saiful as Assistant coach and Gopi as Assistant team manager were prepared to hold the reins in Beng Hai's absences. At the same time the concerned Beng Hai felt that once he has fulfilled his obligatory last rites to his father, he would immediately depart for New Zealand to be with the team. This effectively meant that Beng Hai would be in the country for only 24 hours, thereby making it for Malayia's 1st match.

At this moment Beng Hai would be going through a heightened emotional stress level trying to cope with the demise of his father, the grieving scenario of the family and also wondering about his boys in New Zealand. These are challenging times for Beng Hai but what is important is that people have to give and display the much needed support in his hour of need. The TM and MHF had provided the right support while his hockey colleagues are gathering to help him through this grieving moments. What is important is the Malaysian hockey team have to give their best to show to their coach that in his hour of need they are there with the right results. It has to be the team's added passion.

It is only fitting that on behalf of the Malaysian hockey fraternity, may the blog extend our condolences and sympathy to Beng Hai's family and Beng Hai on his father's demise and our prayers for his father's soul.