Part of this could arise from the 5 part series of articles which i had written over the last 7 weeks in the blog. Just to jolt your memory, the main title was: MHF Committees in "Slumberland" and the various Parts are as follows:
- Part 1 : "Directionless" Coaching Committee dated 28th.November.2009
- Part 2 : "Clueless" Development Committee dated 1st.December.2009
- Part 3 : "Motionless" Medical Committee dated 4th.December.2009
- Part 4 : "Actionless" Vice Presidents dated 8th.December.2009
- Part 5 : "Pointless" Team Management Committee dated 11th.December.2009
Reading the articles it may give the outlook that MHF is a "crippled" organisation. If such a perception is portrayed, i may be partly to be blamed, as it was not intended to be so. Rather it was to provide an insight on how, when some key portfolios are not functioning, certain inherent strengths in MHF or Malaysian hockey tended to fill the vacuum to keep hockey afloat through the various piecemeal actions. Obviously, at the same time it also highlights whether MHF have the right people to do the job.
A classic example is in Development. While the MHF Development Committee is still fiddling with its plans after 1 year, we have to recognise some of the development activities outside the ambit of the Development Committee and they are:
TNB's "Thunderbolt" Development Programme - TNB as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) has about 4 to 6 coaches visiting selected schools throughout the country. They are not only training the kids but also equipping the schools with full sets of hockey equipment to encourage the schools' participation.
Ministry of Education (MOE) Development Programme - With the former Director General of NSC being in a Sports Advisor position to the Minister of Education, there seems to be significant increase in level of activities in the MOE with regards to grassroot development in hockey. Something exciting is developing in this area.
"Pearl" Development Programme - Started as a social programme to get kids occupied, this has developed into a significant activity over the weekend at the Pantai Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. Undertaken by a known coach and assisted by 2 others, their dedication is unquestionable and they are doing a grand job. The interesting aspect is to see the parents finding the space and time to get their children involved. These are good signs.
I have listed a few such programmes but there are many more where dedicated people on their own are doing work throughout the country. They may or may not be affiliated to any groups but are just doing it for the love of the game. Some of them are teachers or former teachers , hockey players either former internationals or non-internationals who just want to dedicate their time. These people are not paid and therefore their commitment goes well beyond the realms of money or fame. It is all about commitment to help the game of hockey. Mind you, with time these people are becoming "endangered" species and their numbers growing smaller.
Looking at this scenario, what must be realised is that in MHF there are only a few people working. Majority of them are "arm chair" critics whose sole purpose is to hold positions and just poke holes on work done by others. Fortunately for them they carry out good public relation exercises with such skills that they give the perception that they are the "kingpins" in MHF. What seems to be happening is the ones who work, are quietly going about to deliver their obligation and do not seek the fanfare.
The President of MHF in coming to power allowed the democratic system to determine who shall be the elected officials. In wanting the change in 2008, the focus of the majority was to keep a certain personality out. Therefore the net result was most of the officials from the previous administration were re-elected barring for this one personality. Effectively, the TM had inherited the previous administration with all the "fixtures and fittings" that came with them. They were not assets rather debts to the tune of RM1.6m and a declining standard in hockey particularly with all the national teams ie seniors, juniors and age groups.
Did the change that was expected after 2008 elections materialise? To be fair the TM personally got into the act and got many things going. Today MHF is relieved of its debts and apparently seems to have a fairly good bank balance. The administration is moving smoothly with the introduction of the General Manager.
In performance there is "hot and cold" news. The Senior team failed to qualify for the World Cup but came close by being in the qualifier final. World ranking improved from 16th to 15th. The Juniors despite home ground advantage did not improve on their position. The age group qualified for the final of the Under 18 Asia Cup.
The national team's discipline issues continues to remain a problem as nothing concrete is being done to check the matter. Officials maneuver and manipulate situations for players to strength themselves thereby encouraging cliques and creating pathways to woo them to their set-ups. This results in "money" becoming the much needed commodity thereby creating a "greed" appetite where"vices" become the natural foothold for players.
Now that the TM has moved to put MHF in a better position, there are people already looking at positioning themselves with affiliates and certain officials in MHF to become the successful elected officials at the next MHF BGM , which probably shall be in October or November 2010. Strategical moves are already underway and the talk for contest for Deputy President, Vice-Presidents, Secretary and Treasurer is already being ear-marked. The operations of MHF and the actions of some of its officials is under careful scrutiny while connections are being made with the affiliates to "smooth" their passage to the positions.
The TM would not be contested as parties realise they too need him. People who have been in the peripherals of MHF and former hockey internationals are doing whatever they can including using financial resources or attention seeking or remaining in the background and pulling the strings, all to display their capabilities. It is a "soft" selling approach as it is early days to declare any interest.
Sometimes one wonders whether it is hockey they are interested in or more because they want to be close to the TM. As time moves in 2010, many matters will emerge to confirm or dismiss some of the stories that have been outlined. What is important is the TM must be aware that such a potential scenario could exists and decide if it is good for Malaysian hockey. TM himself too has to decide if he still wants to helm MHF in the years to come. If so the TM must see to changes that bring the right people for the various portfolios, so as MHF works as a cohesive team embedded with the principles of excellence. Excellence has to start from the top and not just talked about but practiced.