Using this as the backdrop, my story relates to Malaysian hockey particularly to the coaches attached with the various national teams. These coaches are in the payroll of MHF ( in reality it is NSC) with MHF as their employer. In essence the relationship between MHF and the coaches is a "employer-employee" one and therefore there are both written and unwritten rules to be observed.
This matter must now be microscopically analysed in view of the prevailing inconsistencies that have arisen. Being employees the coaches have to abide by the contractual terms and policies of MHF. Here i believe the concerned coaches had followed suit and requested clearance from NSC to permit them to coach some Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) teams. Apparently NSC gave the clearance and the matter was communicated by MHF Secretary to the Chairman of the Coaching Committee. Peculiarly, i believe the Secretary had not informed the President of MHF nor the Management Committee. The Chairman of the Coaching Committee in his enthusiasm by-passed the Coaching Committee and "rubber-stamped" the NSC clearance, thereby permitting the coaches to seek a supplementary employment ( not for some of the coaches ) with the MHL teams.
Sometimes "the world moves in strange ways" and as such at the first available meeting of the Management Committee, it was decided that the coaches involved with the various national teams should not be involved with the MHL teams. The directive for the coaches was to scout for talents at the MHL matches. There was wisdom in that decision from an ethical and conflict of interest point of view. This decision was subsequently endorsed by the Coaching Committee and this put the coaches in a predicament including the teams.
At this stage it must be noted that it only involved 3 coaches and 2 teams. 2 of them are full-time employees of one of the involved team's organisation and were seconded to the various national teams. One of them is regarded as a senior coach and is not even being paid by MHF or NSC while the other gets a paltry sum only. Insofar as the 3rd person ie the chief coach of one of the national teams, he is a "career" coach and lately his livelihood is dependent upon the remuneration from coaching. Therefore coaching the "other" team would have significantly improved his quality of life. It would be a sound enough reason if that is the only reason.
Superficially everything seems to be OK except when one "lifts the team's veil" to see what is happening. Some may say it is a beauty while others may think it is ugly. Maybe an insight of what actually is taking place may give you a better understanding:
- The team that wanted the 2 coaches, only wanted to use their own full-time staff to undertake the team's coaching task. So to avoid any controversy, one of the coaches was registered as a player. This permitted the coach to be present at all times with the team. As for the other coach, his full time job is being the Head of the Sports Unit and this provides him access to the team while they are training. Meantime the team had registered another person as the official coach.
- The other team with the chief coach seems to have adopted a different stance. They seem to have a "hide & seek" approach. Having registered a different coach as the official coach for the team, the chief coach is used as a "consultant" (not in an official capacity) by sitting at the stand and giving telephone instructions to the registered coach. Apparently he also attends team meetings before and after games. As to whether he is being paid for the services, i am unable to comment as i do not have information on such matters.
In a nutshell when we "lift the teams' veils" what we have is 2 scenarios. The team with their full time staff seem to be transparent in their workings. It is probably the principles of corporate governance in their organisation that is brought to the hockey field. It shows when you carefully groom people with the right attitude and training, the modus operandi of the team speaks for itself.
As for the other team , the "hide & seek" approach is a reflection of a desperate desire to win the MHL and therefore seemingly anything to everything is done by the backdoor. They seem to be in a "pressure vessel" and performance with result is the only governing factor. This is obviously a "Machiavellian" outlook and maybe the people behind the team may subscribe to such principles. This may not surprise me as the team is literally made up of national players and the investment in keeping the players is extremely enormous. Therefore winning at all cost is something that cannot be compromised, which itself imposes considerable stress to the people behind the team.
The problem with the "hide & seek" approach is that it becomes an example for others to follow. The danger being when players of the team who are all national players or youngsters would think that this is "normal". Effectively we would be teaching them the wrong things and thereby players may find it difficult to distinguish between right and wrong.
This paves the way for indiscipline issues among players especially when they see people involved making a wrong look right. The maxim of "what is good for the goose is also good for the gander" may come to haunt Malaysian hockey if the leadership at clubs do not set good examples to their players. Indeed if any, issues pertaining to excessive drinking with late night partying during training, smoking, betting and so forth could have had their "seeds" sown because of such instances ie condoning acts that are normally not accepted in our country. Lets not be "teachers" for the wrong things in life if we are in a position to influence young sportsmen.