Monday, February 8, 2010

KLHC's defeat by Sapura - "Is Malaysian hockey in crisis?"

The 2-leg semi-finals of the MHL has brought out some interesting dimensions. The 4 teams who were involved probably has the best hockey players in Malaysia from current internationals both senior and junior plus age group blended with experienced former internationals. TNB played Maybank whilst Sapura took on Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC).

On paper TNB had a well balanced side of 2 former internationals with 4 current internationals and the rest were age group players. As for Maybank they relied heavily on their former internationals supported by at least 2 current internationals. The score for both the legs was a 2-1 win for TNB and 2-2 draw for the 2nd match, but sadly the umpires carried the day with the poor quality of umpiring. These are our Class 1 umpires and yet their display was of such a pathetic nature, they seem to give the distinct impression that they were absolutely novice in the field.

If not for the umpires , both the games were good and TNB had that extra edge. To be fair Maybank put up a great fight and credit should go to their Gobinathan, who was playing with a hamstring tear for both the matches. One person who needs mentioning in TNB is their young talent Faizal Shaari whose skill with the ball was outstanding. He remained a continuous threat to Maybank. This is a player who i believe would go places.

A special mention must be made of the CEO of Maybank and his team for finding the time to be at the 1st leg. What was interesting is that he spent time with the players before the game and thereafter sat with their small band of Maybank supporters at the terrace. Great to see him coming to support his team and doing things the simple way without any fuss.

Sapura's game against KLHC was dubbed as the game between Sapura and "Malaysia". The reason being KLHC literally has the Malaysian national players ie combination of seniors and juniors. Whereas Sapura were carrying about 7 former internationals led by Kuhan and had with them the wealth of experience. On top of it, acting as consultant for Sapura was Stephen Van Huizen, a former national coach who has the "Midas" touch with every team he has worked with. So this was a game of former internationals against the current internationals.

On paper, it should have been a simple job for KLHC. Unfortunately this was the team that was given all the resources, at the envy of the other teams. They not only played for Malaysia but they were paid unbelievable salaries and training allowance by their club for much longer periods than other teams or the league itself. Some were even given a lump sum and all of these encouraged them to be influenced by undesirable activities which has sparked off discipline issues. This was the problem with the national team and people wonder whether this was something that grew its roots at the club level. It would seem that once the appetite is full and life is filled with vices there is lack of " hunger" to perform. Was this KLHC's dilemma?

I pose this question as KLHC lost 4-2 to Sapura in the 1st leg and drew 1-1 in the 2nd leg, losing in aggregate 5-3. Yes! the national team lost to the retired internationals and what a ramification it would be for Malaysian hockey. What complicated matters is the "dual" system of control adopted by KLHC in controlling and influencing the team. Officially there was a coach and team manager at the bench yet, at the terraces, the "powers to be" in KLHC were "dishing" out instructions to the team. The "invisible" coach and manager was up at the terraces trying to circumvent policies of MHF and rules of ethics including conflict of interest. What is surprising is that everyone knew about it and so why have such an elaborate system to play the "hide and seek". These are the sort of "play acting" that young players notice and copy in their acts of "ill discipline" ie "what is good for the goose is good for the gander".

All this "hide and seek" choreographed by KLHC team management has come to haunt them as the players miss training or take a "tidak apa" attitude to the game. Team management have put themselves in an awkward position and this is where players tend to take advantage of the situation. Indeed stories have emerged from KLHC sources that players do not care much of the advice of their official coach. They even go to the extent of abusing his personal items when the official coach puts his foot down. In short, the players in KLHC are not an easy lot as they are already "prima donnas" and the younger ones are following suit.

In a way this explains some of the antics that took place in the field at the 1st leg. They were completely "stunned" when Sapura equalised and took the lead to 4-1. KLHC was totally demoralised and strangely a number of players were "out of position". The "hunger" to perform or fight back was not there in KLHC. Chua Boon Huat must be credited for trying to lift the spirit of the KLHC's lads but with little success other than minimising the defeat to 4-2.

Sapura on the other hand tactically moved Jiwa Mohan to defence and Shankar to half-line. This gave Kuhan more breathing space over the 2 half thereby ensuring Sapura's defence remain intact. In the forward line Rodnizam, Pon and supported by Mike were fast enough to get the penalty corners for Kuhan to strike. Meantime Vijiyan kept KLHC's penalty corner battery from making any deadly strikes with his speedy run-out. Sapura's players played with a purpose ie the pride to win and the presence of their Chairman obviously was a big booster.

For the 2nd leg, one need not be a "rocket scientist" to know that KLHC would be coming in "waves" to Sapura's territory to turn the results around. Sapura meantime decided to pack their 25 yd with their entire team thereby giving less room for KLHC to maneuver through the centre. It would seem Stephen Van Huizen and Sapura's coach Prakash may have planned this strategy thereby forcing KLHC to use the "flanks". This would be a wise tactic for Sapura as it relieved the pressure in the centre and gave more breathing space for the main defenders,. KLHC fell into the trap from start to finish and if there was any success it was the 9 penalty corners they earned. They could only convert one while they fumbled on the rest with too many unnecessary set-pieces. They did not play to their strength of direct conversion. Equally Nashihin, Sapura's goalkeeper was in marvellous form.

KLHC remained clueless and aimless and acting like "zombies" not knowing what to do. The more waves of attack they threw on Sapura, Sapura became more dangerous on the breakaway and that is how they equalised through a penalty corner they earned. Sapura maintained the 2 goal aggregate lead and KLHC could not find the way to crack Sapura's defensive wall. Effectively the so called "mighty" KLHC was brought to the ground to taste a defeat that they themselves may not have anticipated. "Goliath" of Malaysian hockey ie KLHC was brought to its kness while Sapura became Malaysia's "David".

KLHC's defeat raises a number of questions. In a nutshell it all falls back to the issue of whether "dollars and cents" is the answer to get players to become good hockey players or a combination of other factors. One of which is team management has to be honest in their acts rather then wanting to be just popular. This way they choose to avoid controversies thereby expecting to remain in the good books of players. The hope is that the players remain in the team thereby ensuring the team has strength. All that is good but if you have "bad apples" in the basket and nothing is done about it, the other apples may also get bad. Could this be the moral of the story of KLHC? It is for us to think about because with KLHC's defeat, it means Malaysia's national team had lost and this also at a domestic league. So what is our hope in the international arena with these sort of players?

It is not yet a crisis in Malaysian hockey but the writing is on the wall. So, MHF take note and do the needful or not we would be inviting the "crisis".


Anonymous said...

cakap guna akal dan fikiran dan jangan ikut hati dan perasaan yg dengki kepada kesenangan dan kebaikan yg org curahkan kepada setiap pemain hoki..renung2kan dan selamat beramal...

Anonymous said...

Mr. G,
Put Sarjit or Rajan as a chief coach for the team. Then, u will make it!

Anonymous said...

anon 5:17 am,

lagi baik jadi tok imam..

Anonymous said...

Bro, February 9, 2010 9:29 AM

Are u saying that Dharma & Vivik are useless coach?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gandhi,

As long as the Ridsect is still alive in the hockey arena, our hockey will always be in crisis.

We dare to challange him & his cronies 2 stay away from hockey next 3 yrs...

Malaysia will be a GREAT TEAM

Anonymous said...

A special mention must be made of the CEO of Maybank and his team for finding the time to be at the 1st leg. What was interesting is that he spent time with the players before the game and thereafter sat with their small band of Maybank supporters at the terrace. Great to see him coming to support his team and doing things the simple way without any fuss.

This is how a great CEO's are made off. They know that money alone will never buy success.

Mr. G, learn from them...

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the 2 KLHC coaches. Hire Sarjit or K.Rajan or Viky or Prakash or Stephen as the coach. They will win the double with all the good players.
x coach

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4.50PM,

Are u a former sacked coach? At what level? There is a club looking for a good coach.

Anonymous said...

What's up with this Sarjit and Rajan thingy in all the posts? Hockey or sports in general is a collective effort, not a one man or select group show. I'm new to hockey but I'm already sick and tired of the politics ... For once, let's stay positive, move forward and think what is best for hockey future in Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

The result is a wake up call to our National Hockey Agenda. The question need to ask is: 1) Do we have Champions? 2) What Champions are made off? How to nurture to produce Champions? That’s the learning point from the result of the Sapura vs National Team (KLHC ). The local hockey scene has the skill to play in international arena but unable to display the skill at highest level. It was clear when Sapura’s only strategy was “Berlin Wall” and KLHC just do not have the resources to penetrate that. Sorry, they have the resources but just did not capitalize on it. Let us ask ourselves; WHAT WENT WRONG? We have the required skills and we have the ability but did not do it…why? To me something really wrong in the approach and the training methodology they underwent in the last 10 years or so. Paul Lissek undoubtedly should carry this responsibility. Malaysian Hockey Players just lost the skills they had; i.e. deceiving pass, maneuvering, tracking in the attacking zone and leading. What they went through under Lissek basically was school boy training; something our 75’ World Cuppers went through with their school coaches. And all the coaches developed under his regime carried on the same methodology. This is where Sarjit, Muralee, Rajan, Dharma, Vellappan etc etc got carried away with the training methodology. Hockey has a lot more to give. We will not move there if we stayed on with the school boy hockey. Look at awakening of England, Spain, Argentina and Korea Lissek. We were playing the same hockey they are playing now with the exception of some technical advance. Put on the thinking caps guys and not the other cap.

Anonymous said...

Hello X Coach,

You are not sure to recommend which coach is best, but have given the option of or or or or or. So you too want a trail and error method to select the coach. First of all, you yourself determine your gene whether you are X or Y or 9 type of coach and then suggest...

mat kilau said...

berilah sokongan dan semangat kepada seseorg yg ingin memebantu dlm kemajuan hoki dan jgn pula anda mengeji..korg ingat pemain2 hoki tu anak jutawanke..die mencari makan utk menyara keluaarga dengan main hoki tau...tanye diri sendiri korg lahir adeke duit turun terus dari langit..???

Anonymous said...

Anon. February 10, 2010 1:52 AM,

You know why? Because we lack of good local coach. If not. sure other names will be mentioned. Theres no more choice. Theres no more qualified candidates. It's normal for a coach been sacked if his good team can't perform. It's normal also for the coach to perform well or else, he will need to find other job.

Anonymous said...

TO DIVERT FROM YOUR ARTICLE, MALAYSIAN HOCKEY is really in crisis when our local Press can brag about the 'COACHING CO having their feet.'

What is the reporter doing? How can he praised the Coaching Co for naming the relevant coaches to the MHF and he expects the MHF to accept the COaching Co list.

Our reporter knows how the list were derived by and he can be so prejudiced as to sing the praise of the Coaching Co, then he cannot be fit for his job.

Knowing full well that to be a Coach one have to be qualified and go through the process of applying and interviews to ascertain the applicant ability and standing.

we are questioning the integrity of his report when he knows that plenty of 'shit' have happened during the meeting. Such as:
1) When does any Hockey Organisation vote for its Coaches?
If MHF accept their list, MHF will be the laughing stock of the world.

2) MHF should expell its Treasurer Sanjay for voting in the proceedings. This is tantamount to abuse of power and he should be sack. And he is in cahoots with the pepertrators to bring Malaysian Hockey down. How can a snake sit in the Ex-co.

3) How can the Coaching Co. allow the son to be the proxy of an afiliate to vote. Does his father get the permission from the State HA. This father should be taken to task.

4) How can a LT.COL make seditious and racial outburst eg:

WHO IS THE TM? He should be court-marshalled.

Saiful and Azlan cannot be coaches because Saiful is a racist and Azlan prays in the pitch.
Just because he is a Malay can he be allowed to run down we Malays?

The MHF must nipped these problems in the bud because now that the MHF is showing improvements then in the last five years, these dogs are trying to undo the progress being made.

MHF should make representations to their relevant Authorities and employers to take action against these culprits and we are sure that their conduct will not be condoned.

MHF should come down hard on these undesireable elements and stopped them from wasting MHF time in moving forward.

The Press should also be made to give fair comments and not to have their own agenda because they were beholdened to these chutiahs.

Be firm, TM.

Mahatma said...

Dear Ghandhi

Was it a Curse or a Crisis?

No need to be a world Genious or a chief consultant to analyse what actually happened to Sapura defeating KLHC. Of course, my credits go to mentor Kuhan and J.Mohan who was able to take all the constant attacks and finally outbeating their opponents KLHC.

A good analytic mind would wonder what happened to KLHC. With nine PC's, they blew it all. It clearly looked as KLHC was handicaped playing without a Goalkeeper and also seen crippled playing without a coach to guide them on the play. The Keeper lost of mental strength and inteligence was hardly seen doing anything to stop the dragflicks by Kuhan. While Prakash and Stephen shouting their voice out to guide their players, there was nowhere seen the KLHC coaches. Vive was on the bench with mounts of pressure and almost brokedown while the other coach was just hoping if he could have been on the field to save the game. As there was no support and side-line coaching for the KLHC team by their coach together with the keeper who seem invisible, any one team could have taken KLHC.
Sapura coaches and players took this as an advantage to bring these giants down.
As there is no one to be blamed for KLHC defeat except for themselve, they got to wake up from the curse and play serious hockey on Friday. As nothing seemed to work for KLHC in the semis, they got to carefully play their strings of attack and not wasting their PC's generously. If not they can be in serious trouble meeting MayBank as MayBank too might follow samesuit as Sapura on sudden counter attack to kill KLHC's instinct. Gopi with his years of experience will prepare his team with full mental strength to meet KLHC and Chua need to do the same for KLHC as he is the most experience player in his team to cushion pressure mounting on them.

As for my prediction for Sapura and TNB in the final, Sapura may turn the table to lift the championship. Sapura with their well experience senior players has been tested intensively on their defense by KLHC. And it is not going to be easily broken by TNB. Sapura too might rely on sudden counter attack and errors to kill TNB with Kuhan throwing the ball. TNB has got to fully rely on S. Kumar's experience to maintain full mental strength in order to win Sapura which is unlikely.

So the game on Friday is a real mental strength test between four top senior players- Kuhan verses S.Kumar and Chua versus Gopi each leading their team to win the game. All the BEST to the champs.

Finally I would like to say that there is is no crisis in Malaysian hockey by KLHC's defeat by Sapura because the Lion was kept in the caged.

so the malays say ' Marahkan nyamok, kelambu di bakar.

Anonymous said...

February 10, 2010 4:45 PM

The lions turn out 2 be miow..miow on that day. They were in the dreamland. I wittnes their half time talk & noticed the so called lions were not able 2 motivate any of the players at all.

A good coach would not risk an off form keeper for 2nd leg s.f game

For a fact, Yr so call lions are not ready yet for top level games... Give them a chance to handle junior level b4 promoting them to senior level.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10/2 4.45

Dont lie here.KLHC team talk is in the dressing room,no way KLHC players would allow a clown like you in.

One plyer can be off for one day and be super the next day.

Anyway how many tournaments you have won.School would be to high for you,maybe house level.How many tell us....Talk like you have won an olympic medal or world cup coach.

For your info,KLHC would represent Malaysia in the Asian Club as champion of MHL league.

KLHC supporter

Gandhi, said...

The comment has been edited.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "KLHC's defeat by Sapura - "Is Malaysian hockey in ...":

Dear All,

we have just been reading this 'crisis' article and we then made an effort to seek clarification about the'crisis' and the majority concluded that'if KLHC win, then it is bully-kechil and now KLHC losses it is a crisis'
So it is a no win situation.

But there is a crisis in the Coaching Co. And when we read contribution 3.08pm 10/2 we concluded that this CO is trying to undo all the good that the MHF have done and they band altogether with the current MHF.............

(The rest of the comment has been deleted)

Hockey addict.

Anonymous said...

February 11, 2010 10:06 PM

With the same set up of coaches, KLHC will be white-washed in Asian Club tournament.

Dont waste people's time,,, keep on licking the RL King, Vicking & Ridsect King. Kutiah..

Anonymous said...

KLHC supporter,

Kat tanah air sendiri pun main cam tahi...

Nak cekap besar pasal Asian Club Championship.

P bersih tandas kat KLHA dulu ler...

Anonymous said...

Feb 13 1.27,

Dont get emotional my friend.EY also known KLHC are the defending champion of Asian Club.

Take the shit and rub at your face or eat the shit and then you will know the word call "REALITY"

Keep licking the as-s of the people who send you to write and i really hope people can believe you.

Trust me,nobody believe you so keep on writing maybe you can improve on your english and bahasa writing.