Tuesday, February 2, 2010

UniKL - "Are they a glimmer of hope for Malaysian hockey?"

The results of the MHL quarter-finals last weekend saw the obvious teams make it to the semis. They are KLHC, TNB, Sapura and Maybank. One need not visit and pay a fortune teller or a tarot card reader to predict which teams would have qualified. Among them they share the bulk of the national players ie seniors and juniors plus former internationals. On a "weighted" basis there is no doubt it favours KLHC.

The weekend for hockey seems to have given much of its attention to newcomers UniKL, who were pitted to take on the once mighty Maybank. Although the media seems to have played up the hopes of the young UniKL with an average age of 22 years and seemly giving the impression that the "tiger" in Maybank may be "toothless thereby losing its bite. They may not have been wrong for on the 1st leg the young novice team to MHL stretched Maybank with a 4-4 draw.

Many watching the match felt that UniKL should have "killed" the game much earlier and won. Unfortunately UniKL is made up in the main by Project 2013 players and some National Juniors. Due to their lack of experience and the "killer instinct", they were unable to finish off Maybank.

On the other side, as the years go by Maybank is losing its grip as a "force" in Malaysian hockey. In recent years they have been seen as "spoilers" for teams trying to battle for position. Having a few former internationals in the right positions combined with a few young internationals they have the combination of experience and stability to act as a major "hurdle" to the ultimate winners. It is exactly this that derailed the young UniKL in the 2nd leg of the quarter-finals where Maybank won 2-0.

Essentially what Maybank did was to control the "raw gusty" style of play of UniKL by ensuring that their freedom of running with the ball and taking on players was frequently interrupted. This essentially slowed the momentum of the game and the young boys were at a loss as to what to do. Meantime as Maybank broke UniKL's attack they had the experience on the "breakaway" to be goal searching and were successful. Even at the last 5 minutes of the game, UniKL had 6 penalty corners at a continuous stretch and they did not have a clue what to do. Maybank were merrily happy with the penalty corners as the situation provided the time to tick away.

UniKL team is like an "uncut" diamond that needs substantial "cutting" and "polishing" before it can glitter. There is no doubt that their Consultant - Mirnawan Nawawi and their Coaches - Vicki, Enbaraj and a Caucasian have worked hard on them. What is important is whether the "diamonds" of UniKL had fissure, which means any amount of 'cutting" and "polishing" would not help in the process of making the diamonds marketable.

I raise this because the UniKL team seems to have some major drawbacks:
  1. While they are young and have the speed to take on their opponents, they do not have the skill to string passes as part of the tactical movements and operate as a cohesive team.

  2. There is neither leader nor "playmaker", while their half-line formation's role is very "hazy".

  3. Their penalty corner battery is weak because it is "aimless" which makes it "directionless", thereby losing the focus of goal scoring opportunities.

  4. The team does not understand the concept of the "killer instinct" when they are at or in front of the "D".

  5. The team's endurance fitness is suspect.

Essentially what UniKL team was doing was collecting the ball and running with it to the opponents goal-line. This obviously is a welcome change compared to the other teams but once at the "D" the players become "goal shy" and did not have the "killer instinct" to put the ball into the goal. This is where their "attack" formation crumbles and easily paves the way for counter attacks by opponents. This is where UniKL paid the price expensively.

I want to put this across because many people believe that the performance of UniKL provides the "ray of hope" for the future of Malaysian hockey. In desperate times even a small ray of hope is magnified to give the "hope" we are looking for. What we are doing is endeavouring to fix our thinking to the situation rather than allowing the situation to justify itself.

People who have played hockey or had something to do with hockey would not hesitate to state that the young boys of UniKL have a long way to go if they want to emulate the "Yogeswaran Babes" of the 1979 Malaysian Junior World Cup team that came 4th at Paris. If you take those lads 2 0r 3 years before 1979 and compare their standard of play to these boys from the 2013 Project Team, you would know exactly where they stand by the following words- "miles apart".

Having said what i had to say, i must also state that the UniKL boys can still be turned into future stars but the effort is harder and the pressure mounted to perform must be intelligently and psychologically undertaken. The grooming requires a sense of all round discipline particularly on training. Equally they must be given sufficient freedom to express their inherent strength of running with the ball and taking on players provided they incorporate the skill of creating tactical movements as part of an attack formation by learning how to acquire the "killer instinct". Similarly, the half-line and the backs must be taught to understand their effective role and how they fit into different game scenarios. At the same time there is no short-cut to success in penalty corners. The short corner battery at the minimum is required to do 100 attempts in the morning and 100 attempts in the evening to prefect their scoring skills.

Of course there are other aspects but this is a good starting point. The idea is to create that "ray of hope" and turn them into "shining stars" with time such that it provides the "glimmer" of hope that is much needed for Malaysian hockey at the world stage.


Anonymous said...

Never lose hope on these young one

It is good weakness have been identified and lots of work is yet to be done.Team work by officials for a better tomorrow for hockey

We must move on to a younger group and just do not bank on the ones who needs to exit.We must make way for the young ones....

Unless we work hard on them , we will never know their capabilities.

It is time for Winds of change....or else hockey is blowing in the wind

Anonymous said...

Give the young ones a break

They are trainable,cheaper to maintain , less demanding and can be disciplined early...

The problem is are we ready to make this radical change or prefer"comfort zone' with same old horses.

Do we want to see the future or remain short sighted ....

Anonymous said...

rentiHey Chutiahs,

Do you all agree with me that Project 2013 is bringing in a glimmer of hope to Malaysian Hockey. Who are those in the coaching set-up? They were made up of the Coaching Co. valuation of womanisers, not qualified enough and spies.

TM, disregard the sour grapes recommendations and keep to the present TEAM and Malaysian Hockey will have a chance of improvement. Listen to the Coaching Co and we will be back to square one. And that is the motive of the Coaching Co. They are hoping for the demise of Malaysian Hockey with the pretence of improving the game.

Treat them like spoilt kids and do whatever is right for Malaysian Hockey. Use Your authority and be ruthless with them.

We, the Public will be behind You 100%.


Anonymous said...

It will be tough for UniKL to keep the current set of young players and continue with the development plan when "bigger team$" have started to make the move to pry and pinch them as early as the start of the second half of the league and even during games.

Please don't spoil the young ones in the name of progress. Let them graduate the hard proper way into the next level.

Anonymous said...

At first place, why didn't the project 2013 team kept together and participated in the leauge as a team?

Is't coz' of no funder?
No one was intersted to coach the team coz of the salary package was not impresive?

No offence please...


Anonymous said...

Project 2013

Project 2013 gives not only a ray of hope to Malaysian hockey but is also creating a wind of change to the direction of Malaysia's future hockey.We may have fall but it is time to rising again.

History of Project 2013 of my knowledge(correct me if I am Wrong)
This Project 2013 players have been training together less than a year as a team. It all started with the Malaysian under 16 team (2009) for their play in Germany. They started training in early January for 2 months and later another one month in May before leaving to Germany. Germany would have been the best testing ground for these boys. Following the bad H1N1 spell, Malaysia called off the intention to participate but the game took off in Germany.

Than came the Youth Olympic Qualifier in Myanmar scheduled in November 2009. The under 16 boys with some under 18 boys were picked up to fill the team and they trained together for another 2months. The team got 2nd placing beating India, Korea and other teams but lost to Pakistan whom illicitly had many above aged players.

Upon returning to Malaysia, these players were picked up to participate in the MHL and they were the attraction in the entire tournament.

The coach for both the Under 16 Germany team and the Youth Olympic team was Dharma, Azlan Bakar, and Gopi.

Most of the boys played in these teams were from BJSS and BPSS trained under Prakash and Uzt Ruslan. One or two came from Setapak KL and Anderson.

I agree with Ghandhi that this Project 2013 Team is still a Premature Team and have weakness. Given intensive international exposure and training together as a team, they will be able to connect the ball for brilliant string passes just like the Germans and Australlians. The team will have good fitness, good speed, good playmakers, good tactical moves, smart playing skills and Penalty Corner specialist as I have seen the ori team before. Their killer instint forwards are very young and facing defenders like Kuhan and Gopi who had years of International experience cannot be denied.

Let Dharma, Gopi and Azlan continue to excel in their coaching the Project team, a lot of work to do - chipping, cutting and polishing these unpolished diamonds. They will glitter and shine in international arena. ( I am not trying to sell but this is facts) In 1979, we ended 4 place but 1n 2013, with gods blessing, we will definitely finsh top 3.

Having the Best 11 players is the strongest team but 11 players able to play to connect the ball will sure win the game.

I am no fortune teller neither a tarot card reader but anyone one team who wants to have a game with the project 2013 team will surely have to sweat all out to win.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ghandi,
Your statement 1979 JWC squad and 2013 are "miles apart".

When you comment on these set of boys please do take into consideration that the 1979 JWC squad was U/21 and this set of boys have just crossed 17 to 19 of age. For the 2013 JWC, another three and half years to go. Were they 'miles apart' when the 1979 JWC were of this age? Do you have any comparison to make? Try to make comparison relatively and not blindfolded.


Gandhi, said...

I agree with anonymous of Feb 3rd at 8.41pm and therefore i suggest he reads the article content which is highlighted in "red". There it makes "an orange to orange" comparison.


Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Ghandi,

Refering your comment Feb 3rd, 8.55 pm. I dont see anything in facts and figures to say that you have made a comparison other than putting up your statement in orange colour. Do you term this as comparison? In order to justify your statements, please put in some statistics or figures, like how many matches they played? how many won? lost? goals scored? Penalty Corner goals? Fitness aspects? etc. this would make your article more lively and transparent.


Anonymous said...

2013 players are all from BJSS and BPSS. The two coaches should be given the break to become the 2013 project team coaches. Why only coaches recommended by MHF only. Think it over MHF.

Anonymous said...

Mr Gandhi,

The way you write i think TM should hire you as our Malaysian coach.Why Olthmans?You are better than Olthmans.How much you want as your salary?Same as Olthmans or more?

Dont make comparision about ancient time.Singapore was also playing in JWC in 1979.Today even Austria is playing hockey.I think if Hang Tuah,Jebat,Lekiu,Lekir and Kasturi was playing hockey in the 14th century,we would have been world champion.

Everybody in the world is making progress.Even Singapore has Spain coach for ladies and now for the YOG games they have the current German OLympic Champion Asst coach to be their consultant.

So dont make comparision from ancient time.Show your face,call for press conference,tell the country what should do and how to go about it.10,000 euro can be your monthly salary.Dont talk behind the curtains and hiding.

I also can talk forever but it is waste of time.Face the world and be a man.Like this i also can talk 10 times better than you eventhough I have played hockey at the higgest level.Some of your comments are not practicble, talk can.Do it bro!!

Anonymous said...

Refering to February 4, 2010 10:34 AM

Why only BJSS and BPSS coaches? They too grab the best (cream of hockey kids) in the country and just give them training morning and evening and claim that they have produced players? Then what about the coaches who have nurtured them in the grass roots schools? Should they not get a chance? You have already seen a sports school coach now in the current edition of MHL league handling a team which was placed 4th in the league. Lost even to Nur insafi also twice. He even stopped his players participating in the MHL league. Had he used his school players in the league, they would have certainly gained experience and would have been a higher grade of players this year. Gaining experience by playing higher level of hockey would do more good to these sports school kids than playing in the same level from where they were recruited. But I do suggest that these coaches should get attachment to national squad to enable them to learn more on technical and tactical aspects of game.

Anonymous said...

Refer Feb 4, 10.34am

How to consider Sport school coach for national team?

Let me start with a thanks that these coaches have done their share.BPSS coach, a soft spoken lad who is always humble and a low profile guy.I think he should be given a chance to be with the national team.One must agree that he understand national interest in his head.

Unfortunately, BJSS coach who i consider a good coach for junior level and development.He dont understand what national interest is all about.So how can he be a national coach.

Here come to the story, when TM with his vision decide to send a team of youth under the banner of unikl for clear exposure but this particular coach could not see that.Please do not tag this coach with unikl team.We do not have a single player from BJSS who are in the project team in our team.Ours mainly are from BPSS.

This particular coach has made a unforgiven sin that clearly shows that he do not have the vision to be in the national set-up.How on world can these coach not allowing the 4 Form 5 school leavers from playing citing reason the school junior league team are going to Sabah or Sarawak for winning the junior league wherelse they get the chance to play in the mhl.Unikl is a team that knows that we cant win anything but we wanted to help the project 2013 team.But we have wasted our approach because there were other players available but not allow to play.MHL is a weekend thing and trainings are after school or work,so why not.

Here we see nurinsafi exposing players from india in our league.Hockey india should thank Nurinsafi.

I think if MHF wanting to consider these coaches better consider our coaches Viki and Enbaraj.They are brave enough to take on the giants of mhl.

To say all these sport school coaches have done so much,I also disagree,junior hockey league have been for a very long,maybe 10 years or more,where are the players?We seem short of players as only six team can play in the premier.What happen to the others.They cant be train is it.I can see only one thing,keep them in the Bukit Jalil hostel and never expose them because worry others might share the boys progress.

At least the current project 2013 coach, take them and play in big tournaments like Razak Cup and others.Dont forget mhf and msn spending money to expose them in SEA Cup and tour to India and playing quality matches.

So dont keep on bragging that it is our boys in the project 2013 team.BJSS former coach who was also the former national juniors coach left the national team because frighten to play in the Razak Cup.So how does this coach suit in........

Unikl Supporter