Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Asian hockey - Symptoms reflecting the possibility of the ultimate demise of the game in the region.

For decades Asians were the masters of the game of field hockey. From the 80s onwards with the change of rules and the introduction of artificial turf, the mastery skills of the game were overtaken by the sheer aspect of the predictable surface thereby allowing speed with hit & run tactics as the core ingredients of the game. Thereon the game evolved providing the "Caucasian" nations, whose players have the physique to have an added advantage, to take control of the game. Without doubt sports science, bio-medicine and information technology took the game to a different dimension.

All these were possible because the world body in hockey and the respective committees had and is being dominated by representatives from such nations and the shift in thinking has followed suit. Obviously the long term repercussions of such decisions are coming to fruition nearly 30 to 40 years later. This is something nobody could have easily foreseen except if the poorer countries mainly in Asia and Africa had properly understood the "economics" of moving to artificial turf, then they may have had extremely strong reservations from a financial standpoint, which itself may become the "nail" to seal the "coffin" for the demise of the game in the regions.

Well ! that is all in the past and it is a useless exercise to "cry over spilt milk". Therefore lets come straight to "present" time and it would seem that slowly Asian countries have departed from their mastery skills to adopt the styles of their counterparts from the "Caucasian" nations. Unfortunately these nations with time also allowed the game to evolve and of late adopted the skills of dribbling, a talent which probably 40 years ago was the domain of the Asians. As for the Asians while we adopted something "foreign" to us, we never evolved with it rather stagnated and sometimes are a good 4 to 8 years behind the modern hockey progression.

The other major hurdle that seems to be faced by Asian hockey nations is what i refer to as the "catch -up syndrome". The rules of hockey when changed, the first to adopt to these in its full force are the "Caucasian" nations. There is nothing wrong with it but the point being made here is that they are sufficiently represented and therefore have the numbers to sway the decisions. More importantly they have made it a mission to adopt the changes without hesitation as they have the resources. The Asian countries tend to "dilly dally" and usually do not have the resources to implement changes. They wait for their richer counterparts to go through the trial and tribulations of the changes and then adopt it. By which time these nations are far ahead and have distinct advantage while the Asian countries are behind with these changes. When they learn to master it, the rules change again thereby giving the richer nations another advantage. These effectively means Asia is always on the "catch-up" mode. Therefore how can Asian countries be on top of the "hockey pyramid"

We cannot blame the "Caucasian" nations as they are doing things the proper way. There is no "hanky panky" except it really shows a distinct trend that Asian hockey nations are basically "followers". They do not seem to have the right numbers nor a clarion voice. This in a way shows the weakness of Asian nations in their commitment to better themselves in the game.

The symptomatic decline in Asian hockey is seen in the events organised by Asian Hockey Federation (AHF). Events like;

1.Asian Champions Nations tournament in April 2010 was cancelled when Pakistan and South Korea pulled out in the 11th hour.

2. Asian Champions Club tournament in June 2010 saw only 3 national champion clubs represented. There were notable absences of teams from India, South Korea, Japan and China which are ranked in the top 15 in the world.

3. Asian Indoor tournament seem also to be poorly represented.

I could list a few more but it will only go to show the pathetic face of Asian hockey. Obviously people would like to point the fingers at AHF but the reality is the national affiliates themselves who are not doing their bit for hockey in their own country. I am not saying AHF is blameless but rather AHF is only as good if the national affiliates are supportive of it.

The "writing is on the wall" that the way hockey is heading in a few decades to come it maybe an "endangered game" in Asia and young kids may have to go to Sports Museum to know about the game. The World authorities in hockey has to take cognisance the shift in world economic centres with the potential of India and China including its mammoth population. If they do not do something for hockey in Asia, hockey may be missing a major size of the world's population for its TV rights and sponsorship. Football has seen it and so as cricket and F1 Racing. I hope world hockey get to grip of it and get Asia to move in the right direction by creating world champions through the process of establishing Development Centres like football and cricket has done culminating with accessibility to the fields and equipments. If not lets might as well start writing the "obituary" for hockey in Asia.


Anonymous said...

Well said, I would not be able to put it more succintly. The FIH continues to stack the staff not based on merits but more on familiarity. Therefore instead of seriously employ staff from all corners of the globe, its staff are all Europeans and despite stipulating the need for a foreign language, they still prefer to hire Europeans and then turned around and said that these people are the ones with the experience. I know as I personally applied for one of the positions on offer and am an Asian based in Australia.

As well, the Asian Federation are filled with people who wants the nama but are bereft of any ideas new or old to revive Asian Hockey. Just merely hosting tournamnets is not enough as development officers must be deployed to provide assistance to develop the games in countries, like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Indonesia. I personally knows the Taiwanese are very keen to be a world power in hockey as they traipsed each Easter down to the Albury Hockey Carnival with U15s, U16s, U17s school squads fully paying their way there. How keen do you need to be?

As well, we need development officers who are energised enough to promote the game instead of hiding in a hole to the extent that one will be hard pressed to name the person. The introduction of sports science into the hockey program in Asia is also a must as hockey has become a game of speed, power, skill and tactics. It is not enough to just pass down old and dated ideas as coaching know how. Maybe this forum can be used to galvanise the game in Malaysia first and then the whole region.

Anonymous said...

The Secretary General is waste of time. Decay of hockey in malaysia and asia was due to him. Still holding the post. hockey in asia is as old as him too. Just retire and give young administrators in asia.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Gandhi, said...

The comment has been edited.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Asian hockey - Symptoms reflecting the possibility...":

artikel ini adalah penuh bermakna dan jujur dalam analisanya. tan sri dan kedua ini adalah orang kanan ahf dan phm. begitulah kejayaan mereka di kelab klhc dan pasukan kebangsaan.

Kat tanah air sendiri pun main cam tahi...

Nak cekap besar pasal Asian Club Championship dan Asian Chmapions Trophy.

P bersih tandas kat KLHA dan PHM dulu ler...

dengar (name deleted) jadi manager klhc dengan (name deleted). kiamat sukan hoki.

kedua-dua jahanam ini cuci tandas tan sri ahf. nak cari makan. konon maradona sukan hoki.

kedua-dua tak kahwin lagi. mungkin berbulan madu sambil bincang dan menulis pasal sukan hoki.

selamat berbulan madu ahf dan dua bujang.

Gandhi, said...

The comment has been edited.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Asian hockey - Symptoms reflecting the possibility...":

heard ridsect and dr.inking are fighting about selection who is manager. heard secretary general of ahf played a role and seek dr.inking to quit and allow ridsect to be team manager coz he is helping ahf to play in the asian champions club in kl and sri lanka. you give some and get some in return. reality of the current world. dr/vp left and thinking to challenge current dp with the support of ahf sec.

ridsect manage to spray the dr. and killed. now ridsect is back to his old nonsense. joined armpit former fam tug and mole-st. ridsect was busy standing outside thebench during azlan stm.hah want show power and lick (deleted) gk@ridsect is destroying of msian hockey and failed in many qualifiers. gk@ridsect only got money to throw and spoilt players. no ethics and no rules. the team has denggi fever and beware of this bloodsucker@ridsect. now again lead msian team to olympigs. waste of shit and time. even mhl cannot win wants to manage international hockey. plays for rsc and drinks and follow the tactics to be use at msian team. thats why half of the team are drunkens. pity coaches stuck between the ridsect and armpit/molest. all the best. heard armpit licking ahf officials and sighted many times.

Anonymous said...


Asian Hockey Federation(AHF) don't have their own website,so I went to wikipedia for information.

As in wikipedia- AHF is the governing body for the sport field hockey in Asia.It now has 30 members association.Headquartes in Kuala Lumpur and President is Alexander Alagendra.

Pls check in Wikipedia.

As for hockey in Asia,let me summarize from a article i read about Indian hockey,For the record India is 8 times Olympic gold medalist.

"HOCKEY",Regarded as our national game,is on the verge of extinction.It is unable to regain momentum.No doubt we were world beaters in the golden era and commanded respect throughout the world,but where does hockey stand today?Nowhere,if you take into consideration the statistic and our performance in hockey over a span of 25 years.'

Imagine losing India from the world cup or Olympic hockey.

The leaders in FIH have to take proactive action before its too late.

"The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision"

Thank You

Anonymous said...

ahf macam telur bungkus. hayat hoki asia sudah tamat. tan sri letaklah jawatan. terima kasih......

Anonymous said...

I agree to all the comments. Lets put our mind together. Who can lead AHF?
Japan, India, Pakistan, Korea, China - all cannot. Only Malaysia can because we can speak English and be a good host.
Who is going to inform DYMM Sultan Azlan Shah to get rid of TS Ale. If we manage, who can take over the job. He has personal relationship and good contacts with all member countries.
Think of a person and get MHF to send a proposal to Tuanku Sultan Azlan Shah.
I think TM should take over from Sultan Azlan Shah and Mike (GM) should be secretary. His command of English and knowledge of hockey and contacts with Asian members are good. He is also efficient and has proven himself in such a short time in MHF.