The coach came into the scene early this year. Without doubt he is the most experienced and successful local coach with the former national teams. Prior to current appointment he had been off the international arena for at least a good 8 years. Fortunately he has kept abreast with hockey by coaching one of the MHL teams.
The issue at hand is about the 3 built-up tours for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
The pertinent matters are the following:
- Timing of tours ie Visit to Australia when the Australian national team was away in Europe preparing for Champions Trophy, then now the visit to Europe, after the Champions Trophy when the participating countries have no reason to keep their national teams together.
- Playing with teams that are of lower ranking like Pakistan 2nd team and Russia on tour to China. Similar approach was adopted in Australia ie clubs and Institute of Australian Sports teams. Consistent approach is being maintained for the European tour during the fasting month ie clubs and teams of lower ranking namely Ireland, Scotland, France and Poland.
- Planning for warm-up matches seems to omit matches for the last 2 months prior to the Commonwealth and Asian Games. A diabolical state of affairs to planning and even in this 11th hour MHF is trying to get an invitational event going but without much success.
When we look at the thought process that has gone into it, one wonders what is the purpose of playing with mediocre teams. After all at the Commonwealth Games we have Australia, England, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and Pakistan who are ranked well above us also bidding for medals. Whereas in Asian Games, we have South Korea, India, Pakistan and China ranked above us too. Therefore in realistic terms are the tours really serving a purpose to prepare the team for winning medals?
There must be collective responsibilities as the system in place seems to have "rubber stamped" the whole idea of the tours without taking an indepth analytical position of pertinent matters. It seems every party or parties had condoned the tours without realising the implications. How can this happen when it involves the following:
- The team manager is supposed to be responsible for the administration of the team. He is usually the spokesperson and at tournaments he gives the impression of a concerned face in television, yet he too seems to have endorsed the plans. Even if he is outnumbered in team management, he still has the Team Management Committee which is chaired by the Deputy President.
- Team Management Committee (TMC) is supposed to overseer the high performance teams of MHF. Although this Committee itself is embroiled in controversy as to its formation, it originally seemed to yield great powers. Sitting in this Committee is also a key NSC official who seems to have significant influence on the Committee's decisions. Again i wonder how this Committee just "rubber stamped" the details of the tours without giving a thought to various drawbacks.
- MHF Management Committee is ultimately responsible for whatever happens in Malaysian hockey. This therefore poses the question as to what information was provided to the Management Committee for them to get caught in endorsing such tours. Maybe they too decided just to be another "rubber stamping" body without giving any due consideration to the matter.
- The National Sports Council (NSC), the financier for the tours, seems to have taken the same approach as the TMC and MHF Management Committee. NSC seems to endorse the expenditure and the plans of the tour without asking the relevant questions. It would seem there is no need to justify the expenditure including its basis. It would seem that so long as NSC has the budget, why not spent the money. This begs the question whether NSC is the proper guardian to Malaysian sports and its funds.
So to blame the national coach is not right. The system did not intellectually engage the coach to discuss the plan of the tours and constructively modify it to suit the need requirements of all parties concerned. I presume this is why we have not progressed to the top world rankings when our own officials from the top to bottom cannot put together plans to take us there. Absolutely sad to what is happening with the national team.