Monday, May 25, 2015

Kumar: My final shot at Olympics ...

Kumar after conducting a coaching clinic for boys and girls from all over Negri Sembilan at the Seremban II Stadium Saturday. It was organised by the Negri Sembilan HA.

NATIONAL No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar will be going for broke at the  Belgium World League Semi-finals on June 20 to July 5.
  The 35-year-old custodian is at his prime to help Malaysia qualify for the Olympics, but if he fails, he will call it a day.
  "I have played at the World Cup but Olympics has eluded me over the years and Belgium would be my last chance to make the grade to Rio de Janeiro next year. Age is catching up with me and if I miss Brazil, I would be 40 by the next Games," said Kumar after conducting a goalkeepers coaching clinic organised by the Negri Sembilan HA at the Seremban II Stadium on Saturday.
  About 50 youth from all over Negri came for the clinic, which was also conducted by national goalkeeper's coach M. Nadarajan.
  Kumar took Malaysia to the 2014 World Cup as well as handed Malaysia the gold medal at the World League Round Two in Singapore in January.
  On both occasions, he showed nerves of steel to stop Japan in a penalty shoot-out. 
  During the World Cup Qualifier in Johor Baru, Japan held Malaysia to a 1-1 draw in the World League Semi-finals fifth-sixth placing match, but Kumar made some heroic saves to win the shoot-out 4-3 to take Malaysia to the World Cup in Netherlands.
   And in the World League Round Two, Malaysia were again held to a 1-1 draw by Japan in the semi-finals, but in the shoot-out, Kumar held the fort and took his team into the final on a 3-1 score which booked a ticket to the World League Semi-finals in Belgium.
  "Hockey is all about speed and reflections today, and goalkeepers need to be on their toes the entire game. The more saves we make, the more confident the team becomes and winning becomes that much easier," said the Tampin-born Kumar.
  The second goalkeeper is Roslan Jamaluddin, and both of them are sure bets to play in Belgium, leaving coach Tai Beng Hai to select 16 more outfield players.
  Malaysia are in Group B of the World League Semi-finals with Belgium, Great Britain, China and Ireland. In Group A are Australia, India, Pakistan, Poland and France.
  "We play China and then Ireland and need to win both the early matches to book a quarter-finals spot early as there are five teams in each group and the last placed teams will not be involved in the play-offs," said Kumar.
  Malaysia need to play in the last four in Belgium to seal their Olympic ticket.
  At the coaching clinic, Kumar and Nadarajan drilled the aspiring goalkeepers for three hours on basics.
  "The turn-out is good, but the majority are still struggling with basics," said Nadarajan.
  There were a handful of teachers who were also taught how to polish the basics of their students, and now its up to them to nurture their goalkeepers and strengthen the basics.
  Negri Sembilan HA secretary P. Tamilselvan said: "Kumar and Nadarajan have shown the teachers on how to strengthen the basics in goalkeeping and we will follow up with the teachers from time to time by holding more clinics. Hopefully another goalkeeper from Negri Sembilan will follow Kumar's footsteps."

Thursday, May 14, 2015

MHC CEO Logan Raj needs GST as well...

Pic: Logan Raj in his playing days (both legs in the air)

By Jugjet Singh

OUTGOING Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah stunned the gallery with his parting speech when he said the new council will need GST from the public, as well as its creditors to wake up.
  There was a moment of awkward silence, followed by all round smiles and laughter when Tengku Abdullah said: "GST here means Give Some Time."
  GST is what the MHC need as they have a debt of RM2.6 million to clear, and it keeps increasing as junior and senior teams criss-cross the globe to play friendlies in the run-up to the World League Semi-finals as well as the Sea Games and the Junior Asia Cup.
  Knowing well that the clock started ticking when he was unopposed as president of the MHC when nominations closed on April 28, Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal has been on his toes since, meeting relevant parties and formulating KPI's for them, even before they were elected on May 13.
  One matter that was discussed way ahead, and stamped right after the elections was the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Former International K. Logan Raj was hand-picked by Subahan, and his newly elected council endorsed it. Logan, Subahan said, will start work immediately.
  The newly elected members did not have the luxury of GST to choose a CEO, as it was the prerogative of the president and he made a lightning bolt decision which caught many by surprise, some speechless, while others said they had no comments.
  Minutes after the appointment, followed emails on Logan's job scope, as well as his KPI which was a mouthful, but Logan Raj has no GST on his side as his job scope sees him doing stuff from the office-boy level to the daily running of the MHC to bringing in revenue which is just some of the tasks that the former player with more than 200 caps will be up against for the next two years.
  Logan Raj started work yesterday, and when contacted said he has yet to walk into his new office as he has been running around doing other stuff as directed by the president. He said he knows the weight that has been placed on his shoulders, and the KPI expected of him is quite heavy, and he quipped: "Even the pile of paper that my KPI has been printed on is quite heavy, but that does not worry me as I am ready and willing to give my all."
  As Tengku Abdullah said, GST should be applied at all levels, and Logan Raj has two years to get the house in order as he does not have the luxury of a secretary or assistant secretary as the new constitution abolished those posts.
  He will inherit many office helpers from the previous regime, but they have been in a comfort zone for far too long, and this is one group that GST must not be applied to as they had ample time under former secretary Datuk Johari Aziz but fared miserable.
  One para of Logan Raj's job scope states: The CEO assumes the day-to-day management and operation of the MHC on behalf of the Executive Board, in accordance to all directives and policies established by the President and/or Executive Board."
  Logan Raj must hit the ground running, and keep running for the next two years, just to place the administrative side of MHC from red to black. From debtors to a healthy bank balance.
  Oh, before I forget, for those who questioned the selection of Logan Raj, and there are many, GST to the lad who gave half his life to hockey in training and playing in the 1998 KL Commonwealth Games, 2001 Hobart Junior World Cup, 2002 KL World Cup, and a host of Olympic qualifiers as well as skipper to the Korat Sea Games gold medal side.
  His CV has hockey blood splattered on it, and now he has been recalled to spill more sweat and blood into his new position as nobody envies what the president and his men have in store for him for the next two years.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

By George! Its Koshy..

Pic: Subahan (right) with new deputy George Koshy.

BUSINESSMAN George Koshy tore the formbook apart when he beat early hot favourite Datuk Nor Azmi Ahmad to become the new men's deputy president in the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) yesterday.
  George, also a former Kuala Lumpur HA president and Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club owner, narrowly beat Azmi 16 to 13 votes.. even though when nominations closed he only had one from KL, while Azmi received 10 nominations.
  In the women's section, S. Shamala was voted in as the deputy president when she beat K. Maheswari 17 to 12 votes.
  A total of 29 delegates cast their votes after the Annual General Meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
  The seven vice-presidents who will run the MHC show for the next four years are Datuk Wan Ahmad Nizam (28 votes), Datuk Ow Soon Kooi (28), Satish Kumar (25), Manjit Majid Abdullah (24), Datuk R. Radhakrishnan (24), Nik Zarah Nik Kadir (27) and S. Nagula (19).
  Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal is the sixth MHC president, as he won unoposed when nominations closed on April 28.
  Immediately after elections, Subahan held a meeting with the new council, and appointed a Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer.
  "After discussing with the new members, we have decided to appoint former international K. Logan Raj as the CEO while the treasurer's post will go to S. Selvendran," said Subahan.
  The windfall that Subahan received yesterday was when out-going president, for two terms from 2008, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah announced that he will help clear MHC's debt which is about RM2.6 million.
  "I wish the new council all the best, and would also like to state that I will clear the debts so that they can start on a fresh slate. And I hope they can achieve what I could not, that is to take the national team into the top-10 bracket in the world (Malaysia are 12th ranked now)," said Tengku Abdullah.
  Subahan was elated, but said MHC will have to find their own cash and not depend solely on Tengku Abdullah, who was yesterday made into MHC Honorary President.
  "I would like to thank Tengku Abdullah for his gracious gesture to clear all our debts, but we in the MHC must also work hard to make sure the money comes in and there are no more shortages," said Subahan.
  Azmi, who held the post of team manager, immediately resigned after losing: "Now that new people have been elected to helm MHC, I hope they will be able to pay all those they owe money to. I would also like to announce my immediate resignation as national team manager."
  Incoming deputy president Koshy said: "Now the work starts, and we need to immediately solve some matters with careful planning. I thank the delegates who placed their confidence in my hands."
  The immediate task at hand for Subahan and his council is to appoint a manager and sort out some coaching problems.
  "Yes We need to look into team manager and also Neil Howgood's tenure with the national team as soon as possible. So I will meet the players by next week and hold a discussion with them before making a decision.
  "As for the coaches, I have met with chief coach Tai Beng Hai and assistant coach Stephen ven Huizen and will also make a decision soon on Hawgood who is still hired as a consultant," said Subahan.
  The Malaysian team will play in the Belgium World League Semi-finals which is a qualifier for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and they need to finish among the top-four to play in Brazil.
  Hawgood was hired as consultant for six months, and his tenure expires before the WL Seni-finals on June 20 to July 5.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

George: Vote based on track record, not empty promises

FIFTEEN affiliates with two votes each will decide the future of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Wednesday.
  And the interesting part is that 14 of the votes are in the hands on women delegates, as each state and affiliate must bring a man and woman to compliment with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) guidelines.
  Perlis only registered one delegate.
  The only affiliate who will not be a part of the process is Sarawak who have yet to register themselves with the Sports Commissioner's office. Delegates had to register their names 48 hours before election with the MHC, and Sarawak have failed to do so as they are only registered with the Registrar of Society.
  Sarawak is just a tiny part of the bigger mess which president-elect Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal will inherit after today's voting is done and the winners announced.
  For, Subahan takes over a debt-ridden Confederation, to the tune of RM2.6 million,  from Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and also at the brink if the national team's last chance to qualify for the Olympics via the World League Semi-finals in June.
  And the corporate-man needs capable hands to help him source for sponsors, and keep his fingers crossed that Malaysia qualify for the Olympics so that they can use it as a bait to lure sponsors.
  He's choice for deputy in the men's section are incumbent vice-president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad and former Kuala Lumur HA president and the owner of a highly successful Kuala Lumpur HC.
  In the women'a arm, the contest is between incumbent vice-presidents S. Shamala and K. Maheswari who are both waiting for a strong signal from the delegates to upgrade themselves.
  Then there are six nominees for the men's vice-president and three in the women's section. Two women must be voted in with five men, or four, if the third women gets a higher vote than the fifth man in this section. 
  The six are incumbent Manjit Majid Abdullah (eight nominations), Penang HA president Datuk Ow Soon Kooi (seven), MHC treasurer Datuk N. Radhakrishnan (nine), Kedah HA president Sathis Kumar (seven), A. Vijayshankar (one) and Datuk Wan Ahmad Nizam (six).
  The women's vice-presidents, minimum two posts, will see a three-cornered fight among Juriah Abdul Wahab (three), Nik Zarah Kadir (four) and S. Nagula (Four).
  The most intense battle is in the men and women's deputy president's posts, while its straightforward in the veep section.
  On Monday, Azmi threw a challenge to George to sign a document stating that he will source for funds and give out grants of RM50,000 per year for four years to all 16 affiliates and Azmi will ask the delegates to give all 30 votes to George.
   George did not swallow the bait as he feels the most important task at hand, if he is elected, is to make MHC debt-free and then the parent body can start taking care of their affiliates.
  "First of all I would like to state that I will not back down from the elections, and I will be there tomorrow (today). And I am also not going to reply to Azmi's challenge because there are bigger tasks as hand to solve in MHC before we can start looking at how to help the affiliates.
  "For starters, Azmi was a deputy-president with the old Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) and senior vice-president with the MHC for many years now but he himself could not give a guarantee of RM50,000 per state per year during his long tenure with both MHF and MHC.
  "The delegates know this as its an open secret. As for me, my track record with MHC was only as a treasurer for two years and it was not a decision making department as compared to Azmi's.
  "But my involvement with hockey since the last 10 years has its own records and delegates know my contribution as the KLHA president which has the best run league in the country and is financially strong.
  "I have also contributed at the club level as owner of KLHC which has a proven track record and evolved from Arthur Anderson to Ernst & Young to the current form. The club is self funded.
  "So, those coming to vote tomorrow must decide based on track records and not just sentiments because they will decide which direction hockey takes for the next four years," said Koshy.
  Whatever the outcome today, MHC must still wait until the World League Semi-finals is over before they can start formulating a plan to fill up their empty coffers, and turn some former empty promises to concrete plans. The presidential speech will outline how this can be achieved in as short period as possible.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Azmi's RM50,000 grant challenge to Koshy


MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) deputy president candidate Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad yesterday threw a challenge to his opponent George Koshy.
  In a packed press conference Azmi announced that he is willing to give the seat to George unchallenged, provided that he signs a document stating that the 16 MHC affiliates will each receive an RM50,000 yearly grant for four years.
  "George is a good friend, and I would have given up the deputy president's nomination and defended my vice-president's post if he had just told me before nominations that he wants to be the second man in MHC.
  "But he did it silently, and only received one nomination from Kuala Lumpur because even the other 15 affiliates were not sure if he wanted to stand for election.
  "However, now that both of us have pledged to stand on May 13 (Wednesday) I am giving him another chance to win unopposed. All he has to do is put it in writing that he will source for sponsors and provide a yearly grant of RM50,000 to each MHC affiliate for the next four years.
  "I will then walk up to the podium, and make a short speech to the delegates before voting that there is no need to cast a single vote in my favour, and all the votes must go to Koshy," said Azmi.
  Azmi, who received 10 nominations for the deputy president's post, said that money was a big issue played up in the campaigning so he is willing to bow out from the race if it would benefit the delegates.
  "I get nothing, because it is a voluntary position and not a salaried post. So, if the states can be promised an RM50,000 yearly grant, I would gladly give up my challenge."
  MHC treasurer Datuk N. Radhakrishnan, running for a vice-president's post this time around, had said that MHC were RM2.6 million in debt due to the lackadaisical attitude of the current office bearers in raising funds for the Confederation.
  "Those elected will have to work harder and given a KPI to bring in money as the MHC has many debts to pay. Previously, only the president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah provided funds as well as our Rakan Sukan Tenaga Nasional. Some sponsors had pledged millions for a five-year period but failed to deliver the goods and that's among the main reasons why the MHC is in debt now.
  "This is no longer a joy-ride position, so my challenge to George is not overboard. Money given to the states can help develop talent which is what we need in large numbers today.
  "Currently there is only a small number of senior players, about 30, and this does not give the coaches a good choice to pick for major assignments.
  "That's why states need funding to develop their programmes and send teams for the Junior Hockey League, Malaysia Hockey League and others.
  "Right now, if we do not qualify for the Olympics by finishing fourth in the World League Semi-finals, I believe not only would Malaysia be set back for five years, but it would also be very difficult for those elected to source for funds because sponsors always look for performance before parting with their money.
  "That is why I have thrown the challenge to George, who had said in his campaign trail, that he has plans to systematically raise funds for MHC. If he can promise, in writing, that the states would get the amount with money sourced from sponsors, the deputy president's post is his for the taking and I will bow out. That's a promise," said Azmi.
  In the women's deputy president's race S. Shamala would be up against K. Maheshwari.
  There are six candidates for the men's vice president, and three for the women's veep. A minimum of two ladies need to be voted in as regulated by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).