Monday, April 16, 2007

Grassroots neglected, says official


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) not only needs a top overhaul, but
their engine room also needs a thorough clean-up.
That was the candid opinion of a veteran hockey official who declined to
be named because, just like the rest of the hockey fraternity, he was not
"keen on taking on the royalty head on."
The royalty in this case is MHF president Sultan Azlan Shah who has been
at the helm since 1981.
"Very little has been done at the grassroots by the State HA's, but
nobody is bothered about it because the president is not complaining about
"I strongly feel that, for hockey to thrive in the next 10 years, the
president and his men must make way for new blood," said the official.
He also agreed that the best man to replace the Sultan is his eldest
son, Raja Nazrin Shah.
"When Raja Nazrin took over as president of the Perak Football
Association two years ago, he brought in RM5 million and made some
changes. I am not saying that a president's job is only to bring in the
money, but it is a vital part for the survival of any sport in the
"For MHF to survive and then become stronger, we need someone at the
helm who can fill up their coffers and not just let the office bearers run
the show as to how they see it fit," said the official.
MHF were in deep financial trouble just days before the Kuala Lumpur
World Cup as not many sponsors were willing to step in for the pinnacle of
world hockey. But somehow, they managed to cut even in the end - thanks to
the strong fan support who filled up the National Hockey Stadium to the
The official also said that Raja Nazrin, if he succeeds his father,
should come out with fresh ideas not only to revamp the State HA's, but
also change the present election process in MHF.
"He must change the election process and maybe use the proposed changes
to the Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) as his model. He should be
given a free hand to select his secretary and office bearers. Only by
revemping the engine room of the MHF, can the sport be placed on the right
track again."
MHF have been running on automatic mode as the presedent is said to be a
mere figure head and decisions are made by his elected officials.
MHF did not hold a council meeting for the past three years and bypassed
the chairman of the competitions committee, Datuk Abd Jalil Abdul Majid
and organised the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) and called for the Junior
League entries without the chairman's knowledge.
The official also lamented on the `slowly dying MHL' because not a
single team outside the Klang Valley had shown interest in it.
"Since it (MHL) has killed off the Razak Cup, why didn't the State HA's
send their teams for the MHL. They can participate by sourcing for
sponsors and use their sponsors name to compete in the League.
"Success does not come overnight and if the states do not start a
league, the source of talent will dry up. MHF are well known over the
world for being good organisers, but it is useless if they can't instruct
their HA's to organise simple leagues in their own backyard."
Kuala Lumpur HA (KLHA) are the only ones with an active league which has
been running for the past 15 years. They have Division One to Four in
their stable and are now planning to run a schools league.
KLHA secretary V. Rajamanickam said that their success did not come
"We have been actively running the league for the past 15 years and the
present MHL teams like Sapura, Andersen Sports Club and Tenaga Nasional
Bhd all rose from the bottom of the KLHA League to where they are today.
"If the other states want to start a league, they must not think of
short-term gains because it will never work. They must allow everybody a
chance to try their hand in the sport by organising a league and who
knows, hockey might get a lease of life," said Rajamanickam.