Friday, January 9, 2009

Juniors lose 2-0 to WAIS

THE National Juniors lost 2-0 to Western Australian Institute of Sports (WAIS) in their run-up to the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) in Sydney from Jan 14-18.
Malaysia are in Sydney to play a few friendlies, before the tournament proper, and today they will meet the Australian Juniors in a friendly.
In the under-20 AYOF, Malaysia will be up against the hosts, Great Britain and India.
“We were down 1-0 by the half-time, and WAIS scored in the final minutes to make it 2-0. The team played well, and my personal opinion is that a draw would have been a fair result,” said Juniors coach K. Rajan.
While the WAIS was a senior outfit, and Rajan tested all his players, he will field his best against the Australian Juniors today.
“I will have a better idea tomorrow (today) as both the teams will be of the same age. I will field the best, and it should be an interesting match.”
Malaysia have taken 26 players for the Tour-cum-tour nament, and will return on Jan 24, as more friendlies have been arranged after the AYOF.

Coaching Committee a rubber-stamp?

By Jugjet Singh

THE new Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) is only two months old, and acted its age, when it made a serious booboo in the coaching department.
Dr Balbir Singh has been appointed as the Coaching Committee chairman, and will hold his first meeting with representatives from every affiliate today.
But amazingly, the list of coaches for the seniors, junior and under-16 teams were released by MHF deputy president Nur Azmi Ahmad on Dec 28, just before the start of the Malaysia Hockey League final.
The only vacant spot left for the coaching committee to fill up today is posts for the National B team.
In other words the Coaching Committee has been turned into a rubber-stamp, with no respect for state affiliates’ views.
The correct procedure is for the Coaching Committee to recommend names, and the MHF Council endorses, or rejects.
This ‘cart before the horse situation’ could turn sticky today, if the state affiliates do not agree with the list of coaches released by their deputy president.
It was announced then that Tai Beng Hai will be the caretaker seniors coach, while Nur Saiful Zaini as his assistant until a foreign coach is signed, preferably by mid- January. The team manager was named as George Koshy.
As for the juniors, K. Rajan was named as coach while Bob Rajendran, Lailin Abu Hassan and Nur Saiful Azli as as sistants. The team manager named was Johari AbdulAziz.
K. Dharmaraj was named as the Under-16 coach, while his assistants are M. Gobinathan and Azlan Bakar and the team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
When Dr Balbir was asked about this sticky situation, he said that the reverse was done because coaches were in urgent need, and he hoped that his state members, when they arrive today, will be understanding enough to close ranks on the matter.
But already, fingers are being pointed at several per sonalities who are said to have lobbied and placed their men in the list above, and this could turn into a burning question which will make closing ranks almost impossible.
So hastily were the names announced, that paper cre dentials for the coaches were also not checked at all, and will only be scrutinised today.
One understands that there is an urgent need for re placement coaches after Sarjit Singh, Gurmit Singh and Shahid Ali Khan’s contracts were not renewed.
But in their haste, the MHF forgot to consult their most valuable asset -- state affiliates.
One state affiliate said the meeting could turn ugly, as he feels his men have more experience and better credentials but were not even considered.
But it shouldn’t turn into a finger pointing and chest thumping exercise as what the affiliates, though procedure was not followed, must remember that Malaysian hockey is in dire straits.
The national team are ranked 15th in the world, will be playing in the third-tier Champions Challenge II and need all the help they can get.
The coaches and manager have been named and rather than rocking the boat, the affiliates must pledge their support and help take hockey out of the woods.