The Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru is void of fans when the MHL paid them a visit. About 100 to 200 people were at most of the stadiums where MHL was played, and this included the players, their families, officials and television crew.
COMMENT By Jugjet Singh
BUKIT Jalil Sports School coach S. Prakash is all for a forum to plan for next season’s Malaysia Hockey League, and the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) should be ready to face brick-bats, as well as accolades.
Prakash is the official coach for Sapura in the MHL, and he personally feels the MHL is a success in some areas, but a flop in others.
“A forum should be held after the MHL ends where the MHF invite all those who have a interest in it for an open discussion to make the next season a greater success.
“Since this is the first season for a new format, and travelling, there were some glitches which could be rectified in the next season,” said Prakash after his team qualified for the semi-finals on a 4-2 aggregate.
One of the areas that need attention is how to bring back fan support.
“Of course athletes savour crowd support, but it has been lacking at all the stadia that we had played in. There were hardly any supporters at some stadiums, while singer Ella did manage to bring in a crowd at the Malacca stadium,” said Prakash.
The quarter-finals at the Tun Razak Stadium was a classic example, as only hockey players and their families, MHF officials and television crew made up the 100-odd at the stadium.
And before the forum, interested parties should be give one week to submit their recommendations and suggestions, so that time would not be wasted debating in all directions.
“I believe many coaches and managers of the MHL have constructive ideas which could be turned into reality next season.
“After all, we are only interested in promoting hockey on and off the pitch, and we believe more could be done to make things smoother,” said Prakash.
Meanwhile, on another note, Asian giants South Korea indicated that they are almost ready for the New Delhi World Cup when they beat Australia 2-1 in the third Test in Hobart.
South Korea showed great progress in the three-Test series as they lost the first match 5-1, narrowed the losing margin to 3-2 in the next and then beat the Aussies at their own backyard in Hobart.
South Korea were semi-finals in 2006 in Mönchenglad bach, Germany, and ended the tournament fourth. Germany were champions, Australia the silver medallists and Spain the bronze medallists.
South Korea were also fourth in the 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup, where Germany, Australia and Netherlands took gold, silver and bronze.
And the Koreans are the best bet among the other Asian teams, India and Pakistan, to again give the European teams and Australia a run for their money.
Now that is progress, and it must have been meticulously planned for decades, and more importantly, the Koreans did not rely on foreign coaches to be where they are today.