Monday, February 1, 2010
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.
MAYBANK just made it to the semi-finals of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Pemier Division when they edged UniKL-IBIL 2-0 in the second leg quarter-final at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
In the other quarters, Sapura, who already have a 4-1 cushion, took it easy in the return leg and lost 1-0 to Nur Insafi but advanced 4-2 on aggregate to play Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club in the semi-finals.
KLHC, who hammered ATM-Airod 10-2 in the first leg, beat them 7-3 to qualify on a 17-5 aggregate.
Maybank took the lead in the 13th minute when Hairul Nizam was on target off a penalty corner, and Hairul delivered again in the 60th minute to seal the match.
However, Maybank coach S. Valappan agreed that is was not an easy win.
"UniKL deserve credit for playing good hockey but we had experience on our side and that counted. It was a shaky match after we took the lead as UniKL had many chances and could have levelled the score.
"We took the tough route as we squandered many penalty corner chances and will have to work on that in the next week for the semis," said Velappan.
UniKL coach I. Vickneswaran said Maybank players were clever in generating faults, which killed his team's chances.
"Some of the faults which earned Maybank the goals and also crucial penalty corners were results of manufactured faults.
"Maybank players fell even though my players did not have any contact with them. But that is part of the game, and I accept the defeat in good spirit," said Vickneswaran.
However, considering his team have an average age of 22, Vickneswaran feels there is future in this team.
"If this set of players are kept together and play again in the MHL next season, I believe they will be the team to watch."
Tenaga Nasional, who had a 2-0 cushion from the first leg, let loose their forwards and nailed seven more goals.
Amin Rahim (eighth, 69th), Izwan Firdaus (10th, 46th), Shazril Irwan (48th, 58th) and Anwar Ali (62nd) delivered for Tenaga.