Monday, March 21, 2016
National Under-16: A shambolic scam..
THE 1MAS-Milo National Under-16 Boys' and Girls' tournament concluded on Sunday with Terengganu and Selangor winning the respective categories in a 9s tournament which saw many flaws from the very start.
First of all, there were no schools tournaments in states leading to inter-district for fairer selection. The reason was because the Education Ministry did not have funds for hockey tournaments at schools.
So, selections were based on who the respective coaches knew and who were on the radar of team managers and state secretaries.
Those who played in the Junior Hockey League (JHL) were of course more visible and picked over others who never had a chance to show their skills at schools level.
This being an Under-16 tournament, fresh faces should have been preferred, instead of relying on the same old faces who play in the JHL, especially in Division Two.
But states were looking for results more than a bigger pool of players, as Open trials were held, but selection were already done weeks before trials were called.
Those who walked in for trials never had a chance in their lives to play in the National Under-16.
Some trials were called for a period of two days, but after just one day, those who walked in were told not to turn up for the second day trials as the coach already had in mind players from last year, and players from sports schools which he wanted to pinch.
This practise shrunk the pool for national selectors --- 1MAS director Tai Beng Hai, Nor Saiful Zaini, Mohamed Suffian, S. Vellapan and Amin Rahim.
This group was tasked to select boys for the Four-Nation Under-16 tournament in Mannheim, Germany, on May 13-16.
Injustice was done to many who were not selected by states in their haphazard Open trials, and not the best in the country will now head to Mannheim.
These are the players who will represent the country in the next Junior World Cup, provided they play well and qualify.
The 9s tournament also did not serve the purpose it was intended for -- more goals and more open space to run and throw the ball. As players were lost playing this format for the first time.
And a week before its start, no indepth planning was done before the 9s rules were drafted.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee had sent out forms for 15 names to be registered from the normal 18.
All 13 boys and 13 girls teams promptly dropped one goalkeeper each -- sidelining 26 goalkeepers in a blink.
And two more players from each state, 26 boys and 26 girls, were also left out in the cold because the MHC changed the format.
When pointed out that a total of 26 goalkeepers and 52 players, totalling 78 overall, will not play in the National Under-16, competitions committee chairman George Koshy finally realised the folly they were heading into.
Credit to Koshy, he immediately instructed his charges to amend the rule and sent a email to all states to save 78 boys and girls from the agony of missing out the chance of their lives.
But still, in the end, the tournament did not serve its purpose as a selection base for raw and promising talent. It was actually a waste of time, because even the national selectors already had selected their Mannheim Four-Nation team from JHL players who they watched earlier.
The saving grace would be if the MHC selects another two teams, one each for boys and girls, from raw and promising talent and watch them grow and fight for a spot with the Mannheim team.
If not, might as well scrap the Under-16 it from next year's calendar.