Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dharmaraj's One Night in Bangkok... My Philosophy of Coaching

NATIONAL women's hockey coach K. Dharmaraj has been invited to give a talk to an audience made up of badminton greats.
  Yes, you read it right.
  Dharmaraj, who successfully took his 22nd rankled team into the World League Semifinals in London, has been invited to the Badminton Asia Top Coaches Forum in Bangkok on Sept 30-Oct 1.
  His topic would be "My Philosophy of Coaching".
  "It's really a honour to be invited for this forum where I will give a talk on my coaching experience. There will be top badminton coaches there and I can also learn a thing or two from them and apply it where applicable," said Dharmaraj.
  The coach was given a rag-tag team to prepare for the World League Round Two in Kuala Lumpur, in his unorthodox coaching method saw his charges beat 15th ranked Italy in the semi-finals to qualify for the World League Semifinals for the first time.
  "This is the second time I have received an offer from outside hockey to talk at a forum. The first was when our national juniors beat Pakistan in the 2012 Asia Cup and qualified for the Junior World Cup in India.
  "Back them I was invited by Karate to their forum but could not attend because of my commitments.
  "But I will be heading to Bangkok thanks to all the support I received from the Malaysian hockey Confederation and president Datuk Seri Subahan (Kamal).
  "All this would not have been possible if they did not have faith in me to coach the national women's team," said Dharmaraj.
  Dharmaraj is in the midst of preparing his charges for the Asia Cup in Kakamigahara, Japan, on Oct 28-Nov 5. The tournament is a World Cup qualifier.
  Among the badminton coaches invited to the forum are BA of Malaysia Technical Director Morten Frost and BA of Thailand chief coach Rexy Mainaky.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Five national players in tax trouble...

Oleh Saiful Affendy Sapran

KUALA LUMPUR: Kelemahan pihak pengurusan kelab yang beraksi dalam saingan Liga Hoki Malaysia (LHM), Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) dilihat bakal memberi kesan terhadap lima pemainnya yang beraksi bersama skuad hoki negara.
  Ini kerana, lima pemain itu, andai dipilih Stephen van Huizen, berkemungkinan besar akan dihalang untuk ke luar negara bagi menghadapi saingan Piala Asia di Dhaka, bulan depan, kerana gagal menjelaskan bayaran cukai pendapatan untuk 2015.
  Menurut sumber, pihak pengurusan THT iaitu Persatuan Hoki Terengganu (PHT) didakwa tidak memaklumkan lebih awal kepada setiap pemain bahawa mereka perlu membayar cukai pendapatan.
  Malah jelas sumber, di dalam kontrak pemain, tidak dinyatakan bahawa mereka perlu membayar cukai pendapatan.
  Hanya pada Januari lalu barulah pemain THT dimaklumkan mengenai perkara itu selepas pihak pengurusan memanggil semua mereka untuk mengadakan perbincangan bersama Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (LHDN).
  Lebih parah, ada pemain yang perlu membayar tuntutan cukai pendapatan sehingga mencecah kira-kira RM35,000, termasuk penalti lewat melakukan bayaran.
  "Masalah sekarang ialah apabila pihak pengurusan langsung tak maklumkan kepada pemain mengenai perkara ini lebih awal.
  "Jika setiap pemain tahu, sudah pasti mereka akan membayar cukai itu.   Sekarang macam mana nak cari duit dalam jumlah yang banyak untuk melakukan bayaran?," katanya.
  Jelas sumber itu, perkara paling membimbangkan adalah membabitkan lima pemain kebangsaan yang bakal terbang ke Dhaka bulan depan.
  "Untuk pemain lain, mungkin tidak terlalu berdepan masalah sangat. Tapi bagaimana pula pemain yang bersama skuad kebangsaan ketika ini kerana difahamkan, mereka mungkin akan dihalang untuk ke luar negara sekiranya gagal jelaskan cukai pendapatan," katanya.
  Malah sumber itu berkata, pihak persatuan juga masih gagal membayar gaji bulanan setiap pemain yang sudah tertunggak selama dua bulan.
  THT adalah antara pasukan utama pada saingan LHM dan pernah memenangi kejuaraan liga sebanyak tiga kali, termasuk tahun lalu.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mammoth boost for hockey in Selangor...

FROM LEFT ... SHA VP J. Elangovan Chairman Competitions Committee,  QI Group’s Deputy Group Managing Director Kuna Senathirajah, SHA President, Ganesh Shanmugam and SHA Deputy President  Dr  S. Shamala,

THE QNET-TNB Selangor Hockey League kicks off on Aug 19 with a whopping 71 teams gunning for titles in various divisions.
  This will not only by the biggest number of teams taking part in the history of Selangor hockey but also, the biggest state league in Malaysia.
  Asian Direct Selling Company, QNET announced its continued
sponsorship for the third year running for the men's, women's, schoolboys' and girls' categories, to be played at three venues in the Klang Valley.
   This year’s edition will also see Tenaga Nasional Berhad, as
co-sponsors with matches being played at the Petaling Jaya City Council, Pandamaran and the KPM Pantai Stadiums.
  The league will also introduce a new division called the District Level Development (DLD) as part of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) and the Ministry of Education Sports Division development partnership program. 
  Each DLD district will be allowed to field one under-14 team in the league for free and the matches will be played in the KPM Stadium in Pantai.
  S. Kuna, QI Group’s deputy group managing director expressed
his delight on the continued partnership with Selangor HA.
  “As a keen supporter of one of our top national sport, I am also quite happy to see the league moving into full gear for the third year running.
 "This will give a good platform for hockey fans in the state to see top class action up close and in the process unearthing new talent which could be nurtured into national or world class players.”
  “Additionally, our partnership with Selangor HA clearly demonstrates our strong support for the development of hockey, where Malaysia is ranked 12th in the world, and having qualified for the World Cup in India next year,” said Kuna.
  In Division One, defending champions UiTM will looking to win their fourth consecutive title but are expected to face stiff competition.
  PJCC Tigers will be one of the teams to watch as they won the Junior Hockey League Division One title in May. 
  Also looking to challenge UiTM will be the Hamzah Machang and X-Matrix.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Van Huizen: No issues with Baljit...


NATIONAL chief coach Stephen van Huizen said Baljit Singh Charun has contributed immensely for the last 10 years, but fell a few rungs to younger players recently, and that's why he was placed in the development squad.
  Baljit was then moved to train with the indoor hockey team preparing for the Sea Games, and when he failed to be selected, he quit the sport for good on Monday.
  "He has always been a hardworking player, serious in training and never had any issues with any of us (team management) and that's why I was surprised to read that he felt that I was avoiding him.
  "Anyway, I called Baljit and spoke to him and explained the situation where a few players moved up the rung and he had to be placed in the development squad and then indoor hockey.
  "Maybe there was miscommunication between both of us as I was busy training the field hockey players while Baljit was with the indoor squad.
  "Actually I had wanted to meet up with him after the Sea Games to discuss his future, but since he has quit, I wish him all the best," said van Huizen.
  On Monday, Baljit had said that there is no more reason for him to hang around the training squad, as Stephen ven Huizen kept avoiding him regarding his future plans.
  "No such thing. Our paths crossed several times and there were no issues between us.
  "Anyway, he gave his best for the nation whenever he was called up and never disappointed. He was also one of the best first runners (in penalty corners) we had.
  "However, some of the younger players caught up, and then overtook him and that's a natural process (in any sport)," said van Huizen.

Thanks for the memories, Baljit...

By Jugjet Singh

THANKS for the memories Malaysia!
  These were Baljit Singh Charun's parting words to Malaysian hockey, marking the exit of the last standing Sikh.
  The memories were good initially, but towards the end, he faced some terribly testing times which he rather forget.
  "There is no more reason for me to hang around the training squad, as the coach (Stephen ven Huizen) keeps avoiding me regarding his future plans with me.
  "Also, if I am not good enough to represent the country in the Sea Games, that shows the level of confidence the selectors have in me," said Baljit.
  Sea Games is the lowest category for World No 12th ranked Malaysia, and even with a juniors outfit, the country beat a senior Singapore side to the gold medal at their own turf in 2015.
   Baljit joined Tenaga Nasional 2004 and helped them to three overall titles in the Malaysia Hockey League in 2004, 2007 and 2009. He made his senior international debut at the 2007 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
  After which he helped the country win silver at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, and played in many other tournaments including the gold at the 2013 Sea Games.
  "Things changed after I helped Malaysian qualify for the Hague World Cup (2014). I gave everything I had in the qualifier (World League Semifinals in Johor 2013) to help the country finish fifth and qualify for the World Cup on merit.
  After the Johor WL Semifinals, the coaching circle was in a turmoil as chief coach Paul Revington came under severe personal and professional attack and decided to leave in a huff.
  In came K. Dharmaraj, and Baljit's exit from the sport started.
  "After playing one of the best tournaments in my life and qualifying for the World Cup, I felt that the break that I was looking for has finally arrived.
  "I'm going to play in a World Cup."
  But it was not to be. As from being among the top-three defenders in Revington's squad, Baljit became a shadow in Dharmaraj's team.
  And shockingly he was replaced with German-born Kevin Lim, whom Dharmaraj saw playing only once in a tournament in Australia.
  Baljit's nightmare started the day he was told that Kevin Lim would be replacing him in the Hague World Cup.
  There was a twist of faith when the team arrived at the Hague and after playing a friendly game a few days before the World Cup, Kevin Lim pulled a hamstring and coach Dharmaraj sent an S.O.S to the team management for a replacement.
  Instead of Baljit, Dharmaraj asked for Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin. It was only days ago that Izad had just recovered from being hospitalised, but was rushed to the Hague where he arrived in the morning and played in the evening against Australia -- naturally losing 4-0.
  Malaysia, in the end, lost all their matches at the Hague and the nail was a 6-2 drubbing in the hands of South Africa in the 11-12th classification.
  "After the World Cup, I was consistently sidelined and told to give hockey up. And not being selected for Sea Games is the final straw," said Baljit.
  Moved from field to indoor training for the Sea Games, and then not even selected for the new event, coach Paul Lissek summed it up.
  "Baljit is still a very good player in my books, but he badly wanted to play field hockey and his heart was not with the indoor game," said Lissek who has been roped in by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation as consultant to the indoor men's and women's team.
  Once the back-bone of the Malaysian team since the 1956 Melbourne Olympics till a decade ago, Baljit's exit marks a sad era in the country's Sikh hockey history.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

KLHA: No child will be left behind...

 SURROUNDED: MHC President Subanah with eager players.
WITH SCRIBE ... MHC Deputy President Dr Shamala

KUALA Lumpur HA Saturday reached a new milestone when they launched their very own Junior Development Programme where 'no child will be left behind'.
  And the launch received spectacular response, as about 100 children from the ages of 18 to 8-years-old filled the KLHA artificial pitch even tough schools are currently having their inter-district hockey tournament.
  Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Subahan Kamal launched the programme with KLHA president Datuk Abu Huraira Abu Yazid.
  Lauding the initiative, Subahan said MHC are also working with the Education Ministry and Tenaga Nasional to take hockey back to schools.
  "We have had a brief talk with the Sports Minister as well as Tenaga Nasional on a proposal to take hockey back to schools. Many schools do not have a hockey programme, and so, with funding from Tenaga we hope to make hockey a mass sport," said Subahan.
  Former national player I. Vickneswaran, chairman of the KLHA Junior Development Programme, said he has his mind set on giving every child a chance to excel in hockey.
  "This development plan is for under-21 and is for both boys and girls. We will stick with development and not shift our focus on an elite team and then forget about the newcomers in the long run.
  "And whenever there are age-group tournaments the players can represent their clubs or schools and KLHA will form a team or two out of all those who are not selected and give them a chance to play as well.
  "In this way, no child will be left behind," said Vickneswaran.
  Many established development coaches also attended the launch and MHC will send their high level coaches whenever there is a request from KLHA.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Book an electrifying time with TNB...

By Jugjet Singh

TENAGA Nasional Bhd (TNB) is a starting block which has propelled many hockey players from remote villages to the Olympic Village and to the World Cup stage.
   The utility giant has also nurtured many coaches of calibre.
   And TNB is still at it, generating opportunities for players and others by providing employment and financial support like a caring parent would.
    To commemorate the hockey greats, TNB launched a coffee table book titled The Sticks, which is a compilation of its involvement in hockey as well as the greats who have played at the highest level.
  The book was launched by Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin with TNB chief corporate officer Datuk Wira Roslan Ab Rahman on Thursday while many former and present Tenaga players graced the occasion.
   From Kilat Club players in the 1970s to current national players who work with TNB and represent the nation, their stellar history, with nostalgic pictures, grace the coffee table book.
   Hockey started with Kilat Club back in the 1950s, when they played in Division Two of the Selangor HA League.
   It was TNB’s strength in employing hockey players, many as meter readers, and giving them much encouragement, leave and playing gear, that made the company a powerhouse to produce national players out of budding talents.
  Household names in hockey have TNB to thank for, for providing them with the sprinting block from the days of grass to artificial pitches.
  Nor Saiful Zaini is one of the many who are thankful to TNB. For the energy giant gave him a chance to become a three time-Olympian who competed in the 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games.
  “I am what I am today because of Tenaga Nasional. When they scouted my hockey talent, I was offered a clerk’s position and now I have reached managerial level.
  “And in hockey, the encouragement and support they gave me was simply amazing. I became a national skipper, three-time Olympian, played in the World Cup, Asian Games and Champions Trophy – all because of Tenaga’s undying support,” said Nor Saiful.
   Nor Saiful and many of his TNB  teammates are giving back to the sport by running the successful Thunderbolts programme that has made Thunderbolts a much feared power in the Junior Hockey League.
   Former National Juniors coach Balbir Singh said: “To sum it up, there is nothing bad that any hockey player who belongs to the Kilat and then the TNB family can say about the company.”
  Balbir, in his 70s, still conducts junior development programmes at various clubs in the Klang Valley with zest.
  K. Rajan echoed Balbir’s sentiments. The 2009 Junior World Cup coach, then Thailand and now Singapore head coach, believes his fortunes changed when he was recruited by Tenaga in his youth.
  “Their simple strategy of employing budding hockey players has worked wonders since the 1970s until today. I owe my career in sport to Tenaga, and I believe many others share the same feelings,” said Rajan.
   From the 1950s Kilat had the Shepherdson brothers Mike and Christie, and talents like Kuldeep Singh, Jack Johnson and Harnahal Singh will never be forgotten either.
   The names below speak for TNB’s hockey passion which was inscripted in the coffee table book.
   Poon Fook Loke, Razak Leman, Brian Sta Maria, Foo Keat Seong, Sulaiman Saibot, M. Surenthiran, Sarjit Singh, Nor Saiful Zaini, K Embaraj, S. Sivabalan, K. Dharmaraj and Mirnawan Nawawi.
   The younger generation will know Madzli Ikmar, the late Chua Boon Huat, S. Kumar, Nor Azlan Bakar, Amin Rahim, M. Kaliswaran, Faizal Shaari, Firhan Azhaari, Ramadan Rosli.
   The Kilat Padang has its own history, as it was there back in 1975 that Malaysia beat the Netherlands 2-1 to qualify for the semifinals and finish fourth in the World Cup which is still the nation’s best achievement to date.

Past and present faces at TNB hockey book launch..

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Stephen van Huizen: Joel is fine for Sea Games...

NATIONAL chief coach Stephen van Huizen will field his son Joel (pic) in the Sea Games, as he passed a medical test conducted on him recently.
  Joel collapsed twice in the World League Round Two in Dhaka in March, and before that he also collapsed while playing for Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club in the Malaysia Hockey League.
  After Dhaka, Joel was rested and not fielded for the Azlan Shah Cup as well as the World League Semifinals in London where Malaysia finished fourth and qualified for the World Cup in India next year.
  "After the Dhaka incidents, I rested him for two other tournaments but kept him in the training squad. He will play in the Sea Games because the ISN (National Sports Institute) conducted tests on him and gave an all-clear.
  "That was the first question NSC (National Sports Council) officials asked me when I presented the Sea Games list of 18 players to them.
  "And when I showed them the medical report, they agreed to field Joel," said van Huizen.
  In Dhaka, Joel became a centre of controversy when he suddenly collapsed while playing against Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals. And since he fell in an off-the-ball incident, the umpire flashed a red card to the nearest Sri Lankan because he thought the player had hit Joel on the head with his hockey stick.
  The Sri Lankan protested but was sent off with 20 minutes remaining in the match. 
  Match officials and umpires manager Amarjit Singh (a Malaysian) viewed the incident on video after the match and were shocked to watch Joel collapse on his own and the Sri Lankan never touched him.
  The red card was revoked, but the drama did not stop there.
  In the semi-finals against Egypt, Joel again collapsed and was stretchered out -- but this time the umpires were wiser.
  Technical Director terry Walsh had said in Dhaka then: "Numerous test have been conducted on this boy (Joel) but they stil can't find the reasons for his sudden black-outs."
  And van Huizen is confident the problem will not affect Joel in the Sea Games.
  "Well talking as a father, if Joel was in any danger, I will not field him. But since his tests with ISN did not indicate anything and they gave him a clean bill of health, there is no reason why he can't play in the Sea Games," said van Huizen.
 MALAYSIA (men's field hockey): S. Kumar (gk), Hafizuddin Othman (gk), Razie Rahim, Sukri Mutalib, Izad Hakimi, Faiz Helmi, Azri Hassan, Marhan Jalil, Fitri Saari, Nabil Fiqri, Meor Azuan, Joel Samuel Van Huizen, Ramadan Rosli, Shahril Saabah, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Rashid Baharom, Nik Aiman Rozemi, Faizal Saari.

Legends who attended Datuk Ow Soon Kooi's press conference...

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ow Soon Kooi: I quit because of medical and meddlers...


DATUK OW Soon Kooi likes to stay away from controversies, and is always diplomatic even though the situation warrants otherwise.
  And so it came as a surprise when he called for a press conference to clear the air on why he resigned from the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) vice-president as well as coaching committee chairman posts in a huff.
  He had, then, cited health reasons for quitting every post in the MHC.
 But yesterday, he said he had to clear the air as allegations in news and other media had tarnished his corporate-man image.
  And no less than whose-who in Malaysian hockey attended his press conference at the Olympic Council of Malaysia hotel.
  In walked 1975 World Cup members Datuk Poon Fook Loke, R. Pathmarajah and skipper Datuk Sri Shanmuganathan.
  And for good measure 'they brought along' 1975 World Cup famous umpire Datuk G. Vijayanathan who blew during the India-Pakistan final.
  Former national juniors coach Balbir Singh, international Gurmit Singh, M. Sambu ... and it looked like a re-union of greats as even some women national players came.
  But it was not a merry get-together, as they had come to listen to former skipper and two time Olympian as well as two time World Cup player Ow speak his heart. 
  Ow started by presenting all the work his committee has done over the years, with statistics, to show that his committee was not dormant as alleged by many.
  And he also said the reason why they only had one meeting in 2016 was because everything was in place by then, and they ran the show by making decisions on a social media group-chat.
  Ow said that his reputation as a corporate man was built on being strict about rules and hierarchy. He doesn't believe in breaking rank, and followed procedure to be where he is today from a poor, a very poor background.
  Being a former policeman did not 'help' when he watched others breaking this hierarchy rules.
  And that's why when MHC officials made decisions on behalf of his committee and compelled them to follow -- it made him mad.
  He gave examples which named four officials of being guilty, with the prime target being Technical Director Terry Walsh.
  Ow gave examples where Walsh made coaching decisions without consulting his committee, and it made them wonder who is running the show.
  Citing an example, Ow narrated about the hiring of Paul Lissek to become the indoor hockey consultant for Sea Games.
  Walsh had approached Ow about the matter and when asked, he was told that Lissek is willing to work for free or at a nominal feel -- as Lissek had coached the Malaysian field hockey team before and was very knowledgeable about indoor hockey as well.
  Ow and Walsh agreed on an RM X amount to be paid to Lissek as a consultant. But after three weeks, Ow found out that Lissek was being paid six and a half time higher than the discussed salary.
  When he asked an MHC official about it, the official said he had raised the salary all by himself -- without consulting anybody.
  There were many other examples of meddling in his committee, but the Lissek episode broke the camels back, and coupled with his nagging neck pain, Ow decided to call it a day.
  Attempts to call and SMS MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal to clear the air on the above issue were not answered.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Lissek believes Malaysia can become an indoor powerhouse...

INDOOR SILVER .. Malaysian women pose with the Indoor silver won in Doha in April.

GERMAN Paul Lissek is so impressed with the Malaysian men's indoor hockey team, that he feels like hitting his head against the wall for not starting a programme 10 years ago.
  For, the Malaysian team are new to the game and only took it seriously when it was included in the KL Sea Games next month, but after a short stint the men are almost 'professionals'.
  The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) were initially shocked when the indoor game was included for the first time in the Sea Games, but took up the challenge, and now it might become a permanent fixture in the country.
  "The players have only been training seriously for months, but are playing really well and I ask myself -- if we had started indoor 10 years ago, maybe we might have been among the medallists in the indoor World Cup," said former national coach Lissek who has been roped in as an indoor consultant as the sport is strange to local coaches.
  The Malaysian men played in the Asian Indoor Championship in Doha in April and surprisingly, finished fifth. The champions are Iran, followed by Kazakhstan and Qatar.
  "That was April, but only a few months down the line, the Malaysian men look like they could have entered the Asian final and even beaten Iran to the gold.
  "That's how much they have improved," said Lissek.
  And now that a team has been formed, and the first international standard indoor venue in the country has been built at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Mitec), Lissek hopes the sport catches on like wildfire.
  "Indoor is Malaysia's chance to stand at the top of the Podium in Asia, and in the long run a medal at the World Cup. So lets continue with the programme after the Sea Games."
  As for the women, Lissek feels physical appearance could pose a problem.
  "The women are also very good but a little soft physically and that could cause some problems in tournaments. However, we will only know their true strength after they play against Indonesia and Thailand in the Games," said Lissek.
   Surprisingly, Malaysian women beat the odds to claim a silver in the Asia indoor Championship when they lost only 2-0 to Kazakhstan in the final.
  The men will have a final warm-up against Australian side New South Wales in the first week of August and it will surely show their true strength.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Soon ready for challenge...

NEWLY appointed Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) coaching committee chairman Soon Mustafa is game to take on the challenge of charting the sport's future.
  The two-time Olympian, 1984 Los Angeles and 1992 Barcelona, said that even though he has limited coaching experience, he has many ideas on how to improve the sport.
  "I will meet Terry Walsh (MHC Technical Director) soon to discuss some matters and get down to work after that. I have experience playing at the highest level and know what it takes to reach there.
  "So, even though I have limited coaching experience, I can contribute fresh ideas with the help of my committee members," said Soon, 54.
  Welsh is also on his committee.
  Soon said that previous chairman Datuk Ow Soon Kooi also did not have a coaching background, but ran the committee very well.
  "Ow is the same as me, both of us have limited coaching experience but Ow proved himself when the men's women's teams improved tremendously in a short span.
  "I have a strong committee from various background and we will work together to first impress at the Asia Cup and then the Commonwealth Games in preparation for the all-important Asian Games," said Soon.
  The Asia Cup will be held in Dhaka in October where ranking points will be on offer. India are the only team higher ranked than Malaysia, while South Korea, Pakistan, China and Japan have slipped below in the latest International Hockey Federation rankings.
  "We have to strengthen the ranking (at 12th presently) at the Asia Cup, as it would be valuable in the World League qualifier for the Olympics.
  "There is much more to be done, but I'm up to the challenge and will use the experience I gained playing for the country to help further improve the men's and women's teams," said Soon.
  Soon, who retired with 185 caps also played in two Asian Games and one Champions Trophy.
  Two women were included in the coaching committee to strenghten the women's team and they are Nuriza Sulaiman and former national skipper Nadia Abdul Rahman.
  COACHING COMMITTEE -- Chairman: Soon Mustafa; Deputy Chairman: Datuk Najmi Razak (MHC Independent Member).
  Members: Terry Walsh (MHC Technical Director), Alan Black (Coaching director, National Sports Institute), Tai Beng Hai (Development director), Yahya Atan (1Mas women head coach), V. Muralee Vasuthevan (Ministry of Education), Nuriza Sulaiman (Development coach, Pahang), 
Nadia Abdul Rahman (Ex-national captain).

MHC set two more targets...

MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal has set two more targets for the men's team, who moved up from 14th to 12th in the World.
  Now, Subahan wants the team to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics two years ahead by winning the Asian Games gold, and then break into the top-10 hockey nation in the world.
  In the latest International Hockey Federation (FIH) rankings released after the men's and women's World League Semifinals in London, Brussels and Johannesburg -- the Malaysian men were the biggest movers.
  However, the women still remain at 22 after finishing last among 10 teams in Brussels.
  "When I took over MHC after a 'good friend' asked me to do so, I had said that I will work towards taking the team into the top-10 in the world and now we are just two steps away.
  "The next target is to play in the final of the Asian Games, or better still win gold and qualify for the Olympics two years ahead," said Subahan.
  Malaysia last played in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and if they qualify for Tokyo, it would be a good 20 years hiatus.
  While Malaysia finished fourth in London and qualified for the 2018 World Cup in India, other Asian teams did not fare well.
  Four other Asian teams competed in London, but fared poorly as India finished 6th, Pakistan 7th, China 8th and South Korea 9th.
  "If we maintain this grip over the other Asian teams, I don't see any reason why we cant play in the final of the Asian Games," reasoned Subahan.
  Malaysia were the biggest winners in the latest FIH rankings as they leapfrogged two of its continental rivals, Pakistan and Korea, to move into 12th place.
 Korea dropped from 12th to 13th, while Pakistan are now 14th, Japan 17th and China 18th
  India are the higest ranked Asian team at No 6.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Farewell Logan Raj, welcome Soon Mustafa...

 FROM LEFT: Tai Beng Hai, Logan Raj, Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal, S. Shamala and Terry Walsh at the press conference.
 ONE FOR THE ALBUM... First selfie with scribe.
DOUBLE peace in exit....

MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) CEO K. Logan Raj has decided not to renew his contract, as he wants to head Down Under to be with his family and turn into a corporate man.
  The former national player held the position for two years with his renewal coming up soon, but he announced at the press conference today that he wants to call it a day.
  MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal also announced that Olympian Soon Mustafa will take over the Coaching Chairman's position which fell vacant after Datuk Ow Soon Kooi resigned due to health reasons.
  "First of all I would like to announce that the MHC has appointed Soon Mustafa as the Coaching Chairman and with his two-Olympics back-ground, we believe he is the right man for the job.
  "Secondly with sadness, I would like to state that Logan will not renew his contract with us as he wants to move on with his career and be with his wife who is already in Australia.
  "Logan's position will not be filled just yet, and I believe we have a strong administrative team in the MHC to do the daily work until we find a new CEO," said Subahan.
  Mustafa played at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1992 Barcelona Olympics when he was 21 and 29 years-old respectively.
  As for Logan, among his achievements was a silver medal in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.
  "After two years giving my best to Malaysian hockey as an administrator and before that playing for the country for 10 years (from 1997-2007) the experience has simply been wonderful.
  "And so it's with heavy heart that I make a move to Sydney, but I will still help out Malaysian hockey in any way that I can," said Logan.
  And with MHC Independent member Johnson Fernandez also calling it quits, MHC has appointed Logan as an Independent member who will help out whenever he can.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Matador's inaugural success...

MATADOR Hockey Club, coached by former national skipper and national coach Sarjit Singh, held their inaugural tournament at the Tun Razak Stadium on Saturday.
  It was a unique tournament as 'oldies', youth and children combined to make it a fun-filled learning experience.
  Six teams, named by the colours they wore, took part in the tournament with unique rules as well. Those under the age of 15, get two goals for the one they score.
  All teams had their equal share of oldies, youth and children and it was a learning curve for many who were as young as nine-years old.
  Children played on a full pitch, and were guided by the more experienced players, some with Olympic experiences like Maninderjit Singh.
  In the end, Team Yellow became champions by only letting in only one goal in seven matches.
  But like Matador Club president Datuk Harban Singh said at the end of the tournament: "Today, everybody is a winner and there are no losers. We plan to have another tournament in seven weeks time, and I believe in the long run it will benefit our youth."
  The team pictures speak for themselves... 
 NOTE: There were four goalkeepers who rotated for the six teams. Super effort by all four to play back-to-back for different teams.

 YELLOW .. Champions pose before the tournament
 WHITE... Had the most number of U15 players. 7 in total.
 BLUE.. with evergreen Tut-Tut
 YOUNGEST... Girl power
 RED ... And dangerous
 RUNNERS-UP.. Incredible Hulks
 CHAMPIONS .. Yellow power
 All in the family..

SELFIE Le Le Re...

Monday, July 10, 2017

Singapore being realistic...

Pic: K. Rajan

SINGAPORE hockey coach K. Rajan is being realistic by preparing his team to defend their 2015 Sea Games silver medal, as Malaysia are too strong for this region's teams.
  The men's and women's field hockey will see Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand competing against the hosts.
  And in the indoor event, the Malaysian men will be up against Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines. The women will play against Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines.
  Malaysia have set their sights on a clean sweep, and while three golds are almost assured, the women's indoor team are expected to receive a stiff challenge from Thailand.
  "Since Malaysia will be fielding their World League (Semifinals) team in the Sea Games, they are not our competitors in the Sea Games. We will focus on beating Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia to play in the final.
  "Realistically, these three teams are our competitors in the Games, and we are preparing to beat them," said Singapore coach K. Rajan.
  Rajan, a former Malaysia national juniors coach, is plying his trade overseas and after a stint in Thailand, he is the national coach for Singapore now.
  A report online had said that based on the 2015 Singapore Sea Games results, Rajan and his men have a chance of winning gold in Kuala Lumpur.
  But in 2015, Malaysia fielded their Under-21 side but still held SIngapore 2-2 and won the gold in a 4-3 shoot-out win.
  "Back then, we played an Under-21 team and the final was at home in front of a capacity home crowd.
  "Buy this time around we will be playing against a team which has qualified for the 2018 World Cup (by finishing fourth in the WL Semifinals in London).
  "Malaysia have the capability to score double digit wins against any Sea Games side which takes them lightly," said Rajan.
  Rajan and his men are down in Kuala Lumpur playing friendlies against club sides. They lost the first friendly 5-3 to a Malaysian team made up of former national players.
  "We will be back two more times to play friendlies against club sides in Malaysia are I believe it would be enough for us to reach our target of playing in the final," said Rajan.
  Malaysia are 14th in the World while Singapore are not even rated in the top 38 International Hockey Federation (FIH) rating.
  In the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) rating, Malaysia are fourth while Singapore 10th. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Datuk Ow makes painful decision...

THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) lost a sterling administrator when Datuk Ow Soon Kooi called it a day citing health reasons.
  The former skipper, and current vice-president as well as coaching committee chairman injured his neck in a car accident years ago and he never really recovered.
  In a text message to his coaching committee group Ow said: "Dear coaching committee members.. with a heavy heart I would like to inform everyone that I have stepped down from all posts in the MHC due to health issues.
  "I would like to thank everyone for their valuable input and contributions. It has been fun working with all of you."
  Ow did not answer calls, or text messages.
  However, during the Women's World League Round Two final match between Malaysia and Ireland at the Tun Razak Stadium, Ow did say that his neck pain is getting unbearable and he will quit after the Men's and Women's World League Semifinals are over.
  And true to his word, barely a week after the men finished fourth in London and the women 10th in Brussels, Ow quit.
  As a coaching chairman, Ow brought back some life in the men's and women's teams by bringing back Stephen van Huizen and appointing K. Dharmaraj as the women's coach.

Datuk Ow Quits MHC...

By S.S. Dhaliwal

In what can only be considered as shocking, Dato Ow Soon Kooi has tendered his resignation from all positions in the Malaysian Hockey Confederation,
A WhatsApp message from Dato Ow notifying his Coaching Committee members confirmed the sad news.

Dato Ow was elected as a Vice President of MHC at the AGM in 2015 and was also the Chairman of the Coaching Conmittee as well as a member of the National Team Management Committee.
The former national player and skipper has been largely credited with the revamp of the coaching set up as he pushed for Stephen van Huizen to be brought back as National Coach and played a key role in paving the way for the progress of the Women’s Team by appointing K. Dharmaraj as the coach.
Besides that Ow ensured professionalism in coaching and also looked into the welfare of the coaches.
A stickler for discipline and a workaholic, Dato Ow spent countless hours on the sidelines of the hockey pitch watching players undergo drills and playing matches,
He used to burn the midnight oil watching videos of the team in action, as he gave valuable insight to coaches, but never once interfered or influenced their tactics or training methodology.
His shock resignation, coming only a week after the national team qualified for the 2018 World Cup by finishing 4th in the World League Semi Finals, will surely be discussed largely in the hockey fraternity.
Although Ow has stated that his decision to resign was due to health reasons, observers believe that there is more to what broke the camels back and a man who had an illustrious career in the sport would never throw in the towel like that.
It is indeed a big loss for hockey to lose a personality such as Dato Ow who had much passion and dedication for the sport.
It is further learnt that a member of the MHC Coaching Committee had also tender his resignation as he was appointed into the Committee by Dato Ow.
Several others are expected to follow suit and quit the committee.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Dharmaraj gets the right pill..

LONE RANGER WITH TONTO... Dharmaraj (right) with manager Lailin Abu Hassan at a Press Conference Friday to name his World League Semifinals players. 

WOMEN'S coach K. Dharmaraj was worried sick over his team's chances in the World League Semifinals in Brussels, but his charges' confidence was just the pill that he needed.
  Malaysia at 22 and the lowest ranked team in Brussels, have been written off by all and sundry -- except for the coaching set-up and the players themselves.
  "For the last four days, I have been worried sick on how to plan and win at least one match in our group to qualify for the quarter-finals in Belgium which will assure us a place in next year's World Cup.
  "But the jitters was calmed when my players told me "don't worry coach, we will qualify for the World Cup," said Dharmaraj after naming the final 18 who will play in the WL Semifinals from June 21 to July 2.
  Malaysia are in Group B with Australia (No 4), New Zealand (5), Belgium (14) and Spain (10).
  They must finish top-four in the group stages to qualify for the World Cup.
  In Group A are Netherlands (1), China (8), South Korea (9), Italy (16) and Scotland (17).
  "Their soothing words, determination and confidence in training is what I needed to plan ahead for at least one win in the group. I acknowledge, Australia and New Zealand are many rungs above my girls, but I believe we have enough talent to beat either Spain or Belgium," said Dharmaraj.
  With the World Cup showcasing 16 teams next year in London, those which finish top-eight in the World League Semifinals in Brussels and South Africa are almost sure bets to qualify.
  "We need to finish fourth in Group B, and even though it looks easy, it will not be so, as all the other teams have seen action at high levels while my players have qualified for the first time to play in the WL Semifinals," said Dharmaraj.
   Yesterday, Dharmaraj named his final 18 for Brussels with three changes from the team which won silver in the World League Round Two in Kuala Lumpur.
 Back then, they upset 16th ranked Italy to qualify for their first World League Semifinals.
  After Round Two Siti Shahidah Saad called it quits to concentrate on her family, and it threw a spanner in Dharmaraj's engine room.
  And after much deliberation, he selected Nur Syafiqah Zain to take over Siti's defenders job.
  Nur Syafiqah, at 22, will be making her debut with the Malaysian team. The other two replacement for injured players are Norbaini Hashim and Nur Zafirah Aziz.
  MALAYSIA -- Juliani Din, Siti Noor Amarina (C), Raja Norsharina,  Nor Hasliza, Fatin Shafika, Nurul Nabihah, Mas Huzaimah (Gk), Norazlin Sumantri, Siti Rahmah, Wan Norfaiezah Saiuti, Hanis Nadiah Onn, Farah Ayuni (Gk), Fazilla Sylverster Silin, Nuraini Rashid, Nurbaini Hashim, 
Nur Syafiqah Zain, Nuraslinda Said, Nur Zafirah Aziz.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

GB to England, six new players...

GREAT Britain will not only play under England's flag, but also has included six new players for the World League Semifinals in London on June 15-25.
   Both teams last played in the Azlan Shah Cup, and back then, Great Britain beat Malaysia 1-0 off a penalty stroke scored by Scotsman Alan Forsyth.
  Coach Stephen van Huizen's men play them second in the World League which is a qualifier for the 2018 World Cup in India.
  Forsyth will be in London, but playing for Scotland in Group B, while Welsh player Daniel Kyriakides will be out as England drop their Great title.
  England are in Group B with Malaysia, Argentina, South Korea and China. 
   "When we played Britain in the Azlan Shah Cup, we had the home advantage and solid crowd support. We will be playing at their den in London, and with six changes in the squad, I expect them to be a totally different side," said van Huizen.
  But the former Olympian is not about to give up three points to England over a cup of Twinings tea.
  "We were unlucky not to beat Britain in Ipoh as we had more chances than them, and even though the venue will be different, I believe my players will be better prepared this time around," said van Huizen.
  The major change is the inclusion of goalkeeper George Pinner who has 99 caps, as well as Harry Martin (127 caps) and Adam Dixon (156 caps) -- all three played in the Rio Olympics.
  "We will play against the England development squad two days after we arrive in London, and even though this is a totally different team, we will still get to test our rhythm against an English playing style.
  England, seventh on the world ranking, played as Great Britain in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and failed to advance to the quarter-finals stage.
  However, in the Azlan Shah Cup, Britain beat World No 2 Australia 4-3 to win the gold medal.
  "That's what they are capable off. We need to play positive hockey for the entire match because even a momentary lapse, could see us trailing and chasing the match.
  "We don't want that, as even though England are 7th while we 14th in the World, we need at least one point before we head to the Asian clashes against South Korea and finally China."
  Only the top-four teams in each group have a chance to make the World Cup, and finishing fifth is not an option.
  In Group B are Netherlands, India, Pakistan, Scotland and Canada.

Monday, June 5, 2017

A Great Wall re-built by Kim Sang Ryul...

 MALAYSIA .. Winners in Dhaka.
CHINA .. Silver medallists.

MALAYSIA'S last opponents in Group A of the World League Semifinals are China, and coach Stephen van Huizen's men can't afford to lose to the 18th ranked team in the world.
  It is most likely a do-or-die match for world No 14 Malaysia's aspiration to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, as all the other teams are much more superior in ranking.
  Opening accounts against World No 1 Argentina will be followed by hosts and world No seven England, and then 12th ranked South Korea -- and if they fail to collect any points in these three matches, they will have to smash the Great Wall of China to play in the quarter-finals.
  Only the top four teams in each group qualify for the knock-out, and finishing fifth will shut the World Cup door on van Huizen's men.
   China, after a 40-days playing and training stint in Europe under renowned consultant Kim Sang Ryul, have also marked Malaysia as their only hope for three points.
  In Group B of the World League Semifinals on June 15-25 in London are Netherlands, India, Pakistan, Scotland and Canada.
  "China have been playing and training in Europe for over a month and their last match against us was very close. We need to win this match (in London) to play in the knock-out. And since its our last group match, we can't afford to drop any point against them," said van Huizen.
  For the record, Malaysia and China last played in the World League Round Two in Dhaka and the regulation time score was 2-2 before Malaysia won the gold 5-3 on penalty shoot-out.
  And the fear-factor here is that China were leading 2-0 by the 22nd minute, and by then Malaysia had failed to score off 12 penalty corners and a penalty stroke as No 1 flicker Razie Rahim was totally off form.
  However, a late fourth quarter charge saw a change in flickers and Shahril Saabah and Najmi Jazlan score two penalty corner goals to take the match to shoot-out.
  China have named the same 18 who almost stanched the gold medal from Malaysia in Dhaka, with Du Talake the penalty corner danger-man leading the charge.
  Talake scored 10 goals in Dhaka to finish second on the top-scorers list, while the closest Malaysian was Shahril on seven.
  "That's why we need to steal at least a point from the first two matches and then win against South Korea before facing China. Otherwise, we might face a big wall of resistance from China who have roped in master coach Kim to revive their fortunes," said van Huizen.
  Kim is recognised as the man who turned South Korea's hockey fortunes around, and his players almost landed the elusive Olympic gold medal in Sydney 2000 -- but after gallantly holding Netherlands 3-3 in regulation time, they lost the shoot-out 5-4.
  And with Kim sitting on top of the Great Wall to watch over China, Malaysia need to play the best hockey of their lives on June 20 to claim the quarter-finals slot in London.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Jang the THT bogeyman...

JANG.. after beating Malaysian No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar in the Malaysia Hockey League.

NATIONAL chief coach Stephen van Huizen is in the dark about the South Korean team which will compete in the World League Semifinals in London on June 15-25.
  All he knows is that they have recalled their former penalty corner maestro Jang Jong Hyun, 33, to help them win a a spot in next years's World Cup in India.
  And this is bad news for Malaysia, as Jang has been the best performer in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) for the past two seasons representing Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) .
  South Korea are in Group A with Malaysia, China, Argentina and England while in Group B are Netherlands, India, Pakistan, Scotland and Canada.
  Jang, who has 249 caps and has played in three Olympics (2004, 2008 and 2012) while South Korea did not qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
  "The last time we played Korea was in the Asian Champions Trophy (in Kuantan) where we held them 1-1 and then won on penalty strokes. After that they disappeared from radar, and all we know is that they have recalled Jang for London," said van Huizen.
  Jang was the top scorer for THT in 2016 with 16 goals, while this season he scored 28 goals for coach Sarjit Singh's team to lift the Alagendra Cup as well as TNB Cup titles.
  "There can only be two reasons to recall Jang, as either Korea are desperate or Jang is back in top form," said van Huizen.
  The Korean, even though he was named as the best player in the Malaysia Hockey League this season, was a little overweight when he turned up for THT.
  THT coach Sarjit, a former national skipper as well as national coach, was delighted that his club's player is back with the national team, but was also a little worried for the country.
  "When we first signed Jang, he 'refused' to flick low during penalty corners as in his mind, a high drag to the top of the net was a much more glamorous goal than hitting the board or shooting at armpit level.
  "I had a tough time coaching him to drag lower, and finally, I placed two chairs to the left and right of the goalmouth and asked him to aim at them consistently.
  "And after he finally broke both the chairs, his goal scoring abilities improved," said Sarjit who had told the Korean that he can play for THT in the MHL as long as his body permits it.
  And he went on to score 22 penalty corners and six penalty stroke goals this season to help THT win two titles.
  "The worrying part is that Korea has recalled him for the World League as Jang not only knows every Malaysian national player by their nick names, he also knows their strengths and weaknesses.
  "He also knows our penalty corner-run outs and this could spell trouble.
  "On the other hand, Malaysia has many recordings on how he executes penalty corners (in the MHL) and this should held prepare our runners and goalkeeper to stop him," said Sarjit.
  Van Huizen's plan is simple -- beat China and South Korea and try to upset world No 1 Argentina and hosts England to qualify for the quarter-finals in London.
  But the inclusion of Jang has thrown a spanner in van Huizen's Plan A.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

JHL: Its Pahang v SSTMI for TNB Cup

PAHANG (MSP) Thunderbolts will play Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts in the Division One TNB Cup final on Sunday at the Tun Razak Stadium.
  Yesterday in the semi-finals, MSP Thunderbolts were held to a 3-3 draw by Anderson Thunderbolts before winning the shoot-out 4-2.
  In the second semi-finals SSTMI beat Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) Thunderbolts 3-0 with goals from Ariff Syafie (13th, 53rd) and Shello Silverius (49th).
  Pahang led 3-1 with a brace from Noor Firdaus (5th, 32nd minutes) and Idris Samad’s sixth minute penalty corner conversion before defensive blunders allowed and disciplined Anderson’s forwards to move in, the third and fourth quarters.
  Anderson, who showed League champions Petaling Jaya City Council Tigers the exit in last week’s quarter-finals, replied through Aliff Ikhemal (30th) and Akram Hakkam (38th, 51st minutes) to force the match into shootout.
  Pahang coach Sufian Mohamed said they have achieved their blueprint target since setting up the academy in 2014.
  "The bluprint for the academy in Pahang was to win our first JHL title this year and we are just one step away from achieving it. We have played SSTMI in the League and are familiar with them and have one week to get ready for the big day next Sunday," said Sufian.
 As for Anderson, coach Nizam Hashim said his players paid the price for their first quarter folly.
  "My players took it easy in the first quarter and paid the price. We were reduced to playing catching up for the remaining period," said Nizam.
  RESULTS -- Men's semi-finals: Anderson Thunderbolts 3 MSP Thunderbolts 3 (MSP win shoot-out 4-2), BJSS Thunderbolts 0 SSTMI Thunderbolts 3.
  Women's semi-finals: SSTMI 4 MSN Kedah 2, USM 1 KLSS-Wipers 3.
 Men's Final: May 21 -- MSP Thunderbolts v SSTMI Thunderbolts (Tun Razak, 8.35pm).
 Women's Final: KLSS-Wipers v SSTMI (Tun Razak, 6pm).