KUALA LUMPUR: The 1Mas Hockey Programme started as a noble project in 2010, but ended as a total waste of the RM11 million allotted to it by the previous government.
This is the opinion of Kuala Lumpur HA secretary V. Rajamanickam.
The objective of the 1Mas programme, which was scrapped last week, was to develop players who did not even know how to hold a hockey stick.
It was to widen the pool and provide structured coaching for teenagers so that they have good basic hockey skills.
The 1MAS coaching centres were supposed to act as feeders to the various state age group teams.
"But after a few years, 1Mas moved away from its objective when those who were running it found out that progress was too slow. They started to inject players from Project Schools, Sports Schools and other hockey playing schools for fast results.
"This was done to make it look good on paper and justify the money spent,” lamented Rajamanickam who has served hockey for more than two decades.
Rajamanickam has worked under many presidents and other officials who came and left in KLHA, as well as the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) who later became Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).
He has voiced out his opinions in many MHF/MHC meetings without fear or favour.
"Everything went downhill when the previous 1Mas director, Lim Chiow Chuan, revamped it after three years. I wrote a letter to 1Mas about the pitfalls that came with the revamp, but I never received a reply from anyone,” said Rajamanickam.
“The revamp further fuelled the need to include more established players, to get higher rewards and salaries.
1Mas centres were re-categorised from Class One to Four, with Class One being for the best performers and Class Four for the poorest.
Chiow Chuan had said in November, 2013 that the classification of centres would determine the amount of allowance payable to coaches and support staff. This meant that a well-run centre, which achieved its objective, would get better funding, Rajamanickam added: "Coaches were getting paid double, as some were also involved in 1Mas and Project School, as well as other development projects run by MHC.
”It became a race to make 1Mas centres look good and earn more money, and everybody forgot about the orignial objectives — to help those who do not know how to play hockey and widen the base of social as well as club players.
“And now, the MHC want to plan for a similar programme with a new name.
"I hope they do not make the same mistakes and waste not only money, but also one generation of players who ended up neither here nor there. This time there must be more accountability," said Rajamanickam.
Sports Journalist with the New Straits Times since 1994.
My main beat is field hockey, so this blog will have stories that I have written for the NST, as well as hockey news from around the globe. There will be regular updates. I was also the Secretary General of the National Press Club, Malaysia for three terms (six years).