Monday, March 19, 2018
Pic: Kirandeep Kaur
KUALA LUMPUR: The National Under-16 hockey tournament is a platform where new talent is supposed to be discovered, while established players impress selectors further.
But this year, an established player was not selected while eighteen boys and eighteen girls from Kedah became victims -- both due to administration issues.
Kirandeep Kaur, has over the years, won many accolades at school, zone and state levels for having the winning touch, as well as being more matured and skillful than her age-group.
At 14, she scored the winning goal in the Under-16 last year. Kuala Lumpur beat Sabah 4-3 thanks to her super fourth goal.
That is not all, national women's chief coach K. Dharmaraj as well as Technical Director Terry Walsh are impressed with her skills and are only waiting for her to grow up before they include her in their plans.
But the 15-year-old became a victim of administration, when it seems there was a mix-up of selection dates, as well as changes in coach and manager -- and she missed the opportunity to play for her state.
In an age where social media groups can inform targeted people where and what time to meet inside seconds, Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association (KLHA) should utilise it to inform parents when and where selections will be done.
KLHA have been utilising social media for some time now, and maybe there was a hiccup this time around. It needs to be looked into.
And then the missed bus story from Kedah Hockey Association (KHA).
Whatever the excuse, KHA failed to do their job well even though the blame was on a bus which broke down, followed by money issues which saw 36 children miss the opportunity of their lives.
They had trained hard and were looking forward to this opportunity to travel to Kuala Lumpur and play at the Natioanl Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
For Kuala Lumpur and Selangor children, its easy to play the the stadium which has hosted many international events including the 2002 World Cup.
But for some kid from Kedah, it might have been his/her only chance to play at the coveted venue as well as a stepping stone to represent the state more often -- be noticed by selectors and represent Malaysia at the Olympics and World Cup in the next decade.
Yes, it all begins at the Under-16 level.
If Sabah, Sarawak, Johor, Kelantan and Terengganu can find the money to travel and house their players in Kuala Lumpur for nine days, there is no excuse for KHA not to be able to provide the same for their players.
If Kedah Hockey Team can find the money to hire six foreign players for their Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) campaign this year, KHA should also have done their sponsorship rounds for children.
But if KHA continue neglecting age-group development, in the end, they will have to hire more Pakistan and other players to form a team.
That will be penny wise pound foolish, or like the Malay proverb 'Kera di hutan disusukan tetapi anak di pangkuan mati kelaparan.'
As for KLHA, they should have a meeting with the affected party to sort out matters, for helping to nurture good players will look good on their development dossier.