Thursday, May 3, 2007

Johor and KL final


THE National Juniors played the match of their lives, but lack of
experience saw them losing 6-3 to Kuala Lumpur in the semi-finals of the
Razak Cup at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
Johor beat Perak 2-1 in the other semi-finals but are expected to play
for the silver on Wednesday as KL will be difficult to beat.
Seventy minutes of entertaining hockey was played by a determined
Juniors side, with patches of brilliance which caught the more experienced
Kuala Lumpur side with their pants down.
But with former skipper Nor Saiful Zaini and current international Amin
Rahim at the backline, and Roslan Jamaluddin between the posts, the young
strikers faced a daunting task of getting into the semi-circle.
Kuala Lumpur scored a soft goal in the fifth minute after Chua Boon Huat
dribbled past three defenders and passed the ball to an unmarked Nishel
Kumar to catch goalkeeper Hanafi Hassan off his position.
The Juniors never let up the pressure and their forays into the KL semi-
circle became bolder, and only the lack of experience stood between them
and the equaliser.
And in the 14th minute, Chua scored KL's second and the fans who got the
impression that the match was over, were shocked to see the fighting
spirit displayed by the Juniors.
Good passing between Jiva Mohan and P. Prabhakaran took the ball deep
into the KL semi-circle but Roslan stood his ground and palmed the ball
dangerously, resulting in a penalty corner.
Juniors perfected a suberb set-piece and the ball was deflected in by
Fakhrulrazi Baharuddin in the 32nd minute.
With the gap narrowed, the Juniors came back after the breather fighting
and every time a Kuala Lumpur player got the ball, three Juniors were on
hin in a flash.
In the entire match, the Juniors only made three backpasses because they
were busy moving upfront, even when they were 6-2 down.
KL took the opportunity of an understrengthed Juniors backline to score
their third goal off the run.
This time, Fairus Ramli did the damage in the 45th minute. And three
minutes later, the Juniors were in deeper trouble when Tajol Rosli scored
a reverse stick goal.
The Juniors kept pushing and in the 49th minute, they again narrowed the
gap to 4-2 with a field goal from Fairuz Hamsani.
KL, with the entire national team in their stable, kept their cool and
surged ahead with goals from M. Kaliswaran (62nd) and Tajol (65th).
And as the horn blew, the Juniors were awarded a penalty corner which
was converted by Redzuan Nasir for a final score of 6-3.
KL HA president Tan Sri Noordin Hassan, who sat at the bench in the
capacity of team manager, praised the young boys.
"They played extremely well today (yesterday). Their fitness level was
excellent and they played well as a team," said Noordin.
National Juniors coach Stephen van Huizen was still not happy with their
fitness level, but praised them for playing an excellent match eventhough
the odds were heavily stacked against them.
"They played well as a team, but towards the last 10 minutes, they
looked a bit tired and I will work to improve their fitness," said
There was consensus among the officials and fans who watched the match,
that the National Juniors are an exciting side and many can't wait for
them to grow up.
In the second semi-finals, Johor overcame a gritty Perak side 2-1
eventhough they did not play as well as they did in the group matches.
The Johor goals were scored by Arul Selvaraj (12th) and Lee Sien Lam
(38th) who converted a penalty stroke after Perak player K. Gobinathan
made a dangerous clearance while defending a penalty corner.
Johor's Saiful Azli handed Perak their goal on a silver platter when he
kicked the ball in the semi-circle and the umpire awarded Perak a penalty
corner which was converted by Abdul Hadi Adam in the 47th minute.

Van Huizen: Youngsters should be given more time to mature


THE National Juniors, with an average age of 17, have shown good character
in the on-going Razak Cup, but lack of experience has seen them throw away
two matches.
Against Armed Forces, they were down 2-0 but came back to pull off a
draw but Kedah taught them a lesson by coming back from 2-0 down to force
a draw.
The Juniors have the basics, their passing and stopping is excellent but
there seems to be no game plan in their attack, and they rely too much on
penalty corners for goals.
Juniors coach Stephen van Huizen, though reluctant to admit it, should
know by now that the Juniors lack experience and were afraid to win the
ball in 50-50 situations as their opponents were not only physically
stronger, but also robust to a certain extent.
"Experience was the main reason why we fielded them in the Razak Cup,
knowing very well that their opponents might not have the speed, but have
experience and physical strength with them," said van Huizen.
Van Huizen is handling a side which, with minimal changes, will be
playing in the 2005 Junior World Cup qualifiers, and are the future faces
of Malaysian hockey after the present batch of national players retire.
Several veteran hockey officials who watched them play feel that they
should be exposed to playing more matches against State sides.
When the idea of hosting State triangulars for the benefit of the
Juniors were put forward to Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary,
he was of the same opinion.
"The States have shown that they are capable of giving the National
Juniors stiff opposition, so the idea of hosting weekend triangles to
expose them further could be explored," said S. Satgunam.
Not only is the opposition capable, but it would also be more cost
effective to send the National Juniors to States, rather than overseas for
By hosting the triangulars, not only the Juniors will benefit, but the
States would also have someting extra to look forward to in their hockey
The Juniors are too young to be fielded as a team in the next Junior
League, because "they will get mauled," said van Huizen.
"It is too early to field them in the Junior League as the opposition
will gobble them up. They must be allowed to mature slowly, so that their
confidence is not battered," said van Huizen.
Eight players from the National Juniors have had the exposure of playing
in an FIH age-group tournament in Poland, Poznan, where they beat Germany
3-1 for the gold. And with a little push in the right direction, winning
medals in the Olympics and World Cup might become a reality in 10 years

KL thrash Penang


KUALA Lumpur advanced to the semi-finals of the Razak Cup from Group A
when they brushed aside Penang 6-0 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit
Jalil last night.
In Group B, Johor made the semis when they drew 1-1 with the National
Kuala Lumpur have nine points from three wins and meet Perak today, with
the outcome almost pre-dictable, as KL are the national team in disguise.
KL coach K. Rajan has the luxury of picking his best from the bench and
yesterday fielded the cream of the lot as Penang gave them little
In the first half, KL had Roslan Jamaludin between the posts and when he
got bored swatting flies, S. Kumar was sent in the second half.
The KL goals were scored by Tajol Rosli (fifth), hat-trick by Amin Rahim
(19th, 39th, 47th), Chua Boon Huat (39th) and Fairus Ramli (70th).
In the other Group A match, Selangor scraped past Malacca 2-1 to keep
alive their hopes of snatching the second semis ticket.
Selangor did not perform to expectations yesterday and missed too many
chances, and almost allowed Malacca to make a late comeback with a 60th
minute goal.
Both the Selangor goals were scored by Adrian Richard Doss in the 32nd
and 56th minute penalty corners while skipper Azrul Effandy Bistaman
replied for Malacca.
Perak are tied with Selangor on six points in Group A but they face KL
in their last match today and it will be the biggest upset of the Razak
Cup if Perak win and deny Selangor a semis birth on goal difference.
In Group B, Negri Sembilan made a surge towards the semi-finals when
they beat Pahang 3-0 with goals from A. Nagarajan (40th), G. Vijayan
(57th) and Lailin Abu Hassan (70th).
Negri have seven points from two wins, one draw and one defeat and their
fate will be decided when they play the National Juniors today.
Johor made it to the semi-finals from Group B when they held the Juniors
to a 1-1 draw in the last match of the day.
Johor scored first off a Saiful Azli goal in the 27th minute and the Ju-
niors found the equaliser through skipper Azlan Misron in the 57th minute.
Juniors and Negri will battle for the last semis slot in their group.
Today: Armed Forces v Pahang (4pm, pitch 1); Johor v Kedah (5.30pm,
pitch 2); Perak v Kuala Lumpur (6pm, pitch 1); Penang v Selangor (8pm,
pitch 2); Negri Sembilan v Juniors (8.15pm, pitch 2).
Selangor 2 Malacca 1
K Lumpur 6 Penang 0
N Sembilan 3 Pahang 0
Juniors 1 Johor 1
Kedah 2 Forces 3

Alagendra retains hot seat


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) elections yesterday reflected a
split among the States, and the losers were vice-president Datuk Seri
Manap Ibrahim and treasurer S. Perampalam.
President Sultan Azlan Shah was returned unopposed.
Manap was the only incumbent vice-president to be shown the door and in
his place, Kuala Lumpur HA vice-president Dr S.S Cheema was voted in.
Perampalam was defeated by George Koshy 21 votes to 17.
Although there were no changes in the old guard, there seemed to be a
shift in the mood of the affiliates, with incumbent deputy president Tan
Sri P. Alagendra given a tough fight for the number two post by Tan Sri
Elyas Omar. Alagendra got 22 votes while Elyas received 16. In fact, the
pattern showed that nine votes from the incumbents had helped Alagendra
secure the seat as eight States had thrown their weight behind Elyas.
The total votes should have been 39, as the Armed Forces and 14 States
casted two votes each, with nine coming from the incumbents.
However, Sarawak were only represented by their secretary Amar Singh as
their second delegate did not arrive because of miscommunication.
Three other incumbents, vice-presidents Datuk Abdul Bashir Majid (25
votes), Datuk Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid (24) and Roy Rajasingam (21) were
voted in.
Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh took the reserved fifth vice-presidency, a
seat rotated between Sabah and Sarawak.
Incumbent secretary S. Satgunam whipped his challenger Mohamed Zaki
Abdul Rahman by 16 votes, polling 27 votes.
Immediately after the elections, president Sultan Azlan Shah issued a
warning to the office bearers.
"The first step we will take is to decide on the date for the next
elections, which must be held latest by July 31, 2004. There should be no
more excuses to delay the Biennial General Meeting," said Sultan Azlan
Penang's proposal to amend the constitution to enable the formation of
an independent umpires board and to limit the term of office bearers to
four terms was dismissed by Sultan Azlan Shah.
"Let's not rush into things, we can discuss these matters in our next
council meting which I suggest be held on Nov 9.
"The States will have more time to discuss and nominate who they want
for the various sub-committees and we can also discuss the independent
umpires board and the proposal to limit the term of office bearers," said
Sultan Azlan Shah.
The delegates agreed with the proposal and Alagendra assured that a
committee to study and amend the constitution will be formed.
The three MHF trustees appointed yesterday were Sultan Azlan Shah,
Alagendra and Bashir. The appointments of three Independent Delegates were
postponed to Nov 9.
"I assure you that it will not be a one man show. A committee will be
appointed to discuss amendments to the constitution, and we will appoint
suitable candidates to chair the various committees because we want people
who can work," said Alagendra.
The tone has been set for a more dynamic MHF, and if the promises are
kept, hockey in the country should receive a new lease of life.

Johor beat Pahang for semis


JOHOR are virtually assured of a semi-final berth from Group B when they
beat a gritty Pahang side 2-0 in the Razak Cup at the National Hockey
Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
It was Johor's third win for a maximum of nine points, with two matches
in hand - against National Juniors and Kedah.
The Johor goals were scored by Arul Selvaraj in the 10th minute and
Robert Alacantara in the 14th. Pahang fought bravely after being two-goals
down, but luck was not on their side as they hit the posts several times.
In an earlier match, the Juniors were a big letdown yesterday when they
were held to a 2-2 draw by Kedah, a team comprising several ageing
Although the Juniors took an early two-goal lead, they could not sustain
the pace and the end result was hard to swallow.
Eight players in the Juniors side played in the FIH Youth tournament in
Poznan and returned home with the gold after beating Germany 3-1, but
yesterday they looked like lost lambs.
Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi scored for the Juniors in the second minute
and by the 10th, Mohamed Reduan Nasir made it 2-0. But after taking the
lead, the Juniors took things for granted as Kedah were slow in the chase
for the ball.
To the Juniors surprise, Kedah proved them wrong with a gritty
performance in the second half. Players such as 40-year-old Edwin Lambert,
Manjit Singh (38) and Satis Kumar (35), took control of the match and in
the 43rd minute, Mohamed Marzuki scored a penalty corner goal to close the
And 10 minutes later, Kedah drew level when Marzuki scored the
With the draw, the Juniors have five points and must beat Johor and
Negri Sembilan to make the semi-finals.
Juniors coach Stephen Van Huizen was lost for words after the match.
"They played badly today (yesterday) and paid dearly for it. Now they
must beat Johor and Negri Sembilan, both tough sides, and qualify on
In the second match, Negri Sembilan defeated Armed Forces 2-1 to stay in
the hunt for a spot in the semis.
Negri took a 2-0 lead with goals from G. Vijayan (ninth) and Suhaimi
Ibrahim (20th) but almost lost the match after a fight broke out in the
50th minute. Negri player Hasnizan Ah Sin was kicked and punched by
Forces' Nor Fauzlee but umpires D. Suppiah and Jagjit Singh, after a brief
discussion, flashed the yellow card to both payers.
Forces pulled one back in the 57th minute, but Negri held on for the
three points.
Today: Selangor v Malacca (4pm, pitch 1); Kuala Lumpur v Penang (5.30pm,
pitch 2); Negri Sembilan v Pahang (6pm, pitch 1); Juniors v Johor (8pm,
pitch 2); Kedah v Forces (8.15pm, pitch 1). Results
Juniors 2 Kedah 2; Negri 2 Forces 1; Johor 2 Pahang 0.

Bring about change, MHF


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) elections today is a foregone
conclusion for some positions, except for the vice-president's posts.
And this augurs well for the development of the sport because it is no
secret that the incumbent vice-presidents, who headed vital committees,
were sleeping on the job.
The technical and development committee, headed by Roy Rajasingam, the
schools committee chaired by Datuk Seri Jen (r) Manap Ibrahim and the
Competitions Committee which was headed by Datuk Abdul Jalil Majid have
done little or nothing to take the sport to the next level - meaning more
than just qualifying for the World Cup and Olympics.
The only way to see hockey on the podium, in a few years is to vote in
fresh vice-presidents to revive the dead committees.
There should also be changes in secretaries of sub-committees.
The Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) have made it known that they
have not been receiving any co-operation from the MHF on how to develop
the sport at the grassroots.
The schools committee had been sleeping on the matter, and only recently
an agreement was struck between the two bodies beginning with a nationwide
youth umpire programme.
MSSM secretary general Adnan Ibrahim and hockey coordinator Mohd Zarawwi
Abdullah hope it will be a continuous joint-effort because from
experience, they know that previous ventures initiated by the MHF which
involved schools had failed as the MHF Schools Committee never got back,
or checked on its progress after launching such programmes.
The umpires are also expected to get a better deal after the elections
as the present MHF Umpires Board chairman V. Kulasingam is expected to get
the sack for being ineffective.
Sabah HA president Datuk Ghapur Salleh is the only vice-president
assured of a post as his appointment is a reserved seat rotated between
Sabah and Sarawak.
But the other four incumbents are expected to fight for positions.
Intense lobbying took place over the past week and going by verbal
commitments from States, Dr S.S. Cheema will win one of the seats.
The other favourites are Johor HA president Datuk Suleiman Mohamed Noor
and Selangor HA vice-president Datuk Mansor Jaafar.
Cheema, Kuala Lumpur HA vice-president, has been successfully running
the lively Kuala Lumpur League, and almost all States are keen to have him
in the parent body.
Cheema is currently the secretary in the MHF medical committee and also
the president of the Malaysian-Singapore Sikh Sports Council.
The word is that the incumbent vice-presidents who will not get another
term are Roy Rajasingam, Jalil and Manap.
Datuk Bashir Majid, a corporate man who has helped the MHF on the quiet,
is the only incumbent vice-president who might get re-elected.
Incumbent president Sultan Azlan Shah will be returned unopposed as the
other contenders - Sultan Ahmad Shah, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, Tan
Sri Elyas Omar and Datuk Abu Bakar Daud - have gracefully withdrawn from
the race.
Tan Sri P. Alagendra is expected to be re-elected as deputy president
although a fight can be expected from Elyas who hosted an eleventh-hour
dinner last night to strengthen his position among the fence-sitting
S. Satgunam is a sure bet to retain his secretary's post in light of his
10 nominations from Armed Forces, Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negri
Sembilan, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak and Selangor.
In contrast his challenger Mohamed Zaki Abdul Rahman only received
backing from Kuala Lumpur.
For the treasurer's post, incumbent S. Perampalam will receive stiff
challenge from George Koshy.
Who will eventually win is still hazy as most States are in two minds -
whether to retain the old guard who almost caused the MHF to be deemed as
an illegal body because he allowed two States which did not pay
affiliation fees to vote in the 1999 elections, or to install a
professional accountant.
But it's learnt that the MHF would like to have an accountant handling
their financial affairs this time around.
Probable line-up:
President - Sultan Azlan Shah.
Deputy President - Tan Sri P. Alagendra.
Vice-Presidents: Datuk Ghapur Salleh, Datuk Bashir Majid, Datuk Suleiman
Mohamed Noor, Dr S.S Cheema, Datuk Mansor Jaafar.
Secretary: S. Satgunam.
Treasurer: George Koshy.

Selangor put Perak's hopes on hold


SELANGOR dashed Perak's hopes of becoming the first team to qualify for
the semi-finals of the Razak Cup at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit
Jalil yesterday.
Perak, with six points from two consecutive wins, had only themselves to
blame as they relied too much on penalty corners and paid dearly for it.
Now they face the daunting task of beating Kuala Lumpur in their last
group a match if they want to reach the semi-finals as Selangor have a
better chance with easier opponents in Malacca on Sunday and Penang on
Monday to qualify for the last four.
The top spot in Group A naturally belongs to Kuala Lumpur which is made
up of almost all the national players who won bronze at the recent Asian
Games in Busan.
Perak relied heavily on K. Gobinathan, who has scored five penalty
corner goals in their last two matches, but Selangor played a clever game
and restricted Perak to only one penalty corner in the first half which
was stopped by goalkeeper Mohamed Firdaus Ramli.
There was plenty of action in the first half, but most of it was
concentrated in the middle of the field as both sides failed to use the
flanks to break free.
In the second half, Perak received eight penalty corners and Selangor
goalkeper Firdaus was in sterling form to stop every attempt made by
Gobinathan and Mohamed Hadi.
Perak became desperate and in the fifth penalty corner, they even tried
out a variation where Hadi stopped the ball away from Gobinathan, who
was the target of Selangor runners in all the previous penalty corners,
and took the hit himself, but the ball went wide.
Selangor became more deadly in their attack and in the 47th minute, a
cross from Mohamed Redaza was connected home by Mohamed Faizal after which
Selangor packed their defence and managed to defend their slim lead for
the next 23 minutes.
"The strongest team in our group was Kuala Lumpur and we were fortunate
to have met them in our first match. although we lost 5-1 to Kuala Lumpur
I knew we still have a good chance of making the semi-finals if we beat
Perak today (yesterday) so we devised a strategy to restrict penalty
corners because Perak did not have god forwards and relied only on penalty
corners for goals.
"The strategy worked and now we have two more matches in hand to qualify
for the semis," said Selangor stand-in manager Joseph de Silva.
Joseph attributed their tight defending to his young goalkeeper Mohamed
Firdaus Ramli.
"Firdaus played a superb match today (yesterday) and saved more than
eight point-blank shots to hand us the three points. We have two good
goalkeepers and I tried out Saiful Azhar in the match against Kuala Lumpur
and he too played well to keep the score low," said Joseph.
Perak coach Manjit Singh was naturally disappointed with the outcome but
said they will try their best to topple Kuala Lumpur.
"We threw away a chance to make the semi-finals today (yesterday) but we
still have one more match against Kuala Lumpur. Although it will be an
uphill battle for the entire 70 minutes, we will give our best shot. Who
knows, maybe the other teams in the group might do us a favour," said
In the other match Malacca shocked Penang 5-1 with goals from Khairudin
Ghani (20th), Ahmad Anuar (24th, 49th), Mihardy Nawawi (45th, 59th). The
Penang goal was scored by Atul Kumar in the 11th minute.
Today (all matches at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil): Kedah
v National Juniors (4pm, pitch 1), Armed Forces v Negri Sembilan (6pm,
pitch 1), Johor v Pahang (8pm, pitch 1).
Tomorow: Selangor v Malacca (4pm, pitch 1), Kuala Lumpur v Penang
(5.30pm, pithc 2), Negri Sembilan v Pahang (6pm, pitch 1), National
JUniors v Johor sapm, pitch 2), Kedah v Armed Forces (8.15pm, pitch 1).

Forces surprise National Juniors


NATIONAL Juniors were taught an important lesson for taking Armed Forces
for granted, when they were held to a 2-2 draw in their Razak Cup match at
the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Armed Forces, thrashed 8-0 by Johor the previous day, shocked the
Juniors with a first minute penalty corner goal through Mohamed Nor Saad.
And after 10 minutes of pinning their opponents down in their
semicircle, Sulaiman Bujang scored a field goal, and it looked like the
Juniors were in for a hammering.
But the boys kept their cool under tremendous pressure to make a
comeback with a 29th minute goal. Redzuan Nasir scored off a penalty
corner to narrow the gap.
The face-saving equaliser came through Azlan Misron in the 51st minute.
"It was a good lesson for the boys not to take any team for granted.
They played badly in the first 10 minutes and paid with being down two
goals. But I am hapy with their character because they fought back and
secured a draw which could take us into the semifinals," said Juniors
coach Stephen van Huizen.
In the other match, Negri Sembilan were easily the better side yesterday
but Johor collected three points in the last three minutes of the match to
keep alive their target of finishing third.
But after 35 minutes of running around in the afternoon heat, the ageing
stars of Johor Sarjit Singh, Lim Chiow Chuan and K. Dharmaraj started to
gasp and pant.
Negri's Syayrim Uda Karim gave them the lead in the 51st minute and it
looked like Johor were in for a drubbing.
But in the last three minutes, two mistakes by 19-year-old Malaysia
Games player Mahendran Thevar handed Johor the win on a silver platter.
The first was when Johor lost the ball in the left flank in the 68th
minute to Lee who took a shot from outside the semircle, but just as the
ball was harmlesly travelling into goal, Mahendran stopped it for Johor's
Lim to score the equaliser.
And in the 69th minute, Mahendran stopped the ball on the right side of
the goalmouth, dragged it along the goalline and all Johor's Lee had to do
was jab it into the goalmouth.
Perak won their second match yesterday, beating Malacca 3-2. The Perak
hat-trick hero was national player K. Gobinatha who scored of penalty
corners in the third, 39th and 41st minutes. The Malacca goals were scored
by Abdul Hadi Adam and Mohamed Nor Othman (66th).
In the last match, Kuala Lumpur hammered Selangor 5-1 with goals from
Amin Rahim (6th), M. Kaliswaran (16th), Nor Saiful Zaini (28th, 49th) and
Faizal Daud (37th). The Selangor goal was scored by K. Givanathan
Today - Perak v Selangor (4pm, pitch 1), Penang v Malacca (6pm, pitch
Tomorrow: Kedah v National Juniors (4pm, pitch 1), Armed Forces v Negri
Sembilan (6pm, pitch 1), Johor v Pahang (8pm, pitch 1). RESULTS
Johor 2 Negri 1; Malacca 2 Perak 3; Nat Juniors 2 Forces 2; Pahang 0
Kedah 0; Selangor 1 KL 5.

Juniors off to winning start


THE National Juniors got off to a rousing start in their first Razak Cup
match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday when they
beat Pahang 4-1.
The scoreline was not very impressive, but Juniors are the future and
the future of Malaysian hockey should look brighter as they mature.
There was a promising show of discipline in the Juniors, who looked very
much at home, shrugged off the first 10 minutes of jitters when they were
presented with a penalty stroke in the 15th minute.
Jiva Mohan flicked from the spot to beat Pahang goalkeeper Ahmad Bazli
Razali on the right side for the lead.
The weak link in the Pahang defence was M. Thevadas and upon resumption,
the Juniors mounted a fast attack with Fairuz Hamsani and Izwan Hassan
completing a swift one-two for Izwan to slot home their second goal.
In the 24th minute, a cross from the 25-yardline found Juniors' Hanafi
Hassan un-marked in the semi-circle facing Bazli.
Hanafi turned around and fired a reverse stick goal in the 24th minute
to consolidate the Juniors' position.
The Juniors got their fourth goal just be-fore the break when Azlan
Misron fired home for a 4-0 cushion at half-time.
After the breather, Pahang substituted their goalkeeper Bazli for
Mahathir Thayin who held on well to fend off a series of at-tacks.
Mahathir even palmed off a few point blank shots to keep the score low,
as the Juniors kept up the pressure for more goals.
The beauty about the match yesterday was that none of the players made
protests, though some of the umpire's decisions were doubtful.
This showed that the Juniors are more mature than their seniors, who are
known to protest whenever provided with the slightest opportunity.
Juniors defenders Engku Abdul Malke and Jivan also deserve special
mention because they were rock solid. Their passes were accurate and the
forwards could mount swift counter-attacks with deft balls from the duo.
But in the 50th minute, the Juniors finally cracked when Pahang were
awarded a penalty corner. Islahudin Ideris took a direct shot which
sounded the board.
The goal lifted Pahang for a few minutes but the Juniors didn't take
their feet of the pedal, mounting more daring attacks.
In the 60th minute, they executed a superb penalty corner set-piece and
the ball went crashing into the net after a deflection from Jiva.
However, the umpire disallowed the goal because the ball was not stopped
dead by the stopper. There were no protests.
Pahang defender Thevadas played much better in the second half to keep
the deficit low, despite the Juniors trying from all angles.
"We did not play well in the second half and this has to be addressed if
we want to finish well in this tournament," said Juniors' coach Stephen
Van Huizen.
Penang 0 Perak 2
Negri Sembilan 1 Kedah 1
Kuala Lumpur 9 Malacca 0
Johor 8 Armed Forces 1

Pahang gain trio


THREE national juniors will be playing against their team-mates in the
Razak Cup which starts today at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit
The National Juniors loss became Pahang's gain when registration closed
yesterday, but Juniors coach Stephen van Huizen was not disappointed with
the outcome.
The National Juniors team was named one month in advance so that the
rest of the states will not name them in their squads, but the move back-
fired when the under-16 tournament in Bangladesh was postponed to next
"Khairul Hisham, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and Ahmad Bazli were initially
supposed to play in the Bangladesh tournament this week so we did not name
them in the Razak Cup side.
"But the Bangladesh tournament was postponed to next year and the
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) told us to stick to the old team list
because to change it now will cause confusion," said van Huizen.
Tengku Ahmad was named as the Player-Of-The-Tournament in the FIH Junior
Carnival in Poznan, Poland where Malaysia lifted the gold by beating
Germany 3-1 in the final. Bazli was named as the most promising goalkeeper
in Poznan, while Khairul was also a key player who won Malaysia the junior
"I am actually glad that Pahang picked up the trio because they will
still get the experience of playing in the Razak Cup. They are all under-
16 players and it would have been a waste if they were sidelined because
the Bangladesh tournament was postponed," said van Huizen.
Today, the trio could play a vital role with Pahang to demolish the
National Juniors as Tengku Ahmad is among the best junior strikers in the
country while Ahmad Bazli is fast shaping up into a steady hand between
the posts.
Eleven teams will be taking part in the Razak Cup and most of the States
have a combination of old and youth.
Former national players and ageing stars are still in demand because all
the states, except for Negri Sembilan and Kuala Lumpur do not have an
active domestic league to unerth talent.
Former household names like Lailin Abu Hassan and Kerpal Singh (playing
for Negri Sembilan), Timothy Lopez (Malacca), Atul Kumar (Penang), R.
Shankar (Selangor), Nor Saiful Zaini (Kuala lumpur) and former national
skipper Sarjit Singh and Lee Sien Lam (Johor) have been roped in by the
states to `strenghten' their quest.
But even before the first match, Kuala Lumpur are highly touted to lift
the gold because they have signed-up almost the entire national squad
which won the bronze medal in the Busan Asian Games.
But Kuala Lumpur have been shaky in the four practice matches they have
played so far and could struggle in the first match against Malacca today,
but it will be hard to deny them the three points in the second half as
they have a deadly penalty corner team.
And once they pick up steam, and recover from Asian Games celebrations,
the title is all but theirs.
FIXTURES (all matches at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil) -
Today: Penang v Perak (4pm, pitch 1), Negri Sembilan v Kedah (5.30pm,
pitch 2), Kuala Lumpur v Malacca (6pm, pitch 1), Johor v Armed Forces
(8pm, pitch 2), National Juniors V Pahang (8.15, pitch 1).
Tomorrow: Negri Sembilan v Johor (4pm, pitch 1), Malacca v Perak
(5.30pm, pitch 2), National Juniors v Armed Forces (6pm, pitch 1), Pahang
v Kedah (8pm, pitch 2), Selangor v Kuala Lumpur (8.15, pitch 1).
Friday: Perak v Selangor (4pm, pitch 1), Penang v Malacca (6pm, pitch

Penang look to Logan, Keevan


THE Penang Razak Cup team lost one set of brothers, but the other set is
equally good to take them into the final.
Penang Razak Cup assistant team manager S. Sanjilatheeban said yesterday
that since Kuala Lumpur have managed to draw the cream of Malaysian
hockey, Penang will be playing for the silver medal.
"We have secured the services of K. Logan Raj and his brother Keevan,
but M. Jiwa Mohan and his brother Jiva will be playing for other states
eventhough they grew up and made a name by playing with us," said
Jiwa Mohan was seen attending trials with Kuala Lumpur, who received
such a tremendous response from the national players that they have
decided only to name their squad today.
Among the notable names, who just saw action in the Busan Asian Games,
seen at the Kuala Lumpur trials were Chua Boon Huat, AMin Rahim,
goalkeepers Roslan Jamaluddin and S. Kumar, Azlan Misron, Madzli Ikmar and
Norazlan Rahim.
Former players Nor Zaiful Zaini and M. Kaliswaran also attended KL
trials and so did Tajol Rosli and Nor Azlan Bakar who took a year's break
from national duty to concentrate on studies.
The Razak Cup begins on Wednesday, which means there will be a mad
scramble among states, except for Penang, to secure some of the Kuala
Lumpur discards as the managers meeting to finalise the team list is
"Jiva Mohan has been named in the national juniors so we lost out on
another of our home grown talent. But we have named a balanced side which
is capable of lifting the Razak Cup silver," said Sanjilatheeban.
National striker Rodhanizam Radzi is the other notable name secured by
Penang: "We do not have stars in our team but all of them have seen action
at the international and the junior league level.
"The Penang team has enough match experience to go the distance
eventhough we have not been training as a team for long as most of the
players either had study or national duty commitments," said
Penang will be coached by Harjit Singh while the manager is Prakash

Sultan Azlan stays


SULTAN Azlan Shah (pic) will be returned unopposed as president of the
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) on Saturday.
The MHF held its council meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday and Sultan
Azlan Shah, who had officially written his intention to not seek re-
election earlier, had a change of heart and said he would contest.
With his announcement, he will win the post unopposed as his challengers
have made it known that they will not stand if Sultan Azlan Shah decides
to stay on.
"Sultan Azlan Shah made it known today (yesterday) that since all the
other challengers have backed out from the race, he will continue leading
the Federation," said MHF secretary S. Satgunam.
Sultan Azlan Shah started off as deputy president to the late Tun Abdul
Razak in the 1970-1972 term and became the president of MHF in 1981,
taking over from Tun Hussein Onn.
During the Munich Olympics in 1972, he served as team manager of the
national hockey team and through his efforts the country hosted the World
Cup twice - in 1975 and 2002.
"We need his guidance to take Malaysian hockey to the next level, and
since he has made it known that he wants to continue leading hockey, we
expect him to be returned unopposed next week," said Satgunam.
But Satgunam will make sure that the names of the other presidential
candidates will be on the ballot papers because they have not written in
officially to say that they have pulled out of the race.
"Even though we have received verbal retractions from States who have
nominated candidates for the president's post, I will still have to
prepare the ballot papers with their names on it because they have not
sent in official retractions yet.
"The States can send in retractions right up till balloting day so I
don't forsee any problems," said Satgunam.
When nominations closed, Sultan Azlan Shah received backing from Armed
Forces, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.
The other nominations for the president's post were Sultan Ahmad Shah
(Pahang, Penang), Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (Kelantan), Tan Sri Elyas
Omar (Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan) and Datuk Abu Bakar Daud (Terengganu).
Sultan Ahmad Shah, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and Elyas quit the race
on Friday while Abu Bakar also declined nomination yesterday after finding
out that Sultan Azlan Shah is keen to stay on.
With Sultan Azlan Shah back in the running, several other incumbents are
also expected to be returned to office during the Biennial General
Deputy president Tan Sri P. Alagendra was expected to face a tough fight
from Elyas and Datuk Ahmad Itnin, but with Sultan Azlan Shah still the
leader, Alagendra has already won half the battle.
Satgunam, who received 10 nominations from Armed Forces, Johor, Kedah,
Kelantan, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak and Selangor
should have no problems defeating Mohamed Zaki Abdul Rahman who was
nominated by Kuala Lumpur.
Treasurer S. Perampalam has also received a boost with Sultan Azlan
Shah's return and the States might throw their weight behind an old hand
rather than his challenger George Koshy.

Malaysia far from ready for Razak Cup


THE National Juniors squad was named a month ago, but due to technical
glitches, they have yet to train as a team. And now, it looks like there
may be more changes before the Razak Cup starts on Wednesday.
Juniors coach Stephen van Huizen said yesterday that they might not have
the services of some of the 18 players picked due to year-end
"We named the junior squad for the Razak Cup one month in advance to
give ample notice to State teams who might have been interested in them.
But it looks like we might have to make a few adjustments because of study
commitments," said van Huizen.
"Some of the players - Mohamed Sufian, Fakhrulrazi Baharuddin and Ismail
Abu - are currently sitting for their examinations and we will only know
their status a day before the Razak Cup begins.
"That is why we have placed some of those not selected earlier on
standby," said van Huizen.
Suprisingly, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin's name was missing from the list.
Tengku was named as the Player-Of-The-Tournament in the FIH World Youth
Festival in Poznan, Poland where he helped Malaysia beat Germany 3-1 in
the final.
"Tengku and four other players who won the Poznan gold are on standby
and if any of the 18 named earlier can't make it due to studies or
injuries, we will include them," said Stephen.
The national juniors, who are part of the 2005 Project Team, have a good
side but the best that they can look forward to is a silver medal in the
Razak Cup.
Kuala Lumpur, going by the turnout for their trials on Thursday, should
win the title hands down.
"The juniors are in it for the exposure only, so I will not be expecting
results from them. I am more interested in how they play as a team, and
how they cope playing against more experienced players," said van Huizen.
Kuala Lumpur, coached by Tenaga Nasional Bhd coach K. Rajan, saw almost
the entire Asian Games bronze-winning side turning up for trials on
The only national player missing was S. Kuhan, who said he needed a
short break from hockey.
National goalkeepers Roslan Jamaludin and S. Kumar, Chua Boon Huat, Amin
Rahim, Azlan Misron, Madzli Ikmar, Norazlan Rahim, Zaharin Zakariah, and
Fairus Ramli turned up for Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
So did former skipper Nor Saiful Zaini and M. Kaliswaran and three
national players who took a year's break to concentrate on their studies -
Tajol Rosli, Jiwa Mohan and Nor Azlan Bakar.
Kuala Lumpur have a situation whereby one official summed up as: "The
problem is not who to select, it is who to drop."
Kuala Lumpur will play a friendly against Armed Forces before naming
their Razak Cup team, but it is a foregone conclusion that the rest of the
teams will be fighting for the silver.
National juniors - Goalkeepers: Mohamed Hanafi Hassan, Khairul Nizam
Ibrahim; Defenders: Abdul Shukor Adam, Bubalan Sandrakasi, Engku Abdul
Malek, Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi, S. Vatu Malia; Midfielders: M. Jiva
Mohan, P. Prabahkaran, Azlan Misron, Mohamed Sufian, Fakhrulrazi
Baharuddin, Iazan Hassan; Forwards: Redzuan Nasir, Ismail Abu, Ikmar Abdul
Jabar, Fairuz Hamsani, Hoesni Rahmat.

Egypt edge Malaysia out


SHARON WEE's defeat knocked Malaysia out of the Women's World Team Squash
Championship quarter-finals in Denmark yesterday.
Sharon crumbled under a brilliant attack from Maha Zein as Egypt won 2-1
to set up a semi-final clash against favourites Australia.
The other semi-final is between England and New Zealand.
Sharon lost 9-1, 9-3, 9-1 in 32 minutes and today, Malaysia will meet
Scotland in the 5th-8th playoff.
Salma Shabana had earlier given Egypt the lead when she beat Tricia
Chuah 9-5, 9-5, 9-5.
Nicol David overcame early jitters against Omneya Abdel Kawy to win 3-9,
9-7, 9-1, 9-1.
This set a showdown between Sharon and Maha but hopes of a Malaysian
upset was soon crushed by the Egyptian. Malaysia face Scotland next and
they stand a reasonable chance of winning.
Nicol will be expected to lead the charge against Pamela Nimmo, a player
ranked four rungs higher than her at No 14 while the other two ties could
go either way.
Wendy Maitland is second for the Scots and Lisa McKenna plays third.
Results (q-finals) - Egypt 2 Malaysia 1 (Salma Shabana bt Tricia Chuah
9-5, 9-5, 9-5; Nicol David bt Omneya Abdel Kawy 3-9, 9-7, 9-1, 9-1; Maha
Zein bt Sharon Wee 9-1, 9-3, 9-7).
New Zealand bt South Africa 2-1 (Lara Petera lost to Sjeanne Cawdry 9-7,
7-9, 9-4, 6-9, 2-9; Carol Owens bt Farrah Sterne 9-2, 9-1, 9-2; Shelly
Kitchen bt Claire Nitch 9-3, 9-3, 9-1.
England bt Holland 3-0 (Fiona Geaves bt Daphne Jelgersma 9-1, 9-2, 9-3;
Linda Charman bt Vanessa Atkinson 9-7, 9-3, 9-0; Tania Bailey bt Annelize
Naude 9-6, 9-5).
Australia bt Scotland 3-0 (Natalie Grinham bt Lisa McKenna 9-2, 9-3, 9-
0; Sarah Fitz-Gerald bt Pamela Nimmo 9-3, 9-1, 9-0; Rachaeal Grinham bt
Wendy Maitland 9-4, 9-4).

All bets on KL


THE 40th Razak Cup begins next week but most teams have already resigned
to the fact that Kuala Lumpur will again lift the title which they won in
Kuala Lumpur are expected to parade a host of national players, like
they did in the last edition.
The only team which gave them a tough fight two years ago the national
juniors who will again feature in the 11-team championship.
The other teams for the Razak Cup are Malacca, Penang, Perak, Selangor,
Armed Forces, Johor, Kedah, Negri Sembilan and Pahang.
In the 39th edition, the National Juniors drew 3-3 with Kuala Lumpur in
the preliminaries and then lost 2-1 to a sudden death goal which was
scored by S. Kuhan, who skippered the recent Asian Games bronze winning
The Razak Cup has taken a backseat as compared to the Malaysia Hockey
League and the National Junior League but the Malaysian Hockey Federation
are going through great pains to revive it.
And the participation of the national juniors is a must.
"The National Juniors made a great impact in the last Razak Cup and we
have again slotted them in for the experience of playing against senior
players," said S. Satgunam yesterday.
"The current Under-18 squad who are preparing for the Junior World Cup
qualifier scheduled for 2004 will find the Razak Cup experience an eye-
opener," said Satgunam.
The Razak Cup is scheduled on Oct 23-31 at the National Hockey Stadium
in Bukit Jalil instead of Tun Razak Stadium as earlier planned.
"Eventhough the cost of booking pitches will be much higher at the
National Hockey Stadium, we were left with no choice because there will be
quite a number of matches to be played daily and we need two pitches," he
Selangor have conducted two trials so far for the Razak Cup and the
turnout has been good.
"More than 30 players turned out for the two trials but we will only
finalise the team tomorrow (today) after the last trials today
(yesterday)," said Selangor stand-in manager Joseph de Silva.
Selangor will be coached by Abdul Rahim Ahmad and their team manager is
Sharif Yusof.
"Our trials have attracted a number of ex-internationals like Chitti
Babu and R. Shanker and also a mixture of youth from the recent Malaysia
Games squad.
"We have confirmed two national junior goalkeepers so far and they are
Saiful Azahar and Mohd Firdaus Razali. We have also approached national
player Mohamed Amin Rahim, who will let us know soon whether he will be
playing for Selangor," said Joseph.
Amin was a key player in the Busan Asian Games and his inclusion will
give Selangor an added bite. Selangor are also looking at former Bank
Simpanan Nasional players I. Vikneswaran and R. Vijiyan to beef up their
"We do not have a good side to lift the title, but we will give Kuala
Lumpur and the rest of the aspiring teams a good fight," said Joseph.

Nining, Valerie and Nur turn in rocket-high scores


MALAYSIA'S trio of Nining Harris, Valerie Tan and Nur Sayyeda returned
`astronomical' scores in the first round of the Espirito Santo Trophy at
the Saujana Golf and Country Club yesterday.
Nining shot a four-over 77, Valerie had an 84 and Nur Sayyeda blew her
game with an 87. Only the two best scores are taken into account which
means the trio are 29th out of 39 teams at the end of the first round.
The target set for the girls in the Espirito is to finish in the region
of 29.
Coach Jason Yong attributed the poor scores to "trying too hard to make
an impression."
"It was basically first-day jitters which saw Valerie play below her
best. She failed to perform because she placed too much pressure on
herself," said Yong.
Nining, after birdies on the second, sixth, 12th and 17th, double
bogeyed the fourth and had bogeys on the fifth, ninth, 10th, 14th, 16th
and 18th.
"The Bunga Raya Course greens were not too fast today (yesterday), but I
found the pin placements a bit way off and in my attempts to save par, I
faltered and had six bogies.
"I have played a 76 on the course before, but today (yesterday) I took
too many chances. I plan to play it safe tomorrow (today) and maybe return
a better score," said Nining.
Valerie failed to sink a single birdie and her nine bogies were on the
first, second, third, seventh, ninth, 10th, 11th, 14th and 16th. Her
double bogey was on the 15th.
"I am very disappointed with the score today (yesterday). I believe my
driver let me down. My putting and iron shots were okay, but the woods and
driver killed my game," said Valerie.
Nur Sayyeda had a nightmare round with triple bogeys on the eighth and
15th, double bogeys on the first, fifth and 16th and bogeys on the 11th,
13th and 17th.

Firozeh turning heads at SGCC


IF A smile could sink an ace, Iran's Firozeh Mohamed Zamani will be the
golfer to watch when the Espirito Santo Trophy tees off at the Saujana
Golf and Country Club today.
But Firozeh and her team-mates - Mina Varzy and Zohreh Kasrai - could
find the going tough, and the most they can hope for will be the
experience gained in playing in a top-notch tournament.
For Iran, competing in the Espirito Santo Trophy for the first time is a
feat in itself as the trio's every stroke and putt will be keenly watched
by the people back home, and by their elderly chaperons who double up as
team manager and coach.
"We are the ambassadors of our country and hope to give a good image of
ourselves, on and off the course," said Firozeh, who covered her T-shirt
with a long overall while practicing putting at the Saujana GCC yesterday.
Firozeh, 30, was being honest when she said that the Iran trio will not
pose much of a problem to the rest of the golfers because the Cobra course
is too challenging.
"The first day we practiced at the Palm Course and found it difficult to
master. But after today (yesterday) when we tried out the championship
course (Cobra) we now understand what the word difficult really means.
"The greens are very fast and hard to master," said Firozeh, after
missing a six-foot putt for a sixth time.
The caddies at Saujana took it upon themselves to give the Iranian trio
some pointers on how to putt, but they (the trio) were not making any
There is only one golf course in Iran (only 13 holes left from the
original 18) and about 30 active women golfers.
So making their presence felt in the tournament does not seem possible,
but the Iranian trio's presence will be noticed.

Sultan Azlan may return


SULTAN Azlan Shah is expected to announce his decision on Saturday on
whether he will seek re-election for the post of president of the
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF).
MHF will be holding its council meeting then and Sultan Azlan Shah will
chair it to "settle the Kuala Lumpur World Cup accounts once and for all."
Sultan Azlan Shah had earlier decided not to seek re-election in the
Biennial General Meeting (BGM) on Oct 26 but was still nominated by four
affiliates when nominations for office bearers closed on Sept 25.
His nominations came from Armed Forces, Johor, Sarawak and Sabah.
MHF secretary S. Satgunam said yesterday that the council meeting will,
among other things, try and close the World Cup accounts.
"The KL World Cup accounts will dominate the bulk of discussion time,
and Sultan Azlan Shah is also expected to make it known whether he will
seek re-election or not during the BGM," said Satgunam.
The other nominees for the president's post are Sultan Ahmad Shah
(nominated by Pahang and Penang), former Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Elyas
Omar (Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan), Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah
(Kelantan) and Datuk Abu Bakar Daud (Terengganu).
During the council meeting, the new nominees will have to show their
intent on contesting for the posts by handing in their "letter of intent",
via States who have nominated them.
"Right now there has been no change to the list of nominations but there
is ample time for, if any, withdrawals," said Satgunam.
Meanwhile, Satgunam said that the (MHF) management strongly feels that
players who have declined invitation to represent the country should be
left out of their future plans.
"We (MHF) feel that the present batch of youngsters did well to win a
bronze medal after a 12-year wait in the Asian Games and there is no
reason why we should not continue banking on them for future assignments.
"Those who opted out for studies will have to prove themselves, at
trials, and only don national colours on merit.
"We will not beg them to return as the present batch can be nurtured
into medal winners if we encourage them and put our trust in them," said
After the Kuala Lumpur World Cup, 12 players from the project squad were
drafted into the national team and in a short period since March, they
have done what was almost an impossible task for such a raw side - win a
medal at the Asian Games.
Satgunam also said that a world class field has been confirmed for the
Azlan Shah Cup on March 22-30 in Ipoh.
"We invited and received prompt replies from Germany, India, South
Korea, Pakistan and New Zealand for the Azlan Shah Cup," said Satgunam.
Initially, Australia were invited but they declined because of their
commitment to the Australian Hockey League.
In their place, New Zealand were invited and a swift reply arrived
saying that they are more than pleased to play in the tournament.

Athens beckons Lissek's gems


THE only team sport that delivered a medal in Busan was hockey, and now
coach Paul Lissek has targeted to do well in the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
The sport has finally started winning medals at the international level,
the first gold, after years of waiting, was delivered by the Under-18 boys
when they beat Germany 3-1 to clinch the FIH World Youth Festivaltitle in
Poznan, Poland in August.
There is no reason why the national team should not target a medal in
Athens, because the current batch of players are young and raring to go. A
push in the right direction will make gems out of them.
And with the Asian Games bronze, and more importantly beating Pakistan
after a 16-year wait, will bring positive changes to the sport if there is
a concerted effort.
First of all, Lissek should drop his passion of recalling players who
opted out of the national team when the country needed them. He has been
too accommodating and has been taken for a ride, by some.
He should only entertain those who genuinely gave the Asian Games a skip
because of studies.
Two names come to mind - Nor Azlan Bakar and Tajol Rosli.
The team still needs Nor Azlan because he has the distinction of being
among the best defenders in the world, and his presence could have seen a
better finish for Malaysia in the Games because skipper S. Kuhan and Chua
Boon Huat could have concentrated on the midfield and strikeforce, knowing
that they have Nor Azlan at the back.
Nor Azlan will be finishing his studies soon and, so will prolific
striker Tajol, who is said to be almost ready to fill in the vacuum left
by Mirnawan Nawawi but stayed out of the Games because he wanted to finish
his studies.
That should be the only two recalls that Lissek should make and, start
blooding those in the junior ranks.
After losing out to South Korea in the semi-finals, Lissek had said that
he is left with no options but to recall some of the players who quit the
team if Malaysia want to be a hockey powerhouse again, but the youngsters
in the team proved him wrong with a bronze finsih.
So he should forget about S. Shankar and Jiwa Mohan and the other
seniors who quit the sport after the Kuala Lumpur World Cup, and start
afresh, like what seven-time gold medallists Pakistan have pledged to do
after finsihing out of the top-three for the first time in the Asian
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) should take some drastic measures
if they want to check the slide in hockey, like introducing a clause which
makes it impossible for players in their prime to quit the sport.
Redzuan Ponirin, Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi, S. Kumar, Rodhanizam Mat
Radzi, Fairuz Ramli, and Nor Azlan Rahim still have many years to go
before they should call it a day.
And the German is keeping his fingers crossed that none of the players
from the bronze winning side will quit after the Asian Games.
And until a concerted effort is made to stop player-drain, he should be
resigned to the fact that he might have to continue blooding youngsters in
first grade tournaments.

Bukit Jalil edge Police


BUKIT JALIL .... 1 POLICE .... 0
TENAGA ......... 2 UPM ....... 0
BUKIT Jalil Sports School lifted the Raja Noora Ashikin Cup when they beat
an experienced Police side by a solitary goal at the Tun Razak Stadium in
Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
In the pool match, Bukit Jalil lost 1-0 to Police, but yesterday, the
schoolgirls played an attacking game and nailed Police in the 14th minute
when Norhamadah Abdul Rashid deflected in after a botched penalty corner
Police coach M. Ravindran had only one word to describe his team's
defeat to second stringers from the Sports School: "Overconfidence."
Bukit Jalil were forced to field their second team for the Second
Edition of the Raja Noora Ashikin Cup because their first team players had
to prepare for their Form Three and Form Five exams which begin on Monday.
Fielding Form Two and Form Four players, Bukit Jalil got off to a good
start in the pool match when they beat Selangor 4-0. Atter that, they
never looked back and stunned their more experienced opponents, including
last year's champions Tenaga Nasional by holding them 2-2.
Tenaga Nasional, who hired a foreign hand in Singapore's Melanie
Martens, finished with the bronze when they beat Universiti Putra Malaysia
(UPM) 2-0 with goals from tournament top-scorer D. Devaleela in the 33rd
minute for her 11th strike and Christina Chin in the 57th minute.
Six teams competed in the Cup and Police won all five pool matches and
went into yesterday's match looking too confident. They paid the price for
toying around.
But after Norhamadah scored in the 14th minute, Police became desperate
and took control of the match for a brief period, but Bukit Jalil never
Bukit Jalil won 13 penalty corners yesterday but fumbled all because
their set-pieces were too complicated.
In the 68th minute, Norhamadah found herself free at the top of the
semi-circle and unleashed a powerful shot which missed the bar by
centimetres, but it didn't matter. The final horn sounded two minutes
later and, being the schoolgirls they are, jumped for joy and danced in
the dark as the Tun Razak Stadium experienced a power blackout for five
Pool results: Universiti Putra Malaysia 4 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
0; Police 3 Tenaga Nasional Bhd 1; Bukit Jalil Sports School 4 Selangor 0;
Police 4 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia 1; Tenaga Nasional Bhd 2 Bukit
Jalil Sports School 2; Universiti Putra Malaysia 1 Selangor 0; Tenaga
Nasional Bhd 7 Selangor 0; Police 2 Universiti Putra Malaysia 0; Police 1
Bukit Jalil Sports School 0; Universiti Putra Malaysia 2 Tenaga Nasional
Bhd 2; Police 7 Selangor 1; Tenaga Nasional Bhd 5 Universiti Teknologi
Malaysia 0; Bukit Jalil Sports School 1 Universiti Putra Malaysia 0; Bukit
Jalil Sports School 2 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia 0.

MHF needs Sultan Azlan


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) has pledged to get its house in
order, and they feel the only man who can help them achieve that is Sultan
Azlan Shah.
Although Sultan Azlan Shah had sent in a no-contest letter to MHF on
Sept 9, he still received backing from Armed Forces, Johor, Sabah and
Sarawak when nominations closed at midnight on Thursday.
MHF secretary S. Satgunam, who received a whopping 10 nominations, said
yesterday that they had made mistakes in the past, and will take it as a
learning process.
"I admit that there has been shortcomings in MHF over the last few
years. We have not been perfect. Some of the committees have not been up
to the mark, but I promise there will be changes after the Biennial
General Meeting (BGM) on Oct 26.
"But we need the help and guidance of Sultan Azlan Shah for another term
to get things back in order in the MHF," said Satgunam yesterday.
After finding out through the Press that Sultan Azlan Shah has been
nominated by four States, Satgunam said he received numerous calls from
other States and also former hockey internationals.
"I have received good feedback from some of the States which did not
nominate Sultan Azlan Shah and they wanted the MHF to send a delegation to
persuade the President to re-consider his no-contest stand. They also
wanted us to persuade him to stay on as the President of the Asian Hockey
Federation, just in case he decides to give up hockey totally.
"Some former hockey internationals also called me and suggested the
same. We (MHF) have decided that we will try and persuade Sultan Azlan
Shah in the next few days to stay on," said Satgunam.
Other than Sultan Azlan Shah, four other nominations were received for
the President's post. They are Sultan Ahmad Shah (Pahang, Penang), Sultan
Sharafuddin Idris Shah (Kelantan), Tan Sri Elyas Omar (Kuala Lumpur, Negri
Sembilan) and Datuk Abu Bakar Daud (Terengganu).
FA of Malaysia (FAM) president Sultan Ahmad Shah, who returned from
London yesterday, was reported as saying in Mailsport that he is keen to
head MHF - if he gets support from States.
"If there is support from all parties concerned, I will go for it
(President's post) and of course I will do it my way," said Sultan Ahmad
Shah when Mailsport met him at the KLIA.
The FA of Malaysia Executive Committee will meet soon to decide on
Sultan Ahmad Shah's position in FAM.
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had also said "NO", but Kelantan still
nominated him. As for Datuk Bakar, he had said he will withdraw gracefully
if there is a more suitable candidate.
Tan Sri Elyas Omar, nominated by Kuala Lumpur and Negri, has also
received support for the deputy president's post and he is likely to pull
out of the race for the President's post if either Sultan Azlan Shah or
Sultan Ahmad Shah decide to stand for elections.
"After nominations closed, I feel that the best man to helm MHF is still
Sultan Azlan Shah. The rest of them do not have enough clout to make a big
enough impact with the international body, FIH.
"Sultan Azlan Shah, just by his presence, can swing many things in
Malaysia's favour. The MHF has been hosting a number of international
tournaments over the years just because of the confidence the FIH has in
Sultan Azlan Shah.
"The rest of the nominees for the President's post have very little or
no background in hockey at all and so I feel that Sultan Azlan Shah should
stay on for at least another term," said Satgunam.
The MHF, after the Press had highlighted the broken link between them
and the schools, has had numerous meetings with the Malaysian Schools
Sports Council and progress to revive hockey at grassroots has started.
"Mistakes have been made in the past, but I guarantee changes, because
we have learnt from the mistakes and are working to bring back the glory
days of hockey," said Satgunam.

Sultan Azlan still has support


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) elections on Oct 26 will see an
unprecedented number of delegates vying for the president's posts, as five
prominent figures staked a claim when nominations closed at midnight
Four affiliates - Armed Forces, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak - are still
keen to have Sultan Azlan Shah as the MHF president and he received the
most number of nominations among those vying for the coveted post.
The others nominated for the president's post are Sultan Ahmad Shah
(Pahang, Penang), Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (Kelantan), Tan Sri Elyas
Omar (Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan) and Datuk Abu Bakar Daud (Terengganu).
Sultan Azlan Shah decided not to stand for the Oct 26 elections but
individuals have met him several times since he handed in his letter in an
effort to persuade him to reconsider.
MHF secretary S. Satgunam said yesterday that he sent out letters to all
affiliates advising them of Sultan Azlan Shah's intention not to contest,
but he can't stop States from nominating him.
"I have advised all the affiliates that the President does not want to
seek re-election, but four States have nominated him for the President's
post. I can only advise, they have the right to nominate anyone they
want," said Satgunam.
Satgunam also said he has received nominations for all the present
"All the present office-bearers have been nominated. I would also like
to state that all 15 affiliates have paid up their affiliation fees before
nominations ended today (yesterday) and hence they are all eligible to
vote in the Oct 26 elections."
For the deputy president's post, incumbent Tan Sri P. Alagendra will be
challenged by Datuk Ahmad Ithnin and Elyas Omar.
The most number of nominations was received by secretary S. Satgunam,
who is almost assured of a landslide victory as he has backing from Armed
Forces, Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Penang, Sabah,
Sarawak and Selangor.
The fight for the four vice-president's posts saw a whopping 12
nominations, and only Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh is assured of a seat when
nominations closed.
The fifth vice-president, as stated in the MHF constitution, is selected
on a rotation basis from Sabah and Sarawak, so Sabah HA president Ghapur
has nothing to worry about.
NOMINATIONS: President - 1 Sultan Azlan Shah (Armed Forces, Johor,
Sabah, Sarawak); Sultan Ahmad Shah (Pahang, Penang); 3 Sultan Sharafuddin
Idris Shah (Kelantan); 4 Tan Sri Elyas Omar (Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan;
5 Datuk Abu Bakar Daud (Terengganu).
Deputy President: 1 Tan Sri P. Alagendra (Armed Forces, Johor, Kedah,
Malacca, Sabah Sarawak); 2 Datuk Ahmad Ithnin (Kuala Lumpur); 3 Tan Sri
Elyas Omar (Kelantan, Penang).
Vice-Presidents: 1 Roy Rajasingam (Armed Forces, Malacca, Sabah,
Sarawak); 2 Datuk Abdul Jalil Majid (Armed Forces, Kedah, Kelantan,
Malacca, Sabah); 3 Datuk Seri Manap Ibrahim (Armed Forces, Kedah,
Kelantan, Malacca, Sabah, Sarawak); 4 Datuk Bashir Majid (Armed Forces,
Malacca); 5 Tuan Haji Bustari Yusuf (Armed Forces); 6 Datuk Ghapur Salleh
(Kelantan, Sabah - Unopposed); 7 Datuk Suleiman Mohamed Noor (Johor,
Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor); 8 Dr S.S Cheema (Kuala Lumpur); 9 Datuk
Mustapha Mansur (Kuala Lumpur); 10 Datuk Ahmad Ithnin (Kelantan); 11 Datuk
Fatmi Salleh (Kelantan); 12 Datuk Mansor Jaafar (Sarawak, Selangor); 13 S.
Sanjilatheeban (Penang).
Secretary: 1 S. Satgunam (Armed Forces, Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca,
Negri Sembilan, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor); 2 Mohamed Zaki Abdul
Rahman (Kuala Lumpur).
Treasurer: 1 S. Perampalam (Armed Forces, Malacca, Sabah); 2 George
Koshy (Kedah, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur, Penang).

Datuk Bakar joins the fray


TERENGGANU Hockey Association yesterday nominated Datuk Abu Bakar Daud for
the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) President's post but Malaysia's
ambassador to Egypt is still in two minds.
When contacted in Cairo yesterday, Datuk Bakar, 66, made it clear that
if there is a more suitable candidate, he will gracefully decline before
the MHF Biennial General Meeting (BGM) on Oct 26.
Terengganu HA has not submitted any names for the other MHF posts.
When told that Pahang HA has nominated Sultan Ahmad Shah for the
President's post and that Kuala Lumpur HA has nominated former KL Mayor
Tan Sri Elyas Omar, Datuk Bakar quipped: "Looks like I am the only
flyweight in the contest!"
"I have weighed the idea and since Sultan Azlan Shah has declined to
continue as the MHF President after 21 years, I am willing to serve
"But if there is another suitable candidate to replace Sultan Azlan
Shah, I will get out of the way before election day," said Datuk Bakar in
a telephone interview from Cairo.
Datuk Bakar has been at the helm of the Terengganu HA for the past 15
"My term (as ambassador) ends next February and I have yet to make up my
mind on the MHF President's post. I agreed to be nominated because I love
hockey very much," said Datuk Bakar.
Datuk Bakar was a former deputy president of FA of Malaysia and then
became a vice-president but gave up the post when appointed as Malaysia's
ambassador to Egypt.
He also stepped down as Terengganu HA president last year after he was
appointed as an ambassador but made an about-turn when officials from the
State approached him.
"I did want to give up the Terengganu HA president's post last year but
was persuaded to stay on by State officials, so I stayed.
"Now that Sultan Azlan Shah has declined nomination, I feel that I can
serve hockey if given the chance," said Datuk Bakar.
Datuk Bakar was Deputy Science, Technology and Environment Minister
until he was defeated in the 1999 general elections.
He had his early education at the Sultan Zainal Abidin Arabic School in
Terengganu before furthering his studies at the University of Birmingham
in England.
Meanwhile, Sabah and Sarawak are still keen to have Sultan Azlan Shah at
the helm of MHF and have sent in their nominations in that order.
Sabah HA secretary Ajaib Singh yesterday said they are still hopeful
Sultan Azlan Shah will change his mind and accept the nomination. But he
did not shed any light on their nominations for the other posts.
"Sabah and Sarawak sent in their nominations on Tuesday and both States
have nominated Sultan Azlan Shah for the President's post," said Ajaib.
"We hope he will change his mind and continue leading the Federation.
Our nominations are in his favour because of his inspiring leadership, not
only as the MHF President, but also in the Asian Hockey Federation and
Chairman of the FIH Disciplinary Board.
Ajaib also said that West Malaysians should stop speculating as to who
will become the fifth vice-president as the constitution is very clear on
the matter.
Sultan Azlan Shah had led the amendment of the MHF Constitution to
accommodate a vice-president from East Malaysia and the post will rotate
between Sabah and Sarawak.
"According to the MHF Constitution, the fifth vice-president's seat
automatically goes to Sabah HA president Datuk Ghapur Salleh.
"Sarawak HA president Bustari Yusof's term will end next month and it is
now automatically Sabah's turn to have a vice-president," said Ajaib.

FAM needs you more, Sultan Ahmad


FOOTBALL Association of Malaysia (FA) president Sultan Ahmad Shah (pic)
became the the latest candidate for the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF)
president on a day when Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor declined
nomination for the post.
The other candidate so far, is former BA of Malaysia president Tan Sri
Elyas Omar who was nominated by Kuala Lumpur.
Sultan Ahmad, president of the Pahang HA, is in London right now, but he
has given the go-ahead to Pahang HA vice-president C. Jeyaratnam to
nominate him.
"I have received the green light to nominate Sultan Ahmad Shah who is an
avid hockey fan, and I will send in the nomination tomorrow (today)," said
But Sultan Ahmad, who already has his hands full with rebuilding soccer,
should respectfully decline.
For, although Sultan Ahmad is capable of leading the MHF, he has yet to
finish his job with the FAM - to put Malaysian soccer in the world class
And that job needs more urgency, especially since Prime Minister Datuk
Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad had expressed his disappointment over the poor
standard of Malaysian soccer, not once, but twice.
The first time the PM talked about the declining standard of soccer in
relation to South Korea and Japan whom we had beaten in the 70s and 80s,
was in a Cabinet meeting last month.
And then last Friday, he took a nation by shock when he reiterated his
disappointment, in of all forums, the Budget announcement that was
telecast live on national television.
For a man who has not been known to be excited about soccer standards,
and then to talk about its decline twice within a spell of one month, it
must mean that even the PM is unhappy about our world ranking. Which is a
poor 121, and that too a rung below Malta.
Which is why, Sultan Ahmad, who has already done well by helping FAM to
be financially independent, and putting together a sound administrative
structure, needs to focus on significantly improving Malaysia's world
soccer ranking before he takes on anything new, or even handing over the
FAM reins to his son Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
Sultan Ahmad, 71, marked the end of his tenure as the seventh president
of the AFC on August 14 on a high note as he was bestowed the Fifa Order
of Merit, the game's highest honour, in recognition of his positive
contributions to soccer.
So far, according to MHF secretary, S. Satgunam only three of the 15
affiliates have submitted their nominations for the Oct 26 elections.
Nominations close tomorrow.
But if the other 12 haven't made up their minds yet, perhaps now is the
time to try something different and depart from the tradition of naming a
member of the royalty or a politician, to lead sports associations.
Perhaps affiliates should try to persuade leading corporate figures to
helm associations and revolutionise the concept of sports management and
Hyundai chairman Chung Mong Joon did exactly that with the South Korea
FA when he took over as president. He brought in his senior executives
into the FA, and today they are ranked fourth in the world.
The concept of Sports Inc has proven successful the world over, so let's
free ourselves from archaic mindsets, and jive to the new beat.

States working overtime


THE Kuala Lumpur HA will hold its council meeting today to decide, among
others, the nominations for the Malaysian Hockey Federation elections on
Oct 26.
Most of the other States will also hold their council meetings this week
in view of the nomination deadline on Sept 26.
Negri Sembilan HA secretary Anthony Das said they will only decide after
Sept 24, but Perak secretary P.T. Sambanthar was not even willing to
reveal anything about the council meeting to decide on nominations.
"I have nothing to say to you. If you are interested you can ask my
president (Raja Nazrin Shah)," said Sambanthar when asked when Perak HA
will send in the nominations.
KLHA has been tight-lipped about its nominations, but it was learnt that
it has a candidate for the president's post, and will also be nominating
candidates for the deputy-president and at least one vice-president's
Since the MHF imposed a gag order on its State affiliates, most of the
officials have remained silent, but have been working overtime to bring
change into the Federation.
A brainstroming session was held in Sabah during the Malaysia Games, and
the consensus was unanimous that there must be change in the present
leadership structure to take hockey to the next level.
"I met officials from participating States and we had a very frank and
open talk on how to help hockey. All the affiliates agreed on one thing -
that new blood is urgently needed to help hockey grow.
"We came up with a few names to challenge for the deputy-president's
post and announcements will be made in a week's time," said an official.
Attempts to speak to MHF deputy president Tan Sri P. Alagendra on
whether he will seek re-election, or stand for elections if there are
challengers, drew a blank.
Affiliates have the power to choose the MHF leaders even before the Oct
26 BGM, as who they nominate can bring change even before a single ballot
is cast.
As for proposals to improve the running of MHF, States will have to
submit in writing two weeks before the BGM so that matters can be
MHF secretary S. Satgunam said that he has yet to receive any
nominations from their 15 affiliates.
"States that want to propose any changes can do so during the BGM where
matters can be put to vote and if agreed, changes can be made. But they
must submit their proposals two weeks before the BGM," said Satgunam.
The States were very vocal about MHF's shortcomings before a gag order
was imposed on the secretaries.
Negri Sembilan HA deputy president Datuk Abdullah Sani Hamid had said
that the MHF are not doing enough to promote the sport in States.
He also feels that MHF should offer some sort of subsidy to help States
get on their feet, because sourcing for sponsors is becoming increasingly
Kelantan HA secretary Zahari Daud took the Federation to task for not
doing enough to promote the sport at the State-level.
Terengganu HA secretary Hamzah Ali also took the MHF to task, and said
that that votes will do the talking for them.
Penang HA has been pushing for change relentlessly, which is inevitable
come Sept 26.

`Mischievous' Ho means business


HO Ro Bin is a mischievous character, and he is popular among the athletes
at the National Sports Council (NSC) Asian Games Camp in Bukit Jalil
because of his laid-back attitude.
But when he enters the court, even for training, he is all-business.
"I like to crack jokes when I am among friends, but I am dead-serious
when I am training," said Ho yesterday.
With a string of achievements, the memorable ones being two gold at the
Kuala Lumpur Sea Games, Ho feels that if he is able to perform like he
does in training sessions, he will be able to upgrade the 1998 Bangkok
Asian Games bronze to either a silver or gold.
"My coach said that I have been performing well during trainings and my
first target is to defend the 1998 bronze and then go for either silver or
gold. In that order, the pressure will be less and I can enjoy myself
during the competition, which is vital for a good performance," said Ho.
His laid-back attitude has already reaped rewards. In April, he won the
nanquan gold at the Wushu Festival in Shanghai.
And at the Beijing Invitational Open last month, Ro Bin returned with a
full set of medals - gold in the Nan Dao, silver in Nan Gun and bronze in
But in the Asian Games, Ro Bin feels that athletes from China, Vietnam,
Hong Kong and Korea will be a threat to his quest for medals.
"When I competed in China, none of their Asian Games athletes were
around. We only had a training session with the Chinese and they were
"I may be more matured and experienced since I will be taking part in my
second Asian Games but it will be a big mistake if I enter the ring
feeling too confident.
"Although my strategy has improved, the rest of the exponents have also
been working on theirs."
Oh Poh Soon, the silver medallist in Bangkok `98, will again be looked
upon to have a good outing as wushu try to better their one silver and one
bronze showing in the last Games.
Team manager Yee Wan Pin said that if their training stint in China can
be taken into account, wushu will return with a surprise.

Shooters not good enough


THE national shooters are not good enough to win medals at the Busan Asian
National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) secretary Mej Jasni
Shaari was very frank about his assessment when met recently.
"I fear that the public might think otherwise because our shooters have
always done well in the Commonwealth and Sea Games. But since the Asian
Games shooting competition is of the same standard as the Olympics,
Malaysia do not have a chance of landing any medals," said Jasni.
Mohamed Emran Zakaria is the only shooter, among the seven named for the
Games, who has an outside chance of winning a medal. And on Monday, he was
made the penghulu (headman) of the national contingent after National
Sports Council director general Datuk Mazlan Ahmad handed the Jalur
Gemilang to the Busan-bound athletes.
Emran is shaping up nicely and at the recent National Championships, he
shot down the the six-year-old national record for the SB free Rifle Three
Position with a score of 1,246.1.
His score surpassed Jasni's total of 1,245.4 set in 1996. And Emran, 27,
who did not train going into the competition, said he could have done
Emran, who won a silver for the air rifle pairs event with Mohamed
Hameleay Mutalib in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, said he has yet
to hit form.
The official target for the seven national shooters in Busan is to reach
the final, as the marksmen will also be using the event to qualify for the
2004 Olympics in Athens.
The standard of the Asian Games is very high, with world champions from
China and world record holders from South Korea and Japan expected to
But Emran believes if the national shooters perform consistently, they
should qualify for the final.
Hameleay, meanwhile, bettered his two-year national junior record of
1,142 points by four points in the final of the individual SB Free Rifle 3
Position event at the National Championships.
The standard is so high that Ukrainian Irina Maharani, a naturalised
Malaysian, was among those who failed to qualify for the Asiad, although
she won a silver medal in the women's sport pistol pairs with Bibiana Ng
at the Manchester Commonwealth Games.
Bibiana met the qualifying mark, which is the third placed finish in the
1998 Bangkok Asian Games, but will instead be undergoing a cadet police
ASP (assistant superintendent) training during the Asiad and has given the
Games a skip.
For the women, Roslina Bakar, bronze medallist in Manchester in the
women's 50m rifle Three positions, Nurul Hudda Baharin and Nor Dalila
Bakar, are also expected to face stiff competition and medals are out of
the question.

Mas need new training techniques


NATIONAL coach Yahya Atan feels that if the present training structure is
not changed, Malaysia will find themselves in deeper trouble in a few
years time.
Yahya, who assisted chief coach Paul Lissek in the recent Five-Test
series in China, said the Chinese are dead serious about hockey and will
be a threat when they host the 2008 Olympics.
"China has embarked on a massive development programme which has
produced many talented hockey players. They are almost on par with
Malaysia right now and the only thing that separates both teams is
exposure," said Yahya after National Sports Council director-general Datuk
Mazlan Ahmad handed the Jalur Gemilang to 210-strong Busan Asian Games-
bound contingent yesterday.
According to Yahya, China lack exposure in top-notch tournaments and
once they get that, they could become even better than the South Koreans.
"The national players have the advantage of playing in numerous
international tournaments while the Chinese lacked exposure because the
last big tournament which they took part was the Bangkok Asian Games in
"But if they do well in Busan and take part regularly in big
tournamants, there will be no stopping the Chinese wave in hockey," said
China are in the same group as Malaysia in the Asian Games and after the
five Tests, where Malaysia scraped through with two wins, one defeat and
two draws, Yahya said they will have to be more careful in Busan.
"I did some checking while in China and found out that they have two
zones, North and South, which are actively promoting hockey at schools and
"The Chinese players receive a good grant from their Government and are
fulltime hockey players who receive a salary just to play. They do nothing
else, except train and play matches.
"If Malaysia keep neglecting the grassroots and the universities do not
play an active role in promoting hockey, we will be left far behind the
rest of the world."
Yahya feels that hockey is not being played seriously at the grassroots
level and it is almost non-existent at the universities.
"My personal feeling is that the Malaysian Schools Sports Council and
the universities should play a bigger role in promoting hockey because
eventhough we have good back-up squads right now, the player-base is too
small for a good selection process," said Yahya.
In China, they have a young squad training for the 2008 Olympics, while
the Asian Games squad also has a healthy blend of youth.
"They also have a good structure in the universities. Maybe the
Malaysian universities should encourage more athletes to play hockey and
MASUM should also look into fielding a team in the National Hockey League.
"Right now, MASUM did not even field a hockey team in the Malaysia
On their chances against China in Busan: "We will have to approach the
match with caution because the Chinese are super fast in counter attacks.
But their backline is still not solid enough and we need to capatalise on
that weakness to get goals during penalty corners."
Malaysia failed to score any goals off penalty corners in the five Test
matches against China.

Perampalam takes the rap


MALAYSIAN Hockey Federation (MHF) treasurer S. Perampalam (pic) yesterday
took responsibility for the mess MHF is in now which led to its president
Sultan Azlan Shah not seeking re-election in the Oct 26 Biennial General
Meeting (BGM) after being at the helm for 21 years.
And Perampalam is ready to quit, with a condition.
Perampalan said he is solely responsible and is sorry that the Sultan
will not be seeking re-election because of the turmoil he has created. But
he will still carry on if the States need him.
"I hold myself accountable for what is happening in the MHF today. I
failed to inform the Sultan on election day that Kelantan and Penang did
not pay their affiliation fees and allowed candidates from both the States
to vote in the 1999 elections," said Perampalam yesterday.
"I am sorry for what I have done and if the States feel they no longer
need me, they should not nominate me and allow someone else to contest for
treasurer's post."
Although Perampalan did not follow in the footsteps of his president by
sending in a no-contest letter to MHF, he has had the courage to do what
no other MHF office bearer has done - be accountable for his action.
Up till today, none of the vice-presidents Roy Rajasingham, Datuk Abdul
Jalil Abdul Majid, Lt Jen (R) Datuk Seri Abdul Manap Ibrahim, Bustari
Yusuf and Datuk Bashir Ahmad Majid or the deputy president Tan Sri P.
Alagendra has come out to clear the air about certain issues that have
been highlighted during the past six months or claim accountibility for
their actions.
Perampalam pleaded ignorance and not malice for his actions.
"As a treasurer, I failed to abide by the MHF Constitution which clearly
states that affiliates which do not pay their fees before March 31 every
year cannot vote. It was an oversight and also trust which has landed MHF
in trouble," said Perampalam.
Perampalam claims he asked Penang and Kelantan to settle their fees on
voting day in 1999 but they told him they did not bring their cheque
books. In good faith, he allowed them to vote trusting that they would
honour their obligations soon.
"But Kelantan and Terengganu, and all the other MHF affiliates, have
again failed to settle their dues before March 31," said a disappointed
"I quit after the 1975 World Cup, then became the secretary for one term
and made my comeback years later. But now family pressure is mounting, and
I am thinking about calling it a day - provided I am no longer needed by
hockey," said Perampalan.
"I have been in and out of the MHF a couple of times and so it is
nothing new to me if I quit. I only serve the sport because I love doing
so but now that I am responsible for bringing MHF into disrepute, I am
willing to make way for new blood if the States feel they no longer need
me," said Perampalam.
Perampalan, who became the MHF treasurer 1965, has been in an out of the
Federation for a couple of times. In the 1972-1975 term, he was ousted by
Rahmat Pye but came back for the 1977-1981 season and then became the MHF
secretary for the 1986-1988 term while the treasurer then was S.
For the 1988-1990 season, S. Satgunam won the secretary's post while T.
Paramalingam was the treasurer. Perampalam came back into the picture in
the 1990-1993 season and has held the treasurer's post since.
But he wants to clear the air as far as the accounts is concerned.
"I have done my job diligently and have submitted accounts during the
recent Council Meetings. But when I read in the newspapers that the Sports
Commissioner has not received my accounts, I went to check with them as I
had submitted my accounts to the Sports Commissioner's office on 31 March
"Right now, I can only submit my accounts to the Sports Commissioner's
office after the BGM."
Perampalan also said that the amount in dispute with the Merdeka Stadium
Board was not RM500,000 as reported but RM199,000.
"Actually we refused to pay the full amount because there was a dispute
regarding the A-Boards and the scoreboard at the National Hockey Stadium
in Bukit Jalil. Now, the problem has been settled as the Merdeka Stadium
Board has given us a good discount and the matter will not go to the
courts," said Perampalam.

Malaysia to create history


MALAYSIA'S men's team have set themselves a stiff target of making the
top-10 in the Eisenhower Trophy of the World Amatuer Golf Team
Championships which will be played at the Saujana Golf and Country Club on
Oct 24-27.
But president of the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) Thomas Lee was
more realistic when he said that it would be an achievement if the
Malaysians make the top-20 in the Eisenhower Trophy.
"Malaysia have never made the top-20 in the Eisenhower but they do have
home turf advantage and crowd support to boost them. So I feel that they
might achieve their best result at the Saujana Golf and Country Club, but
it would be difficult to break into the top-10 bracket," said Lee.
In the Eisenhower, Malaysia will be represented by Shaaban Hussin, S.
Sivachandran, Lim Eng Seng and Sahal Saedin.
In the Espirito Santo, the women's championship at the same course on
Oct 16-19, Malaysia will be represented by Nining Harris, Valerie Tan,
Datin Rahman Arshad and Nur Sayyeda Said.
The coach for both the men and women, Harris Zainal Abidin, is
optimistic about the men because Shaaban and his team-mates have been
showing great form recently.
"Shaaban has been finishing in the top-two bracket in a string of
tournaments while Lim and Sivachandran have been playing below par," said
"The only problem is consistancy because the Malaysian men tend to play
well one day and then blow up in the next. We still have time to arrest
the situation and have been training at the Saujana Course since May.
"But now that the course has been closed until championship day, we are
training at the Sungai Long Golf and Country Club and also at the Seri
Malaysia Golf Club," said Harris.
Since the beginning of the month, the team has been training everyday,
with the emphasis on strategy and working on individual game plans.
"The players also undergo mental and fitness training at the Bukit Jalil
Sports Centre. We are now working on improving their scoring ability as
our target is to better the best Eisenhower outing in Santiago, Chile in
1998 where the men finished 23. Our target is to be among the top-10,"
said Harris.
Even before tee-off one record has been broken and another is expected
to fall sooon.
"Forty countries have registered for the Espirito Santo Trophy and this
has broken the previous record of 39. For the Eisenhower, we have equalled
the record of 59 countries but this is expected to be surpassed in the
next few days," said Lee.
Ricky Barnes, Hunter Mahan and DJ Trahan have been picked to represent
the United States in the Eisenhower, and they will start as favourites.
Trahan was named the 2002 NCAA Player of The Year after winning the Jack
Nicklaus Award and the Ben Hogan Award, while Barnes, 21, is the 2002 US
Amateur champion, having recently won the title at Oakland Hills Country
Club with a 2-and-1 victory over Mahan.
Barnes qualified for the US Open twice, including the 2002 championship
at Bethpage State Park (Black Course).
Mahan, 20, was the 1999 US Junior Amateur champion and runner-up to
Barnes at the 2002 US Amateur. He was the 1999 Player of The Year.
The United States have won the men's World Amateur Team Championship a
record 11 times and are the defending champions. They won the 2000 event
at Sporting Club Berlin in Bad Saarow, Germany.
The title is determined over four days of strokeplay. A country may
field a team of two or three players. In each round, the total of the two
lowest scores by players from each team constitutes the team score for the
round. The four-day total is the team's score for the championship.
The Espirito Santo Trophy has been played every two years since 1964.
France won the 2000 championship in Bad Saarow, Germany. The US last won
the Espirito Santo Trophy in 1998 - their record 13th title since 1966.

Sultan Azlan quits with honour intact


By Lazarus Rokk; Jugjet Singh

IN what is so rarely witnessed in our sports fraternity, Sultan Azlan Shah
(pic) on Monday struck an eloquent blow for honour and dignity, by
stepping down as Malaysian Hockey Federation president after helming it for 21 years.
Although he didn't cite any specific reason for not wanting to seek re-
election in the Oct 26 binennial general meeting (BGM), it is believed
that Sultan Azlan's decision was dictated by the current state of affairs
that has put the national body in bad light.
In his letter dated Sept 9 to MHF secretary S.Satgunam, Sultan Azlan had stated that he would not be seeking re-election, and that the early
announcement would give the affiliates 17 days to name their candidate
before the Sept 26 deadline for nominations.
And the one candidate whom several affiliates had hoped would take over
the reins, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, yesterday declined respectfully.
"Frankly, I am immersed in my work and other matters, which is why I
have to respectfully decline," Najib told Timesport yesterday.
"Besides, I don't play need someone who is passionate about
the sport to lead the association."
Najib's late father, Tun Abdul Razak was the president of the MHF during his tenure as Prime Minister.
Among those yesterday who came out in support and respect for Sultan
Azlan's decision were Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tan Sri Tunku Imran Ja'afar, National Sports Council director-general, Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad, and KLHA president Tan Sri Noordin Hassan.
Tunku Imran is of the opinion that the former King should not be
pressured to make a comeback.
Tunku Imran yesterday: "He is a man of great esteem and if he has made a decision not to seek re-election, it must be respected by everyone. Sultan Azlan Shah must have considered carefully before coming to this
Noordin who is in Sabah for the Malaysia Games, said: "The decision of
the president must be respected.
"KLHA will hold their council meting on Sept 18 (Wednesday) and we will decide who is the best candidate to nominate for the president's post."
Mazlan in concurring with Noordin said: "Sultan Azlan Shah has made his decision and everyone must respect it. Now it is up to the MHF affiliates to select, wisely, the candidate to lead the Federation."
But Penang HA, the national body's leading detractors took it one step
further. They want the rest to follow suit.
"The president made an honourable decision by not seeking re-election
and now I strongly urge the entire MHF office bearers to follow his
footsteps," said its vice-president S. Sanjilatheeban.
"After everyone has resigned, the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) can step in as caretakers and run the elections. This is the only way to save hockey from the mess it is embedded in right now.
"Hockey desperately needs fresh blood to run the show because the
present officials have all run out of ideas. That is why they should
resign en-bloc and allow new people to take it to the next level."
Penang were one of the affiliates who were keen to see Najib as the next
MHF president.
Penang will also hold their council meeting on Wednesday to decide on
their candidate.
The MHF came under heavy fire over the past six months from both the
media - Timesport and Malay Mail - and certain affiliates for neglecting
grassroots development, and for running the federation unconstitutionally.
One of which was allowing Penang and Kelantan to vote in the 1999
elections even though both States had not paid their affiliation fees for
years. The MHF constitution states that affiliates who do not pay their
fees by March 31 every year are not eligible to vote.
Sports Commissioner Datuk Mahamat Zabri Min then revealed that MHF had
not sent in their accounts since 1999.
Satgunam, who confirmed that Azlan Shah will not seek re-election, also
said that since nominations close on Sept 26, it was too early to make a