Thursday, October 16, 2008

Race to the wire for Malaysian Hopeless Federation (MHF)


By Jugjet Singh

ONE understands the intense interest in the UMNO President and deputy president’s race, but on a micro scale, it is mind boggling why anyone would be interested to become Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) office-bearers.
UMNO paves the way for the next Malaysian Prime Minister and deputy Prime Minister, while those who are elected to become the president, deputy president and vice-presidents of the MHF will inherit empty coffers and a team which is ranked 15th in the world.
The elected president and his men will have to slog and sweat more than their team on the pitch to fill the coffers, and revive the sport in the country.
The ‘old players’ in MHF are president Tan Sri (rtd) Anwar Mohd Nor and his deputy Tunku Majid Sultan Iskandar, but if the grapevine is spot-on, then massive changers are in store after Saturday.
That is when Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad will meet MHF incumbents and delegates from states, after which he is expected to decide whether he wants to become the next president of the MHF.
Tengku Abdullah is highly tipped to say ‘yes’ and then name his ‘cabinet’ line-up for states which back him, to nom inate.
And if the grapevine telegraph, which swears it is clicking the gospel truth, has not got its facts twisted in a vile vine, then the race for the deputy president’s post will be a handful.
Kuala Lumpur HA have named their deputy hopeful as Ken Pereira, the former chief operating officer of Sapura, Malac ca will soon be naming Nur Azmi Ahmad and three-term vice-president Dr S.S. Cheema is also tipped to upgrade himself.
And there are many more hopefuls for the No 2 post, with many having personally met Tengku Abdullah with resumes to campaign for their cause.
But the many deputy hopefuls might also silently drop out from the race on Saturday as Tengku Abdullah is expected to name his choice and then it will be plain sailing for the chosen one.
As for the six vice-president’s posts, Sabah and Sarawak name their men as stipulated in the MHF constitution, while four more seats will be up for elections. Here, more than 10 names are expected to be thrown into the frying pan, with only four emerging unburnt.
Then there is the secretary’s post, with the incumbent Sgt Hashim Yusoff also having to work hard to defend his seat. KLHA have named Malay Mail copy editor Johnson Fer nandez as their man, and former MHF secretary T. Para malingam is also said to be interested in making a come- back.
Treasurer S. Sanjilatheeban, with the least exciting port folio as there is not much money to count, but lots of expenditures to account for, surprisingly, is also expected to be challenged.
There are 10 incumbent, and 30 state, Armed Forces and Police votes which will be highly sought after until nom inations close on Oct 25, and the ‘X’ is marked on the ballot papers on Nov 1.
The campaign period is short and sweet, but the cam paigning is already hard, bitter and sometimes below the belt as camps have already sprouted to woo for votes.
Whatever the outcome on Nov 1, new regime sweeps in or the wily old hands are voted in again, two factors are a reality. The elected representatives will have to re-brand the MHF from the hopeless federation it is today, and set a new benchmark on the pitch so that hockey lovers can finally stop referring to the year 1975.

Lame duck league hobbles on

THE TNB-Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) will hobble off today with League champions Ernst And Young squaring off against last season’s Division Two champions Penang-Nur Insafi at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
But if one compares the standard of the MHL with that of leagues run in Australia, New Zealand and Europe -- Malaysia will be akin a donkey running among race horses.
With only six teams in Division One, and nine in Division Two, it looks like either clubs are no longer interested in hockey or there is a lack of quality players to form more teams.
The National Juniors, preparing for the Junior World Cup which Malaysia and Singapore will co-host in June 7-21 next year, will also undergo a baptism of fire as they will face a torrid time against TNB-Cup champions Tenaga Nasional.
Ernst and Young, with 12 national players, are the front- runners for both the titles, while their strongest opposition is expected to come from Tenaga, who have six national players including No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar.
The dark horses in the MHL are Nur Insafi, who have hired two Bangladeshis and seven India players to strengthen their cause. Last season, they had three India players and won the Division Two title.
In Division Two, Bukit Jalil and Bandar Penawar Sports Schools will have their work cut out, as they will be playing against teams which have many seasoned MHL players.
TODAY: Division One -- Tenaga Nasional v National Juniors (KLHA Stadium, 7pm), Ernst and Young v Nur Insafi (National Stadium, 7pm), Maybank v Sapura (Seremban II Stadium, 5pm).
Division Two: Dolphins v UiTM (Lumut, 5pm), JLJ v Bandar Penawar SS (Tun Razak Stadium, 7pm), Royal Malay Reg iment v Bukit Jalil SS (Tun Razak Stadium, 9pm), Border Forces Club v Sultan Alam Shah School (Terengganu, 5pm).