Thursday, November 20, 2008

Battle for the second spot

PIC: Ernst & Young players celebrate winning the League title.

LEAGUE Champions Ernst & Young will be involved in an academic match against National Juniors today, while the battle Malaysia Hockey League’s (MHL) second spot in tensifies.
Tenaga Nasional and Sapura, both tied on 12 points, have two more matches in hand before they complete their League fixtures.
And Sapura look like they have the easier path, as they play Nur Insafi today, and then National Juniors, while Tenaga will have to beat Maybank and Ernst & Young if they want to keep pace.
The League matches end this weekend, after which the six teams in Division One and top-two teams in Division Two play in the quarter-finals for the TNB Cup.
TODAY: Division One: Maybank v Tenaga Nasional (Serem ban II Hockey Stadium, 5pm); Sapura v Nur Insafi (KLHA Stadium, 7pm); Ernst & Young v National Juniors (National Hockey Stadium, 7pm).
Division Two: UNIMAP v JLJ (Alor Star, 5pm); RMR vs UiTM (Tun Razak Stadium, 7pm); BPSS v Dolphin (Bandar Penawar SS, 5pm); Alam Shah v BJSS (National Stadium, 7pm).

Coach to be appointed soon

THE National Sports Council (NSC) is on standby mode, while waiting for the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) to submit names of potential coaches to chart the future of hockey in the country.
And among the coaches who have been approached is South Korean Kim Sang Ryul.
“We are waiting for the MHF to submit a name to take charge of Malaysian hockey, and I believe they already have several names and will short-list soon,” said National Sports Council director of international preparations Ariffin Ghani.
The MHF council did not seek renewal of chief coach Sarit Singh, his assistant Gurmit Singn and goalkeepers coach Shahid Ali Khan’s contracts which expire on Dec 31.
And this has brought about a massive vacuum, and the names of a few former local coaches is being tossed around as Sang Ryul’s assistants.
MHF secretary Hashim Yusoff said they will get to the bottom of matters, once coaching chairman Datuk Poon Fook Loke returns from London.
“The coaching chairman is overseas and will return in a few days. A meting will be called and I can only start my work after the coaching committee submits their candidate or candidates,” said Hashim.
Hashim said the coach or coaches will then be called for an interview, before they forward the selected coaches’ name the NSC.
“The council did decide that they are in favour of a foreign coach, and we will see what the coaching committee can come up with.”
However, it is no secret that senior members of the NSC had a meeting with with Sang Ryul in Thailand, and the MHF is also in favour of the South Korean.
Sang Ryul’s last assignment was with China, who finished 11th out of 12 teams in the Beijing Olympics.
He was with South Korea for 12 years, 1988-2000, and his team delivered silver medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Sang Ryul to face a lazy lot

MALAYSIA hockey players are a lucky lot, because they have been coached by the best in the world for the last 20 years, but we only have Sea Games gold medals to be proud of.
Malaysia have the distinction of having played at World Cups, Olympics, Champions Trophy, Champions Challenge, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and our very own Azlan Shah Cup.
But right from the first whistle way back at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics until today, the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) trophy cabinet has yet to house the glitter of gold, other than the pathetic Sea Games ‘achievements’.
The impressive foreign coaches’ list is Australian Terry Walsh, German Volker Knapp, German Paul Lissek, and now South Korean Kim Sang Ryul.
And other than Knapp, the rest are internationally ac claimed coaches who many a player would envy just to shake hands with.
But Walsh ran the race of his life towards the airport, while Lissek faced many brick-bats but held on grimly, and his contract as a consultant expires towards the end of next year.
Then there were the string of local coaches who came aboard with much fan-fare, but were shooed out like flies when their charges played like novices at the international level.
The latest penalty stroke was awarded against Sarjit Singh, who started by training juniors for the 2005 Junior World Cup, and rose to the senior ranks in 2007, only to be unceremoniously dumped -- without so much as a telephone call or SMS from the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) or his paymasters the National Sports Council (NSC).
Sarjit, a former national player who was a terror in his heydays, is now hockey history material, so lets look ahead and see what Sang Ryul can offer.
The FIH Master Coach is credited with uplifting the standard of hockey in South Korea and China men and women, and will soon arrive to coach a team who is ranked 15th in the world, and have a major assignment in the Asia Cup next year.
He coached China who finished 11th out of 12 teams in the Beijing Olympics, and was with South Korea for 12 years 1988-2000 and his team delivered silver medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Sang Ryul is well-known as a fitness freak, and this is where he will find the going tough in Malaysia. South Korea and China players improved under Sang Ryul because they not only relied on the coach, but followed his training programme when left on their own.
In Malaysia, the centralised training culture is our biggest downfall. All the previous coaches found out, the hard way, that Malaysian players are generally a lazy lot, who only train when the coach is around and even when given even a 10-day break, they return with extra kilos.
A good example for Sang Ryul will be to watch the ongoing Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) where all the national players are playing in.
A majority of the national players have put on weight since started playing in the MHL, and are now overweight and sluggish.
And when Sang Ryul takes over, he will have to start from scratch and many players will find the going too tough to handle. This is the least of the coaches’ problems.
Among the present batch, there are many skillful players but only a handful of thinking players who can change the game-plan when defending or attacking.
Too much of side-line coaching has turned many of them into robots who consistently need to be told where to pass the ball, when to attack, and when to defend.
Sang Ryul is no rookie, he knows the Malaysian players like the back of his hands, as he has plotted many times to beat them when coaching South Korea and China.
He is coming in with his eyes open, but will still find himself facing his worse coaching experience, as Malaysian players have a knack of baffling the best in the sport.
Good bye Sarjit, and good luck to Sang Ryul.