Saturday, January 10, 2009

Last five minutes costly blunders

THE National Juniors were at the verge of snatching a draw against the Australian Under-20 side yesterday, but two quick goals in the last five minutes saw them lose 3-1.
The Juniors are in Sydney to play a series of friendlies and then compete in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) in Sydney from Jan 14-18.
“We were down 0-1 and equalised through a penalty corner goal from Faizal Saari and were looking good for a draw, but Australia scored two goals with five minutes remaining in the match.
“However, I feel this is the best match my charges have played so far, and the fact that they were all under-20, is a positive sign,” said Juniors coach K. Rajan.
In the under-20 AYOF, Malaysia will be up against the hosts, Great Britain and India.
The Juniors had seven penalty corners yesterday, and after Faizal scored the first, Rajan used Nor Hafiq Ghaffar for the other six, which were all direct flicks.
“We did not try and set-pieces, as we will be playing this Australian side in the AYOF. And the feeling after the match, is that we will do much better in the tournament proper.
Today is a rest day, while their third friendly is against Australian Institute of Sports tomorrow.
Malaysia also lost their opening friendly 2-0 on Friday against a senior Western Australian Institute of Sports (WAIS) team.

Coaching Committee forgive and forget

Former International Nor Azlan Bakar was given six months to obtain paper qualifications.

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) Coaching Committee chairman Dr Balbir Singh bit the bullet when he met state chairmen for the first time, and in the end, closed ranks on a number of pressing issues.
The committee, who were not consulted before coaches and assistants were named for the seniors, juniors and under-16 teams, did not make any changes, but decided to add more to the list.
And two former internationals who did not have any paper qualifications, were given a six-month grace period to do so.
“Agreed that the procedure of naming coaches before the coaching committee could meet state chairmen and get feedback was wrong, but for the good of hockey, all the appointments were ‘endorsed’ and more names were added to the pool of assistant coaches,” said Balbir.
National juniors assistant Lailin Abu Hassan and under-16 assistant Nor Azlan Bakar do not have any paper qual ifications, but they were given a chance to obtain them.
“We will be conducting courses soon, and we have given Lailin and Nor Azlan Bakar a grace period of six months to obtain their paper qualifications,” said Balbir.
The Under-16, coached by K. Dharmaraj, will see more school teachers roped into the pool of assistant coaches.
But the kid-glove approached stopped here, as Balbir said they would like to have a hand in selecting and endorsing the foreign coach.
“It has always been a practice for the NSC (National Sports Council) to find and name a foreign coaches, but we hope to play a bigger role this time. We should be allowed to check the coaches credentials, at the very least, before he signs his contract.”
And the coaching committee also endorsed another strict guideline for club and state coaches.
“From now onwards, only Level Three coaches can handle teams in premier tournaments like the MHL (Malaysia Hockey League) and the Razak Cup.
“And coaches for other tournaments must at least have a Level Two certificate to be eligible to sit on the bench,” said Balbir.
Before this, any interested party could band players and call himself a coach, and even compete in the MHL.
The other drastic change was the implementation of report cards for players at every level.
“We distributed forms to state chairmen to distribute to their coaches. The coaches will keep a database on all their players individually, and this will help us determine if a player is progressing, and warrants more attention, or is just passing his time playing hockey.”
All this recommendations, will be forwarded to the MHF management committee or council for endorsement, and this would, in a loose sense, place the horse in front of the cart again.