Monday, April 5, 2010

Lissek back at what he knows best

COMMENT by Jugjet Singh

GERMAN Paul Lissek is back in Malaysia after a brief stint with the Australian World Cup winning team, and the National Sports Council (NSC) has entrusted him to scout for under-14 talent across the nation.
Development was his strongest point when he was in Germany before becoming Malaysian coach for the 1998 Commonwealth Games, and he has come a full circle after a decade.
And there is more development news for hockey en thusiasts, as the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will embark on a nation-wide ‘Satu Mas’ programme, also aimed at the under-14 group.
Both the programmes, by the MHF and NSC, will not clash but compliment each other and start this month.
Lissek will conduct coaching clinics at Smart Schools, and identify talent, while the Satu Mas programme will see each state concentrating on 20 of their best for one year.
The budget for the Satu Mas programme is RM2 million a year, and it is projected to continue for at least five years.
The idea is simple, states select their coaches, who will pick the best 20 under-14 players and train them for one year, and receive RM10,000 per-month for the exercise.
With 14 states under the programme, 280 youth will benefit from the plan and in five years, Malaysia will have 1,400 hockey players from the ages of 14-19.
Doing the match is simpler than making it into a reality, but first, the MHF council needs to be commended for coming up with a plan.
But it will remain a plan, like so many before it, if the states do not make full use of this opportunity, as they only have to provide the coaches and players, while money will not be their problem, as the government has approved a budget for it.
The MHF, in reality, has been forced to conduct their own development work, as schools have not been supportive of hockey in the last five years, and only die-hard supporters like Anderson of Ipoh, Tengku Besar Secondary School of Negri Sembilan, Malacca High School, Setapak High School and a smattering of others have been consistently prodding their students to take up the sport.
Coming back to Lissek, the German was supposed to head for Pakistan after the World Cup, but changed his mind over security reasons.
He is no stranger to Malaysia, and Malaysians know him well.
All this while he held the wrong post, and finally after a decade of experimenting with him, the NSC realised that he is, at best, a development coach and should be left in that capacity.
The council meeting on Sunday endorsed Lissek and the Satu Mas programme, now lets see if it will produce the desired result in five years time.

Selvaraju not on training list

NATIONAL chief coach Stephen van Huizen has selected 30 players after watching the Razak Cup in Kuantan, and S. Selvaraju is not among them.
Selvaraju, a hard-running forward, did not play in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) as well as the Razak Cup, as he chose to play in the French League.
“I have given the training list to the MHF (Malaysian Hockey Federation) for endorsement and I was told they will make the announcement soon.
“I am not at liberty to disclose names, but all those who played in the MHL as well as the Razak Cup were eligible to be called up for national training,” said Stephen.
The newly appointed coach said he did not name Selvaraju because he does not know the players status.
“He chose to play in the French League instead of the MHL and Razak Cup so I do not know his progress. He was carrying an injury before he went to France, and since I do not know if he has recovered or not, I have left out his name.”
However, Jiwa Mohan, who is working and playing in Australia, will be considered if the MHF and National Sports Council (NSC) can foot his bill.
“Jiwa played in the MHL and his situation is different because of the cost factor involved. If the MHF and NSC are willing to foot his travelling and other bills, he will be considered because we have to important tournaments back- to-back and we need a big pool of players in training,” said Stephen.
Malaysia will play in the Azlan Shah Cup in a months time, and after that it is the Commonwealth and then Asian Games.
Team manager Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema, who was New Delhi during the World Cup, said this is Malaysia’s best chance to win the Asian Games gold medal.
“India and Pakistan are no longer strong sides and South Korea are only relying on fitness. I did not see anything special in the Korean side during the World Cup, and I personally feel that if Malaysia are to win gold in the Asian Games, this is the right time to make a serious push,” said Cheema.
An Asian games gold will take Malaysian directly into the 2012 London Olympics, without having to go though another tough qualifier.