Monday, May 24, 2010

They don't make teachers like Cikgu Siva anymore

By Jugjet Singh

THE don’t make teachers like V. Sivapathasundram any more.
Cikgu Siva, as he was fondly called, died on Sunday at the age of 68, leaving behind a hockey legacy which will be hard to match by others in Tunku Besar Secondary School (TBSS) in Tampin, Negri Sembilan.
I know it for a fact, as I played for him in the Under-15 and Under-18 squads in TBSS, where I studied from 1981 to 1987.
Siva joined TBSS in 1963, after graduating from Brinsford in the United Kingdom, and stayed put for the next 32 years until his retirement, making the store-room next to the school field as his second home.
His ‘room’ only had a squeaky fan, an old type-writer and a can full of cigarettes which he chain-smoked behind the closed door, and plotted the downfall of two Seremban hockey powerhouses.
St Paul’s Institution, who had hockey Gurus Lawrence Van Huizen and William Fidelis, and the late Datuk Ho Koh Chye in King George the Fifth (KGV) was just the right tonic that Negri Sembilan needed in those days to spur the growth of hockey.
The rivalry among the three schools was so intense, that the Seremban Town Field used to be packed to the brim, with even the sidelines encroached, when there was a match between TBSS and either KGV or SPI.
His first success in hockey was N. Palanisamy, who played in the 1971 and 1975 World Cups, and also the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
There were many others after that who were coached to become the best in the country, with the likes of brothers Lee Sien Lam and Lee Sien Hock, his son Dr Brian Jayhan Siva, Nishel Kumar; and 1982 Junior World Cup goalkeepers Azhar Epi and Mohamed Fadzil so name some.
His last product is current national No 1, and among the best in the world, goalkeeper S. Kumar.
Siva has also worked his magic as assistant secretary to S. Satgunam in the Malaysian Hockey Federation, the MHF Umpires Board Chairman, Secretary of the Negri Sembilan HA, and various positions in the Tampin District HA with the last being its deputy president.
He was also the hockey team manager for the 1995 Chiangmai Sea Games team, which was skippered by current national coach tai Beng Hai.
The list of umpires an hockey officials produced under his administration in Negri Sembilan is also impressive, and many were touched by his demise.
Siva made it a culture for hockey players in TBSS to have a stick with them at all limes, as the sport was played during Physical Education periods, and in the evenings from 4pm to 6pm.
He was also a visionary who saw the need to build a miniature cement hockey pitch in TBSS in the early 80s, so that his boys could train in an artificial pitch like atmosphere, and not be left out when they headed to Kuala Lumpur to play in tournaments.
After his retirement, TBSS took a beating from schools which they used to hammer earlier, and Datuk Taha of Gemencheh, rose to become the best school in the State after they received half an artificial pitch from the National Sports Council.
However, TBSS crawled back in the last few years, when a full artificial pitch was laid in the school and Siva’s former students returned to their alma matter to coach.
Siva was actively involved in developing youth in Tampin as recent as two months ago, but stopped when his health took a turn for the worse. A true coach until the end.
Hockey lost a great man, who worked in the shadows to elevate its standard without expecting to be rewarded, and he was never rewarded when he was alive, but received brickbats for being a disciplinarian.
He is also the reason why the MHF started Yayasan Hoki to help players who wanted to further their studies.
It came about when his son Brian scored straight As and wanted to pursue his ambition to become a doctor but scholarships were scarce.
Siva approached the then MHF Deputy President Tan Sri P. Alagendra for a solution, and in Alagendra’s own words: “If not for Siva, we would not have started Yayasan Hoki with Brian as its first recipient.”
After that, Yayasan Hoki came to the aid of many players who now hold degrees in numerous fields.
They don’t make teachers like Siva anymore, as he gave more than he took from everyone that he knew.

Sure death in Commonwealth Games

By Ajitpal Singh

MALAYSIA have been drawn in the 'Group of Death' for the New Delhi Commonwealth Games men's hockey competition. The team are in Pool A alongside world champions Australia, India, Pakistan and Scotland.
England, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago make up Pool B for the event scheduled to be played at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Oct 4-14.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) has said that the New Delhi Commonwealth Games should be treated as nothing more than a build-up towards the Guangzhou Asian Games (Nov 12-27) where the gold medallist earns a place in the 2010 London Olympic Games.
National coach Stephen van Huizen picked a pool of 30 trainees early this year with the intention of mixing and matching his players for both tournaments.
"Of course, the Guangzhou Games is top priority for all Asian teams including India and Pakistan who both are also competing in the Commonwealth Games," said Van Huizen yesterday.
"I have 30 players in my training squad. We will threat both tournaments with equal importance but the Asian Games will be given extra emphasis.
"We have not decided on the squad for either tournament. It will decided after a few international matches and the availability of players."
Malaysia have one confirmed tournament in Dahlian, China in July. Van Huizen is also looking at playing international matches in either Australia or Europe ahead of their two major assignments.
On the Commonwealth Games, Van Huizen said Malaysia are ranked fourth in Pool A behind Australia, India and Pakistan.
"No doubt it is a tough group. However, the other group is equally tough and so it does not matter where we are placed," said the coach.
"I am not in the position to set a target for this competition. It will be decided by MHF."
Malaysia have returned with medals on the two occasions they competed in the Commonwealth Games.
Hockey was included for the first time in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur edition, and the national team surprised with a silver medal.
Malaysia did not qualify for the 2002 Manchester Games but four years later took bronze at the Melbourne edition. In New Delhi, Malaysia will open accounts against India on Oct 5 followed by Pakistan (Oct 6), Scotland (Oct 8) and Australia (Oct 10).
THE GROUPINGS -- Men's Pool A: Australia, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Scotland; Pool B: England, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago.
Women's Pool A: Australia, South Africa, India, Scotland, Trinidad & Tobago; Pool B: England, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia, Wales.

Sabah are Division Two champs

DEBUTANTS Sabah emerged Division Two champions of the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior League when they beat Penang Frees 4-1 at the Pandamaran Hockey Stadium in Klang yesterday.
Sabah opened accounts in the fifth minute through Eldon Lemery before Harmesh Singh added a second in the 25th. Dick Chany Waili scored in the 50th minute to make it 3-0 but Penang reduced the deficit in the 58th minute through Mohd Shafirul Mohd Noor.
Ahmad Kafeel Ahmad Rashidi added the fourth three minutes from time to ensure Sabah the title and the winner's cash prize of RM7,000.
Sabah and Pahang finished on 21 points but the former won the title on goal difference.
The victory is a morale booster for the Sabah players ahead of next month's Malaysia Games in Malacca.
Team manager Azman Salleh said his team competed in the league for exposure purposes ahead of the Games.
"Winning the title is a bonus. It will definitely give my players the confidence for the Malaysia Games," said Azman in yesterday.
"We will face Bukit Jalil (Sports School) in the second stage and it will be a tough match."
FIXTURES -- Tomorrow, Q-finals: BPSS Thunderbolts v Ipoh City Council (Tun Razak Stadium, 4pm); UNIKL v Pahang (KLHA Stadium, Pantai, 4pm); BJSS v Sabah (Tun Razak Stadium, 6pm); Thursday: PJCC v BJSS Juniors (Tun Razak Stadium; 5pm).

Under-16 boys upset Dutch

THE national Under-16 team created a major upset in the Mannheim Four-Nation Championship when they edged favourites the Netherlands 4-3 in their opening match in Germany on Saturday.
Malaysia were down 2-0 after 14 minutes before Shahril Saabah reduced the deficit off a penalty corner conversion in the 16th minute.
Eight minutes later, Muhd Azrul Hasbullah converted a penalty corner set-piece to level proceedings.
In the second half, Malaysia pinned their opponents in their half and were rewarded with another penalty corner set-piece goal by Mohd Soffian Kamaruddin in the 38th minute.
The Dutch fought back and found the equaliser in the 51st minute before Muhd Azrul scored the winner for Malaysia seven minutes later.
Team manager Johari Abd Aziz said his players showed grit and determination to comeback from two goals down to win the match.
"A win over the Netherlands is a good result for them. I hope my boys will fight on in this tournament," said Johari via an e-mail yesterday.
In another match, Germany were held 4-4 by Belgium.
Malaysia were playing Germany in a late match yesterday.

Lucky break for Ryder...

PERKS COME WITH WINNING... Ryder Hesjedal of Canada and riding for Garmin-Transitions celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win Stage Eight of the 2010 Tour of California on May 23, 2010 in Westlake Village, California. Phot by AFP.