Monday, September 6, 2010

Back against the wall

By Jugjet Singh


ITS council gets more time to do the job, its secretary and treasurer are appointed on track records and not by votes of an election and finally after five years, a gold medal from an international meet in its cupboard.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) and its players seem to be heading in the right direction, and more can be expected if the 1Mas programme turns out to be a success.
The MHF elections are around the corner, Oct 30 to be precise, and who the states elect will hold the reins of hockey for the next four years and the new term will give them more time to implement programmes, or to make a bigger mess.
Council members unanimously decided to appoint their secretary and treasurer in their extraordinary general meeting last Saturday, and also agreed to extend the office term from two years to four.
That eliminates two seats from the contest, while MHF president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah will also be re-elected unopposed.
It leaves the posts of deputy president and four vice presidents to the ballot, while two more vice presidents will be appointed by Sabah and Sarawak.
The new council will then have full control of the 1Mas programme, which is a state-based project to unearth talent, and if they get full support from their affiliates, the Malaysian team should be able to produce better results than what is being achieved today.
As other than the Sea Games gold medals, which are also drying up as hosts like Vietnam, the Philippines and Laos do not include the sport, Malaysia last won a Four-Nation gold in Poland in 2005 and then the recent Five-Nation gold medal in France.
Never mind the fact that the teams we beat were all ranked below us, the fact that Malaysian hockey finally won gold is rejuvenating in itself.
Malaysia, ranked 15th, beat Ireland, Scotland, France and Poland to the Five-Nation gold medal, but just barely as all the scores were close and we were even hammered 4-1 by Ireland in one match.
But the national players can expect to have their backs to the wall when they play in the Commonwealth Games against India, Pakistan, Australia and Scotland.
After that, they have to beat mighty South Korea, India, Pakistan, China and Japan in the Asian Games if they hope to play in the 2012 London Olympics.
If they fail at the Asiad, it will be back to playing against the likes of Poland, France, Ireland and Scotland in the qualifiers.