Sunday, August 31, 2014

The AHF brotherhood...

THE Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) showed their brotherhood of 30 countries yesterday at their congress in Kuala Lumpur when all posts were won unposed.
   When nominations closed on Aug 21, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah became the AHF president unopposed, and so did incumbent treasurer Fumio Ogura of Japan.
   And yesterday, a multitude of withdrawals saw only five vice president’s and 10 council members remaining, hence no need for the members to cast their ballots as it was the magical numbers needed.
   For Malaysia, Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad and Manjit Majid Abdullah withdrew their nominations, while incumbent council members S. Shamala and Datuk Rahim Ariff were returned unopposed.
   Outgoing acting president Tan Sri P. Alagendra, who served as AHF secretary general for 18 years vacated his seat with dignity as FIH president Leandro Negre was present to bestow him with a special award.
   Alagendra was also made into an AHF honorary president for life.
    “First of all I would need to get a better idea about the strength of the AHF, after which the priority would be to make the region stronger as Asia is now far behind Europe and Oceania.
   “There is plenty to do to take Asian teams into the top six in the world, and also help countries which are still at a development state,” said Tengku Abdullah.
    He is also the FA of Malaysia as well as Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president. Tengku Abdullah is also a member of the FIH Executive Board.
   “I still stand by my decision now to seek re-election (in November) as the MHC president and I have a few names as replacement, but can’t reveal them at this juncture.
   “Also, by becoming the AHF president, I become an automatic FIH EB member so I will request the FIH to name another Asian candidate into their EB to take over my elected position,” said Tengku Abdullah.
    AHF Vice Presidents: Chaiyapak Siriwat (Thai), Seksenbayez Berikkazy (Kaz), Narinder Batra (Ind), Rana Mujahid Ali (Pak), Shin Jung Hee (S Kor).
   Council members: Datuk Rahim Ariff (Mas), S. Shamala (Mas), Mathavan Devadas (Sing), Bahram Shafie (Irn), Akhrat Rasool (Pak), Sumith Edirisinghe (S Lanka), Zuhair Alajmi (Oman), Abdur Rashid Sikder (Bang), Li Gao Chao (Ch), Masako kamisuki (Jpn).

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Merdeka Day D-Day..

FOUR Malaysian’s will face their destiny on Merdeka Day, as they will be strongly challenged for the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) posts they will be standing for in Kuala Lumpur Sunday.
   While Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah won unopposed as AHF president when nominations closed on Aug 21, MHC vice president’s Nur Azmi Ahmad, S. Shamala, Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad and Datuk Rahim Ariff will go through the motions.
    The other unopposed winner is incumbent treasurer Fumio Ogura of Japan.
   Tengku Abdullah is also an International Hockey Fed eration (FIH) Executive Board member as well as president of  the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHF).
   Twelve hopefuls will battle for the vice-president’s posts, while  the elections for council members, 10 in total, will see 18 individuals vying for positions.
   “We have been doing our rounds to garner support, and the feedback has been good for all four Malaysian’s,” said Manjit Abdullah.
    Nur Azmi and Shamala have been nominated for the veeps posts, as well as for the council positions with Rahim..
   Shamala and Rahim are incumbent council members.
   Tan Sri P. Alagendra, who has been AHF secretary general for 16 years, will vacate his post as it has been replaced by a CEO position which will be helmed by Tayyab Ikram of Macau.
    Alagendra is expected to be honoured for his contributions Sunday. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Inspector Kelvinder handcuffed...

FOREMER national player Kelvinder Singh tied the the knot with Remita Kaur at the Tanjung Rambutan Gurdwara on Saturday.
   Congrats Inspector Sahab...

Title number 8 for Perak..

PERAK defended their Razak Cup Division One title when they beat hosts Pahang 4-3 in Kuantan yesterday.
  And in Division Two Terengganu gained promotion to Division One when they hammered Armed Forces 5-1.
   Selangor will be relegated to Division Two next season as they lost 4-3 to Johor in the Division One seventh-eighth placing match.
    Perak won the other titles in 1966, 1973, 1985, 1987, 1990 (joint champions with Forces), 1992 and 2013.
   RESULTS:  Division One: Final: Perak 4 Pahang 3; Third-Fourth: Malacca 1 Kuala Lumpur 2; Fifth-Sixth: Negri 1 Penang 4; Seventh-Eighth: Johor 4 Selangor 3.
   Division Two: Final: Terengganu 5 Armed Forces 1;Third-Fourth -- Perlis 2 Police 4.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Razak Cup: Pahang looking for maiden title..

DEFENDING champions Perak edged hosts Pahang 2-1 at the group stage, so coach K. Yogeswaran is expecting a tough time when both the teams meet in the Razak Cup Division One final in Kuantan today.
   But the Division Two final between Terengganu and Armed Forces is almost a foregone conclusion, as the score was a 7-1 win for Terengganu in the pool match.
   “We won narrowly in the earlier encounter, and with home ground advantage, I believe Pahang will be the better prepared side in the final,” concluded Perak coach Yogeswaran.
   Pahang will be out to create history, as they have never won the Razak Cup Division One title even though the tournament is into its 52nd Edition.
   “It would be a great achievement for us to win the title and I believe my players have progressed well after playing a couple of tough matches,” said Pahang coach Izwan Suhardi.
   Pahang will bank on former national player Ismail Abu, who played in the World Cup in June to deliver, as he is currently the Division One top-scorer with six goals.
   As for Terengganu, another former player Faizal Saari has delivered seven goals, but even if he fails to fins the target today, coach Sarjit Singh has many other capable strikers to win promotion into Division One next season.
  TODAY: Division One: Third-Fourth -- Malacca v Kuala Lumpur (4pm, Pitch 1); Final: Perak v Pahang (8pm, Pitch 1).
   Division Two: Final: Terengganu v Armed Forces (6pm, Pitch 1).

Tengku Abdullah is now AHF president

TENGKU Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah will helm the Asian  Hockey Federation (AHF) after he was unopposed when  nominations closed.
   The incumbent treasurer Fumio Ogura of Japan was also  returned unopposed, but the five vice-president’s posts will  see 12 hopefuls battling it out on Aug 31.
   And elections for council members, 10 in total, will see a  circus of 18 individuals ving for positions.
   The AHF president’s seat was held by the late Sultan Azlan  Shah who had served from 1990, and Tengku Abdullah will  continue the tradition of trying to revive Asian hockey.
   Four other Malaysian’s will also stand for posts and they  are MHC senior vice president’s Nur Azmi Ahmad and S.  Shamala who have been nominated for the veeps posts.
   Nur Azmi and Shamala have also been nominated for the  council, where she is an incumbent, together with another  incumbent Datuk Rahim Ariff.
   The newcomer from Malaysia for the council post is MHC  vice president Manjit Majid Abdullah.
   “I can safely presume, from experience. that some of those  who have been nominated for vice-presdients as well as  council members will pick one post to stand,” said acting AHF  president Tan Sri P. Alagendra.
   Alagendra, who has been secretary general of the AHF for  the past 18 years, will be honoured at the AHF Congress on  Aug 31.
    “The rules have changed, and those above 70 are not  eligible to stand for elections, and also, the AHF will no longer  have a secretary general which will be replaced by a CEO,”  said Alagendra.
   The CEO is Tayyab Ikram of Macau.
   AHF have 30 affiliates, out of which Indonesia, North  Korea and Mongolia have said they will not be attending the  Congress.
   “That leaves 27 countries with two votes each. The pres ident, secretary general as well as treasurer does not have  voting rights.”
   In pasing the baton, Alagendra said: “Asian hockey is  facing a challenging time as European, South American as  well as Oceania countries have left us far behind.
   “The incoming ofice bearers will have their hands full  tryng to revive their members fortunes,” said Alagendra.
    Tengku Abdullah is also an International Hockey Fed eration (FIH) Executive Board member as well as president of  the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHF).
   But he has made a stand not to defend his president’s post  in the MHC during the last council meeting where he said:  “I’m moving to a bigger ship (AHF) and not abandoning ship  (MHC) as I try and help hockey at a larger scale.”

Friday, August 22, 2014

Div One: Perak-Pahang final..

FORMER national player Ismail Abu scored a hat-trick as hosts Pahang beat Kuala Lumpur 3-2 in the Division One semi-finals of the 52nd Razak Cup in Kuantan yesterday.
   Pahang will meet defending champions Perak in the final on Sunday, after the Silver State beat Malacca 4-2 in the other semi-finals.
   Ismail’s goals came in the 42nd, 46th and 64th, while the KL goals were scored by Zulhairi Hashim in the 49th and 52nd minutes.
   RESULTS: Division One Semi-finals: Perak 4 Malacca 2; Pahang 3 Kuala Lumpur 2.
   TOMORROW: Division One: Third-Fourth -- Malacca v Kuala Lumpur (4pm, Pitch 1); Final: Perak v Pahang (8pm, Pitch 1).
   Division Two: Final: Terengganu v Armed Forces (6pm, Pitch 1).

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Good Asian Games draw for Malaysia

NATIONAL chief coach Arul Selvaraj was all smiles yes terday as Malaysia received a favourable draw for the Asian  Games hockey in Incheon, South Korea, on Sept 19-Oct 4.
  Silver medallists Malaysia are drawn in Group A with South  Korea, Japan, Bangladesh and Singapore.
   Pakistan, the defending champions, are with arch-rivals  India, Sri Lanka, China and Oman in Group B.
    As for the women, Malaysia are in Group A with India,  China and Thailand. South Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan and  Hong Kong are in Group B.
   The Asian Games could be a turning point in Malaysian  hockey as not only will the gold medal take them into the  2016 Rio de Janeiro, but could also change Malaysian Hockey  Confederation (MHC) president’s mind from quitting the  body.
   Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah had announced  recently that he will quit the MHC after their Annual General  Meeting in November, unless the team wins gold in Korea.
   “I am happy with the grouping, and the team will take it as  a challenge to give their best and hopefully change Tengku  Abdullah’s decision to quit,” said Arul Selvaraj.
   And to do that, the team must trade in their 2010  Guangzhou Asiad silver to gold.
   The first step would be to finish top-two in Group A, and  that means Japan, Bangladesh and Singapore must be  beaten at all costs to enter the semis.
   And waiting for them in the cross-over would be either  India or Pakistan.
    But Arul and his men can’t take any team lightly: “We last  played Japan in the World League Semi-finals and it ended in  a draw and we needed to beat them in the penalty shoot-out  to finish fifth.
   “Paul Revington and I were the coaches then, and it is still  fresh in in mind. So we will not take any team lightly,  including Bangladesh and Singapore.”
   After finishing last in the World Cup without a single win or  draw, Malaysia went on to lose to Trinidad and Tobago 4-2 in  the Commonwealth Games.
   “I’m happy with the team’s progress (as he took over from  K. Dharmaraj recently) and the good news is that forward  Firhan Ashaari has recovered from an ankle injury and  everybody is giving their best in training.
   “As part of the build-up we will head to South Korea on Aug  27 for training as well as playing matches. I will name the  final squad of 16 after returning from the trip next month,”  said Arul Selvaraj.

Alagendra makes five Malaysian's wait..

FIVE Malaysian’s vying for positions in the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) will have to wait for another day, as acting president Tan Sri P. Alagendra refused to hand the nominations list even though entries closed on Wednesday.
   When contacted yesterday, Alagendra said there is no hurry to release the nominations: “Why should I release the nomination list today?
   “I will do it in the next few days,” was his curt reply.
   When pushed further, as five Malaysian’s were eagerly awaiting he said: “Ok, I will release it tomorrow (today).”
   Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has been nominated for the president’s post but even after nominations closed, he is in the dark if there is a challenger or he has won unopposed.
   With the demise of AHF president Sultan Azlan Shah who had served from 1990, Tengku Abdullah stood to try and keep the throne in Malaysia.
    MHC senior vice president Nur Azmi Ahmad will stand for the vice-president’s post, while MHC vice presidents Manjit Majid Abdullah and AHF incumbents S. Shamala and Datuk Rahim Ariff will go for the council members post.
  For the record, Shamala received the second highest vote four years ago, while Rahim will be defending his seat.
   Incumbent secretary general Alagendra will vacate his post as the new AHF constitution only allows for those below the age of 70 to stand for elections.

Terengganu-Forces Div 2 final

TERENGGANU whitewashed Kelantan 8-2 to emerge tops in Division Two of the 52nd Razak Cup in Kuantan yesterday.
   They will now play Armed Forces in the final on Sunday. Forces beat Perlis 2-1 to finish runners-up in Division Two.
   Even though the score looks impressive, Terengganu almost faltered after taking a 2-0 lead as Kelantan charged back to draw level at 2-2 before losing steam and letting in six more goals.
   Terengganu were demoted after finishing last in Division One last season: “We are looking for a promotion into Division One again, and are here to win all matches.
   “Even though we beat Forces 7-1 in the pool match, I believe the final will not be as easy, but we have enough calibre players to challenge for the title and promotion,” said Terengganu coach Sarjit Singh.
   RESULTS: Division Two: Terengganu 8 Kelantan 2; Force 2 Perlis 1; Kedah x Police x.
   TODAY: Division One Semi-finals: Perak v Malacca (8pm, Pitch I); Pahang v Kuala Lumpur (8pm, Pitch II).

Hafizuddin steers Pahang

Hafizuddin Desa scored a brace to steer Pahang to a 6-2 win over Negri Sembilan in  Group A to seal a place in the Division One semi-finals of the Razak Cup in Kuantan yesterday.
The hosts finished runners-up in the group with two wins and a defeat. They lost 2-1 to defending champions Perak in the opening match before they bounced back to beat Selangor 3-1.
Pahang will play against Group B champions Kuala Lumpur in the semi-finals tomorrow. KL topped the group with a 3-1 win over Malacca.
The other semi-finals match is between Group A champions Perak against Malacca.
Hafizuddin was on target for Pahang in the 48th and 57th minutes.
Sallehin Ghani (21st),  Haziq Fawwaz Ramli (41st), Ismail Abu (44th) and Hairul Nizam Abdul Rani (70th) scored the other goals for Pahang.
G. Kavin Kartik (16th) and Zabad Rosly (53rd) scored for Negri.
Pahang coach Izwan Suhardi said he had to field reserve goalkeeper Amirul Yusuf in place of injured Safiuddin Sharom and the subsitute keeper never let him down.
"Amirul was in top form for making a number of brilliant saves. Defender M. Vizayan was also nursing a knee injury but we still ll qualified for the semi-finals," said Izwan.
Perak top Group A by come back from a goal down to hold Selangor to a 2-2 draw.

Division One
Group A: N. Sembilan 2 Pahang 6, Perak 2 Selangor 2
Group B: K. Lumpur 3 Malacca 1, Penang 7 Johor 3
Terengganu vs Kelantan (6pm, Pitch 1)
A. Force vs Perlis (6pm, Pitch 2)
Kedah vs Police (8pm, Pitch 1.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Terengganu set to sail away in Div Two

TERENGGANU claimed their third straight win in Division Two of the Razak Cup when they beat Perlis 5-2 in Kuantan yesterday.
   After beating Armed Forces 7-1 and Police 4-1, Terengganu look set to walk away with the title.
   Faizal Saari (23rd), Baljit Singh Sarjab (28th), kamarul Anuar (31st, 57th) and Syamiru Aiman (69th) delivered for Terengganu yesterday.
   And the Perlis goals were scored by Azroy Azeman (44th) and Yunus Hussin (67th).
    Terengganu next play Kedah and Kelantan and look set to top Division Two and play in the final against the runners-up.
   RESULTS: Division One A: Selangor x Pahang x, Negri Sembilan x Perak x.
    Division Two: Kedah 0 Armed Forces 5, Kelantan 1 Police 2, Perlis 2 Terengganu 5.
   TODAY: Divison One B: Kuala Lumpur v Johor (8pm, Pitch I); Malacca v Penang (8pm, Pitch II).
   Division Two: Kelantan v Perlis (4pm, Pitch I); Police v Forces (6pm, Pitch I); Terengganu v Kedah (8pm, Pitch II).
    TOMORROW: Division One A: Negri v Pahang (6pm, Pitch I); Perak v Selangor (6pm, Pitch II).
    Group B: Kuala Lumpur v Malacca (8pm, Pitch I); Penang v Johor (8pm, Pitch II).
    THURSDAY: Division Two: Terengganu v Kelantan (6pm, Pitch I); Forces v Perlis (6pm, Pitch II); Kedah v Police (8pm, Pitch I).

Tengku Abdullah to quit MHC in November...

MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah will not seek re-election for another term when the Annual General Meeting is held in November.
   However, he is looking to jump onto a bigger ship, as he eyes the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) presidents post on Aug 31.
    He made the stand yesterday after MHC held their council meeting to discuss about amendments to their constitution.
   “I will not stand for MHC elections in November and this is an early notice to would be candidate(s) who are interested to take over the helm of MHC.
   “Yes, I am disappointed with some of the resent happenings (Malaysia doing badly in the World Cup as well as Commonwealth Games) but my decision is not solely based on that.
   “I have informed the council many times of my intention in the past, but if there is good news from the Asian Games, like a gold medal, I may re-consider my decision,” said Tengku Abdullah.
   He has been at the helm of MHC since Nov 2008, and under him, the Confederation has had a good time filling up its coffers, and the juniors have done well while the seniors qualified for the World Cup after 12 years.
    The MHC council, however, were unanimous in wanting him to stay on.
    “The council members still want him to helm hockey and this is a unanimous decision, as we try and coax Tengku Abdullah to stay on for another term,” said MHC senior vice president S. Shamala.
   When asked if he has a replacement in mind: “No, I don’t have anybody in mind, but the person must have a big heart and deep pockets.”
    There were whispers that Tengku Abdullah will hold a discussion with his possible successor after the council meeting yesterday but he neither confirmed nor denied about it.
   “News travels fast around here, but no, I don’t have a successor in mind.
   As for the AHF elections, nominations close on Aug 20, and the MHC have nominated Tengku Abdullah and at present it looks like he will be challenged by a candidate from Pakistan.
   “I am not jumping ship, just looking to move to a bigger ship which is the AHF.”
    With the demise of long-serving president Sultan Azlan Shah who had served from 1990, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah will try to keep the AHF throne in Malaysia.
   MHC senior vice president Nur Azmi Ahmad will stand for the vice-president’s post, while MHC vice presidents’ Manjit Majid Abdullah; and AHF incumbents S. Shamala and Datuk Rahim Ariff will go for the council members post.
   For the record, Shamala received the second highest vote four years ago, while Rahim will be defending his seat.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ramadhan's four for KL

RAMADHAN Rosli scored four goals as Razak Cup Division One silver medallists Kuala Lumpur got of to a roaring start by beating Penang 5-2 at the Kuantan Stadium yesterday.
    Ramadhan hit the target in the seventh, 17th, 21st, and 68th minutes while KL’s other goal was scored by Syafiq Sumantri.
   Mohamed Azrul (eighth) and Jamil Johari (56th) scored for Penang.
   Meanwhile, Razak Cup Tournament Director Daljit Singh said Kedah player A. Rajan will be suspended for one match after he verbally abused umpire Puvalagan.
   “After the Kedah-Kelantan match (which ended in a 1-1 draw on Saturday), Kedah reserve goalkeeper Rajan verbally abused the umpire and will serve a one-match suspension,” said Daljit, who is also the Kuala Lumpur HA treasurer.
   RESULTS: Division One B: Penang 2 Kuala Lumpur 5; Malacca 6 Johor 2.
    Division One A: Perak 2 Pahang 1; Selangor 3 Negri 4.
    TODAY: Division One A: Selangor v Pahang (8pm, Pitch I), Negri Sembilan v Perak (8pm, Pitch II).
    Division Two: Kedah v Armed Forces (4pm, Pitch I), Kelantan v Police (6pm, Pitch I), Perlis v Terengganu (6pm, Pitch II).

TM challenge for players...

By T. N Alagesh

MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has challenged the national team to silence their critics by bringing home an Asian Games medal.
Upset by a series of events which have seen hockey’s reputation taking a bashing in the country, Tengku Abdullah said the players must respond positively.
     While Malaysia’s 4-2 defeat to Trinidad & Tobago in the Commonwealth Games was the ‘highlight’, it has been a terrible year for the team with a poor World Cup campaign and losing two coaches.
    Paul Revington quit earlier this year while K. Dharmaraj was ‘rested’ after the Commonwealth Games.
     “Frankly, I am a little disappointed... upset. The national team did not meet my expectations in the tournaments. Now, it is up to the players to prove their worthiness in upcoming assignments,” said Tengku Abdullah in Kuantan yesterday.
    “For me, it boils down to the players as they need to change their attitude, lift their spirits, be physically tough, mentally strong and stay hungry for success.
  “It is now in the players hands and I hope they will prove they are title contenders during the Asian Games.
    “You can bring the world’s best coach to manage the team but it makes no difference if the players are not fired up to win medals. If the players want to play well, there is no better platform than the Asian Games.”
    Arul Selvaraj is the coach for the Asian Games, and the squad must make the semi-finals after they were downgraded to category B by the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).
    MHC, which has appealed, will only be reimbursed by OCM if the squad make the semi-finals in Incheon but Tengku Abdullah wants them to aim for the final.
    Meanwhile, forward Faizal Saari, who declined an Asian Games call-up but is playing for Terengganu in the ongoing Razak Cup in Kuantan, has been issued with a show-cause letter by MHC.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Terengganu 7 Forces 1

TERENGGANU continued their dominating run in Division two of the 52nd Razak Cup when they whipped Armed Forces 7-1 at the Kuantan Stadium yesterday.
   The win came at the back of a 4-1 whipping of Police on Friday, and Terengganu look set to keep the momentum when they meet Perlis on Monday.
   Yesterday, the Terengganu goals were scored by Sufi Ismat (sixth, 33rd), Faizal Saari (37th, 65th), Baljit Singh (49th), Ahmad Afiq (58th) and Syazuwan Firdaus (69th).

   The Forces consolation was scored by Razali Hazemi in the 12th minute.
   Today, the Division One teams begin their battles with defending champions Perak opening accounts with hosts Pahang.
   RESULTS: Today: Division Two: Terengganu 7 Armed Forces 1; Kelantan 1 Kedah 1; Perlis 4 Police 2.
   TODAY: Division One B: Penang v Kuala Lumpur (6pm, Pitch I); Malacca v Johor (6pm, Pitch II).
    Division One A: Perak v Pahang (8pm, Pitch I); Selangor v Negri (8pm, Pitch II).
    MONDAY: Division One A: Selangor v Pahang (8pm, Pitch I), Negri Sembilan v Perak (8pm, Pitch II).
    Division Two: Kedah v Armed Forces (4pm, Pitch I), Kelantan v Police (6pm, Pitch I), Perlis v Terengganu (6pm, Pitch II).

Friday, August 15, 2014

Faizal carries Terengganu..

A FAIZAL Saari hat-trick saw Terengganu beat Police 4-1 in Division Two of the 52nd Razak Cup at the Kuantan stadium yesterday.
   National player Faizal was dropped from the Commonwealth Games as well as the Asian Games but he proved his mettle in the second oldest hockey tournament in the country.
   Terengganu’s Ahmad Alif opened accounts in the third minute while Faizal scored his hat-trick in the 35th, 59th and 67th minutes.
   The Police goal was scored by Mohd Rizal in the 51st minute.
    RESULTS -- Division Two: Kedah 3 Perlis 2; Police 1 Terengganu 4; Armed Forces 3 Kelantan 1.
    FIXTURES -- Today: Division Two: Terengganu v Armed Forces (6pm, Pitch I); Kelantan v Kedah (6pm, Pitch II); Perlis v Police (8pm, Pitch I).
   Sunday: Division One B: Penang v Kuala Lumpur (6pm, Pitch I); Malacca v Johor (6pm, Pitch II).
    Division One A: Perak v Pahang (8pm, Pitch I); Selangor v Negri (8pm, Pitch II).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Men appeal for First Class..

By Devinder Singh
 (Note: This is the first time OCM has done this to hockey in the Asian Games)

MEN’s hockey may earn a reprieve should the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s (OCM) selection committee reverse its decision to place the sport under Category B for the Incheon Asian Games.
  Along with all team sports who have been approved for Incheon, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation would have had to foot the bill to send the men’s hockey squad to the Asian Games.
  However, hours after the OCM selection committee made its decision on Wednesday, MHC submitted an appeal to be allowed to travel under Category A.
  OCM president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’aafar said men’s hockey would likely be allowed to travel under Category A, subject to the outcome of a postal ballot of the selection committee members.
  “We took a look at their performance at the Commonwealth Games and other tournaments in coming to a decision to put them in Category B. They have been abysmal, put it that way, and they put in an appeal last night (Wednesday),” said Tunku Imran yesterday.
  “A point the selection committee may have missed out is the fact that they were silver medalists last time (in 2010). We are sending a postal ballot (to the members) to decide on any changes.
  “Category B, honestly, is only for them to pay in advance and if they get to the semi-finals, they would be reimbursed completely. They have to accept that they have performed abysmally.”
  The national hockey team have been in turmoil following their poor performance at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games which follows hard on the heels of the World Cup debacle, where they lost all their matches for the first time in history.
  National coach K. Dharmaraj was this week relieved of his duties amidst claims of a players’ revolt while juniors coach A. Arul Selvaraj was installed in the hot seat.
  Tunku Imran left out little hope for other team sports including football of being included in Category A though women’s rugby have made an appeal on the basis that they stand to lose an International Rugby Board grant if they do not play in Incheon.
  “Football has always been in Category B and we can’t really say that they are up there,” added Tunku Imran. “They are no longer kings of Southeast Asia and if they had won the Sea Games gold then it would have been a different matter.”
  The FA of Malaysia would only be reimbursed if the men’s Under-23 team reach the quarter-finals and the same goes for men’s cricket.
  Kabaddi, men’s rugby, women’s cricket, women’s badminton and beach volleyball would have to reach the semi-finals of their respective events to get their money back.
  OCM have identified diving, track cycling, bowling, karate, squash, sailing and wushu as medal contributors among the 24 sports Malaysia will take part in Incheon.

Razak Cup starts...

DIVISION One champions Perak will play hosts Pahang in the Razak Cup at the Kuantan Stadium on Sunday.
   The tournament, into its 52nd Edition, will start Friday with action from the Division Two teams for the curtain raiser.
   Fourteen teams will compete, with eight in Division One and six in Division Two.
   The only change from the last edition is that Kelantan will return to the fold while Sabah, who competed last year, did not send a team.
    Perak will head Group A in Division One with Negri Sembilan, Pahang and newly-promoted Selangor. Group B is made up of former champions Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Johor and Penang.
   Terengganu, who finished last in Division One last season, will play in Division Two with Armed Forces, Kedah, Perlis, Police and Kelantan.
   FIXTURES -- Today: Division Two: Kedah v Perlis (6pm, Pitch 1); Police v Perlis (6pm, Pitch II); Armed Forces v Kelantan (8pm, Pitch I).
    Tomorrow: Division Two: Terengganu v Armed Forces (6pm, Pitch I); Kelantan v Kedah (6pm, Pitch II); Perlis v Police (8pm, Pitch I).
   Sunday: Division One B: Penang v Kuala Lumpur (6pm, Pitch I); Malacca v Johor (6pm, Pitch II).
    Division One A: Perak v Pahang (8pm, Pitch I); Selangor v Negri (8pm, Pitch II).

Tengku Abdullah eyes AHF top post..

THE Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) nominations close on Aug 20, but there will be five Malaysian’s battling for positions in the Merdeka Day elections.
   With the demise of long-serving president Sultan Azlan Shah who had served from 1990, Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah will try to keep the AHF throne in Malaysia.
   The likely candidate to challenge Tengku Abdullah is said to be from Pakistan.
   MHC senior vice president Nur Azmi Ahmad will stand for the vice-president’s post, while MHC vice presidents’ Manjit Majid Abdullah; and AHF incumbents S. Shamala and Datuk Rahim Ariff will go for the council members post.
   For the record, Shamala received the second highest vote four years ago, while Rahim will be defending his seat.
   Incumbent secretary general Tan Sri P. Alagendra will vacate his post as the new AHF constitution only allows for those below 70 to stand for elections.
   “Malaysia has been the driving force in AHF with Sultan Azlan Shah at the helm, and I believe the best replacement would be Tengku Abdullah. I and three other Malaysian’s are standing for election to help Tengku Abdullah to administer the Asian body and take hockey to a new level in this region,” said Nur Azmi.
   Asian hockey are now whipping boys at the international scene, as even Pakistan, India and South Korea are struggling at the world level against second level Europen teams.
   “There has been a big slide in Asia and after the elections, AHF must work much harder to develop hockey not only at the grassroots, but also at the higher level as we used to be a power-house but now struggling to beat teams from Europe,” said Nur Azmi.
   And if Tengku Abdullah does not have a challenger by Aug 20, the other hopeful Malaysia’s will also be big winners on Merdeka Day.

Quartet out of Asian Games

By Ajitpal Singh
FORWARD Faizal Saari, Hafifi Hafiz, Ismail Abu and Kevin Lim were left out as newly appointed national hockey coach A. Arulselvaraj named his 20-member training squad yesterday for next month’s Incheon Asian Games.
Arulselvaraj, who will be assisted by Tai Beng Hai, retained 14 members from the team that finished last in the World Cup in May. Nine members from the training squad were also part of the Commonwealth Games team.
Faizal is taking a break from international hockey while Hafifi and Ismail quit the team after the World Cup. As for Kevin, the German-born who played in Glasgow was not selected.
Shahril Saabah will be groomed to take over Faizal’s responsibility as the team’s main forward.
“I will trim down the squad to 16 players for the Asian Games. I may opt to take only one goalkeeper to Incheon depending on the progress of the players in training,” said Arulselvaraj yesterday.
“I spoke to Faizal yesterday (Monday) about returning to the team but he said he would think about it first. I only need players, who still have the passion and are motivated to play for the country.
“I’ve named my training squad and there will be no late inclusions. As for Kevin, I haven’t had the chance to assess him yet.”
The trainees will likely head to Port Dickson today for a short camp before resuming training next week. The team will tentatively head to Incheon for a week-long training stint on Aug 20.
“We want to acclimatise with the conditions in Incheon. However, the trip is still tentative but I’ve written to our Korean counterparts for approval and friendly matches.
“My team may also play friendly matches with teams who are preparing for upcoming local tournaments.”
Arulselvaraj, who replaced K. Dharmaraj on Monday, is eager to prepare his team comprehensively after back-to-back failures in the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games. The Asian Games gold medallists will qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
The squad: S. Kumar, Roslan Jamaluddin, Hafizuddin Othman, Norhizzat Sumantri, Marhan Jalil, Fitri Saari, Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin, Shahrun Nabil Abdullah, Shukri Mutalib, Firhan Ashaari, Azlan Misron, Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor, Faiz Helmi Jali, Meor Muhd Azuan Hasan, Baljit Singh, Tengku Ahmad Tajudin Abdul Jalil, Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin, Shahril Saabah, Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, Razie Rahim.

Khairy unhappy over Dharmaraj episode

 By Fadhli Ishak
SPORTS Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has chided the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) for the way it sidelined coach K. Dharmaraj from the Incheon Asian Games on Sept 19 to Oct 4.
Khairy said he had no choice but to accept the move to replace Dharmaraj with Arul Selvaraj as interim coach and Tai Beng Hai as manager-cum-assistant coach but he made it clear he was not happy with the decision being made so close to the Asian Games.
The minister also claimed that information had been withheld from MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah by certain people within the association which in turn had led to the switch in coaches.
“I have to accept this decision although his (Dharmaraj) salary is paid by my ministry. I have been told they are looking for a foreigner as a permanent replacement,” said Khairy.
“I spoke to the president yesterday (Monday) and told him that to find yourself in a situation changing your chief coach 40 days before the Asian Games is not the ideal state of affairs.
“I told him that I think they (officials) have been concealing things from you and it has resulted in this.
“From what I see, MHC officials have not been reporting the real situation and as a result he (Tengku Abdullah) has been forced to take matters into his own hands and make a unsuitable decision considering the time frame involved.
“The report presented yesterday stated that there were issues that not only happened at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games but even before that.
“There have also been reports of players not respecting him (Dharmaraj) and him having the wrong approach.
“If the problems were there before, corrective action should have been taken.
“You know that there was no target set for the Commonwealth Games but you use it to fire him. Whoever it is (behind this), and I know who they are, really need to answer for this.”
Khairy acknowledged that Dharmaraj should be made accountable for the team’s performances but expressed his disappointment with how MHC has managed its affairs.
“Dharmaraj may have to go based on his performances but this is poor planning. Poor planning that should not be replicated at other national sports associations.
“After the Commonwealth Games, there has been a lot of finger pointing and I have said the ultimate responsibility is with me but I have to crack the whip.
“I am not on the field, I am not making operational decisions and I do not want to be making operational decisions.
“But I have to now because this is the sort of management and planning that is happening today.”
Under Dharmaraj, the national team ended last of the 12 teams in the World Cup without a single win or draw to show.
The team then hit another low at the Commonwealth Games when they were beaten 4-2 by Trinidad and Tobago, giving the latter their first win at the Games since hockey was included in the 1998 edition in Kuala Lumpur.

Koshy in shock resignation

KUALA Lumpur Hockey Association (KLHA) president George Koshy sent in a shock resignation letter yesterday.
After having served for six years as president, Koshy’s decision came on the back of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation’s move to replace him with Tai Beng Hai as team manager to the Asian Games in September.
“My work commitments has been increasing and I cannot find enough time to devote my time as president of KLHA," said Koshy.
“I have informed the KLHA council numerous times that I do not intend to seek re-election in the AGM which is scheduled for early next year.
“This will give KLHA time to find a replacement.”
When asked if his decision had anything to do with MHC naming Beng Hai as manager for the Commonwealth and Asian Games, Koshy said: “Not at all, for they have taken a load off my shoulder by naming another manager.
“I had my ups and downs with the national team (which he had managed since 2009), enjoyed every moment and am so damn happy we finally made the World Cup, which is a small step to moving back into the mainstream of the hockey world but I guess making it to the Olympics during my term was not meant to be .
“I wish them well in the forthcoming Asian Games,” said Koshy who was not even told earlier by MHC about him being replaced as national team manager for the Asian Games.
The KLHA council is expected to meet next Monday and is said to be bent on rejecting his resignation.
But Koshy is adamant. “My time is up and let someone else take KL hockey to greater heights,” he said.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Arul picks his soldiers for Asian Games

NEW Coach Arul Selvaraj named his 20 for the Korea Asian Games squad. List has three goalkeepers, one will be dropped and Arul need to drop one more player only to get his 18 for Asiad.

1 Roslan Jamaluddin (GK)
 16 S. Kumar (GK)
21 Hafizuddin Othman (GK) 
2 Norhizzat Sumantri 
6 Marhan Jalil
 7 Fitri Saari
 8 Izwan Firdaus 
11 Shahrun Nabil 
12 Sukri Mutalib
 13 Firhan Ashaari
 14 Azlan Misron 
15 Nabil Fiqri 
 17 Razie Rahim
 18 Faiz Helmi 
20 Meor Azuan
 22 Baljit Singh Charun
23 Tengku Ahmad Tajudin
 25 Ahmad Kazamirul 
26 Shahril Saabah
 30 Izad Hakimi.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Musical Chair pause for Arul...

COMMENT By Jugjet Singh

IN A game of musical chairs, Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah pressed the pause button again yesterday, and seated Arul Selvaraj onto the hockey hot-seat.
   For Tengku Abdullah was left with no choice as a group of senior players played to the tune of Rihanna’s Russian Roulette and blew Malaysia’s proud tradition in hockey into shreds at the World Cup and then Commonwealth Games.
   Player-power, as well as bickering officials, saw South African Paul Revington make a hasty exit after taking Malaysia to a fifth-finish in the World League Semi-finals in Johor Baru -- which was enough to warrant a seat in the World Cup.
   And then the music stopped for Dharmaraj as he was asked to dance to a new tune at the Azlan Shah Cup, the Champions Challenge 1, the World Cup and then the Commonwealth Games.
   But Dharmaraj’s style of handling issues among players, which were plenty during the four tournaments, was not music to the ears of some, and they took it upon themselves to destroy hockey in the country.
   And the three-chair musical game, is now left with a single stool, on which the MHC have placed Arul Selvaraj on, for a kamikaze mission to Incheon, South Korea.
    For everybody knows, that he needs to re-build a team inside of 40 days, with fitness the main bane, and it could turn out to be another nightmare.
    For the record Arul, a former national player, went abroad to learn coaching and in South Africa he found Paul Revington as assisted him. And when Revington moved to Ireland, Arul followed as assistant, and then Revington was hired by Malaysia and bingo! Arul was back home as a package deal.
   And when Revington threw in the Malaysian towel, Arul was left out in the cold, and juniors Coach-of-the-Year for 2013 Dharmaraj was made the seniors coach.
   Arul was ‘demoted’ to training the 2016 Junior World Cup team.
   The messy affair has now boomeranged, and Arul on the hot seat, while the MHC mull on what to do with Dharmaraj who has a contract until 2016.
   The story is still in mid-play as Dharmaraj wished Arul all the best -- with an “I’ll be back”.
    “I am all for Malaysia, not for myself, as I wish Arul all the best and hope the players give their best and win a medal at the Asian Games.
   “This is about hockey and not Dharmaraj, as I take a rest and maybe head to Europe and learn the trade from the best, as I will be back to help the country in the near future. I say thank you to MHC, especially the president, who has helped me in various ways when I was coaching,” said Dharmaraj.
    As for Arul: “I accept the post as a challenge, and even though I only have about 40 days to prepare the team for the Asian Games, I know the players well and will make a fast selection and release those not in need to play in the Razak Cup for their states.
    “Hopefully, we can settle issues and work on fitness and make an impact in the Asian Games,” said Arul.
    And even before Arul could warm his hot-seat, the music started playing for the interim-coach as well, because the MHC president also announced yesterday that they are in the hunt for a foreign coach.
   And when asked about the time-frame? Tengku Abdullah said “As soon as possible.”
    He then pressed the imaginary play button on his way out of the Press conference for Arul and “Another One Bites The Dust” blasted out from the speakers of the MHC musical chair Coach Opera.

Dharma out, Arul Selvaraj in...

PIC: Arul Selvaraj to replace Dharmaraj (right) who had taken over from Paul Revingtion (left).

THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) held an emergency meeting yesterday, and decided to sideline coach K. Dharmaraj from the Asian Games which will be held in Incheon, South Korea from Sept 19 to Oct 4.
    In his shoes, MHC has placed Arul Selvaraj as interim coach, while Tai Beng Hai will be the manager cum assistant coach.
   A gold medal at the Asian Games is a direct entry into the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and the MHC have set Arul a target of playing in the final.
   “After reading the World Cup review committee report, as well as watching the Commonwealth Games performance, I called for a special council meeting and it was decided that we replace Dharmaraj with Arul as interim coach, while Tai Beng Hai will be the manager as well as assistant coach (until an assistant coach is named),” said MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
   Malaysia, under coach Dharmaraj, ended as the Dirty Dozen out of 12 teams in the World Cup without a single win or draw to show.
   While at the Commonwealth Games, the team hit another low when they were beaten 4-2 by Trinidad and Tobago, who scored their first win at the Games since hockey was introduced in 1998 at the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.
   “This decision was taken based on result, as well as the team’s performance. But I would like to thank Dharmaraj, as he was pushed into this position when (Paul) Revington resigned.
   “Dharmaraj took up the challenge, but we did not do well in both the tournaments. The World Cup review committee report has stated many factors which led to Malaysia performing badly at the Hague, and without going into details, the step to replace the coach is among the remedies to move forward,” said Tengku Abdullah.
   While Tengku Abdullah said the report will not be made public as it contains many issues penned down by players in anonymous questionnaires, it was reliably learnt that player-power was among the reasons why Malaysia did badly at the World Cup as well as the Commonwealth Games.
    “I will have a chat with the players after this, and warn them to buck up. They must have the drive to play for the country, and in these days leading to the Asian Games if they do not show unity and commitment, Malaysia will pull out of the Asian Games, and I am serious about this,” warned Tengku Abdullah.
    “Lets all forget about any animosity or problems, and work together for the sake of the country. And we will decide what to do with Dharmaraj at a later date, as right now, planning for the Asian Games is of utmost importance.
   “He (Dharmaraj) has received a show-cause letter (for his outburst in FaceBook, and he has replied. We will consider at a later date if it warrants a Disciplinary Board referral,” said Tengku Abdullah.
   Dharmaraj had hit out at MHC officials on FB, just before heading to Scotland, by saying that they live on trees or caves and that’s why they do not understand why Malaysia ended last at the World Cup.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Under fire Dharma will quit

K. DHARMARAJ announced yesterday he would quit soon as coach of the national men’s hockey team following Malaysia’s disastrous showing in the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
But Dharmaraj, who has been subjected to much ridicule and derision from angry fans, said he would only step down after the Asian Games in Incheon, which is 45 days away.
The knives were already out for the national coach after Malaysia finished last in the World Cup in the Hague, Netherlands in June.
At the Commonwealth Games, the national team looked pathetic in several matches, and even suffered a humiliating 4-2 loss to lowly Trinidad and Tobago.
“I’ve made up my mind to quit hockey but give me until the Asian Games. Whatever the result, I will quit after that.
“All I am asking for from the Malaysian Hockey Confederation is to give me all the support in the next 45 days. I also want all my players back, including Faizal Saari and some of the seniors who quit.
“Let’s forget all the past problems in the team and work together for the Asian Games... that’s all I am asking for before I throw in the towel," said Dharmaraj yesterday.
The Asian Games gold medallists will get a direct entry into the 2016 Rio Olympics, a feat Malaysia last achieved in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
It is believed that Malaysia’s dismal show in the World Cup where they failed to win a single match was largely due to a players revolt.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

End to misery

By Vijesh Rai
THE men’s hockey team ended their sorry Commonwealth Games campaign with a win after beating Scotland 2-1 on Friday to finish seventh.
Victory was a pleasant surprise, not only because of the shock loss to Trinidad & Tobago and the heavy defeats at the hands of England and New Zealand, but also because Malaysia had been beaten 5-1 by Scotland in a friendly prior to the Games.
The squad leave for home tomorrow with coach K. Dharmaraj’s future under a cloud of doubt following the team’s 4-2 defeat to Trinidad.
The men emulated the Malaysian women team’s seventh placed finish, “achieved” after a 3-0 win on penalties over Canada in their classification match on Thursday.
The match had ended 2-2, the first goals Malaysia scored after a goalless group stage.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Malaysian men and women finish seventh

GLASGOW: The Malaysian women’s hockey team finished seventh in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games when they beat Canada 3-0 in a penalty shootout after both teams were tied at 2-2 in regulation time at the National Hockey Stadium.
On Friday, Canada took the lead in the 15th minute off a penalty corner goal by Abigail Raye but Malaysia fought back to equalise through Fatin Shafika Mohd Sukri in the 48th minute.
Canada regained the lead with a field goal by skipper Catherine Gills in the 55th minute but Malaysia again hit back, this time through Nurul Nabihah Mansur’s field goal in the 66th minute.
Both teams tried but failed to find the winning goal, forcing the game to be decided on penalties.
In the shootout Malaysia’s Juliani Mohd Din, Siti Noor Amarina and Silin Fazilla converted the first three attempts while Canada’s players fluffed their lines.
   The men beat hosts Scotland 2-1 to also finish seventh.
 Scott Chris Grassick put the hosts ahead in the 11th minute, but goals from Shahril Saabah (25th) and Ahmad Kazamirul (30th) saved the blushes for Malaysia.
   For the record, in the group stages, Malaysia beat Canada 2-0, lost to England 8-1, lost to Trinidad and Tobago 4-2 and lost to New Zealand 6-1.

Manjit: I will propose for change...

MANJIT (left)

NATIONAL hockey coach K. Dharmaraj has deleted his FB account, and now the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) might just delete him from the coaching set-up before the Asian Games.
   Dharmaraj, who walked onto a minefield before the Commonwealth Games when he posted on FB that the MHC management is very weak, and that it should not manage the hockey body like people who still live in caves, or on trees.
   He received, and replied to a show-cause letter on that FB posting days before leaving for Glasgow.
    Dharmaraj had written on his FB:
   “Kenapalah pentadbiran kita lemah sangat.... Susah sangat ke, nak didik semua.....
   “...Jangan lah mentadbir macam orang duduk dalam gua atau duduk atas pokok....”
   (“Why is our administration weak ... is it so difficult, to guide everyone...
   “....Don’t administrate like people living in caves or on trees...”).
    “In my personal opinion, Dharmaraj and the present coaches should be removed from the set-up before the Asian Games which is just 50 days away,” said MHC senior veep as well as coaching chairman Manjit Majid Abdullah.
   This came about after Malaysia lost 4-2 to Trinidad and Tobago, after being whipped 8-1 by England.
   “I will put forward that proposal in the next coaching committee meeting, and it would be up to the committee  to decide and endorse, if they approve of my motion,” said Manjit.
    The World Cup was also a disaster as Malaysia lost all their matches and ended at the bottom of the pool.
   Before the World Cup, 10 senior players had a meeting with MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and asked for the coach to be removed.
   An MHC official confirmed the meeting, but wanted to remain anonymous: “The meeting did take place and 10 senior players wanted Tengku Abdullah to remove coach Dharmaraj before the World Cup as they had many issues with him.
   “But Tengku Abdullah did not want to rock the boat, and the outcome is for all to see,” said the official.
   Manjit believes al is not well and there is an element of anger among the players which needs to be addressed before the Asian Games, which offers a ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
   “We need to address the situation fast, as there is distrust and other issues between the coach(s) and players. It does not look like we are ready for the Asian Games, but we need to have a team which will put up a fight, and not fight among themselves.
   “The new low was losing to Trinidad and Tobago, and now we need to rise from the ashes,” said Manjit.

Looks likeDharmaraj's days are numbered

By Aftar Singh

GLASGOW: National hockey coach K. Dharmaraj is as good as a “dead man walking”.
    The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) coaching committee chairman Manjit Singh Abdullah wants Dharmaraj sacked after the national team’s woeful performance in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
   The national team had, before heading for Glasgow, finished last in the 12-team World Cup in The Hague, Holland.
   They began their Commonwealth Games Group B campaign with a 2-0 win over Canada but it proved to be just a temporary respite.
   In their second match, the Malaysians were handed an 8-1 thrashing by England.
   Then came the straw that broke the camel’s back as Malaysia suffered a humiliating 4-2 loss to minnows Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, followed by another heavy loss – 6-1 to New Zealand on Thursday.
   The loss to world No. 29 Trinidad was the worst ever for world No. 13 Malaysia.
   It was the tiny Caribbean nation hockey team’s first win in the Games since making their debut in Manchester in 2002.
   As much as Manjit wants Dharmaraj booted out, MHC senior vice-president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad reasoned that it’s not as easy as that.
    “Although Manjit wants Dharmaraj sacked, we cannot simply terminate his services,” said Azmi in a telephone interview on Friday.
   “We have to study the two-year contract he signed in May just before the national team left for the World Cup in Holland.
   “We will get our lawyers to study the contract and see if there’s any clause that says we can sack him without paying any compensation.
    “We will have a meeting soon with MHC president Tengku Abdullah (Sultan Ahmad Shah) to discuss Dharmaraj’s future.
   “During that meeting, we will also study the national team’s World Cup report.”
   Nur Azmi admitted that the loss to unheralded Trinidad was unacceptable.
   “We cannot stomach the humiliating defeat. It is really demoralising to MHC and the nation.
   “We will meet Dharmaraj next week to find out the reasons for the team’s failure in the Games.”
   Asked if there is a plot among the players to undermine Dharmaraj, Azmi said that he too had heard such talk.
    “We need to talk with the players to know if they are indeed unhappy with Dharmaraj,” he said.
    Dharmaraj was appointed national coach in January when South African Paul Revington resigned.
   On Thursday, Dharmaraj hit out at his critics for condemning him and the team after their loss to Trinidad.
   He had said: “We all tend to assume that Malaysia are a great team when, in actual fact, we are not.”

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sacrificing for the future

By K. Dharmmaraj (Mas chief coach)

As told to Vijesh Rai after Malaysia lost their final Commonwealth Games Group B match 6-1 to New Zealand yesterday. The team will play Scotland in the seventh-eighth playoff. 

I WILL be slaughtered but the day will come when what we have done in the Commonwealth Games will be appreciated.
    Yes, we shouldn't have lost to Trinidad & Tobago but it was not because we didn't try but because they are not as weak as people seem to think.
   They have a drag flicker who is world class and he scored a hat-trick against us but this is not about Trinidad but about Malaysia.
   When I decided to bring a mixed squad here, it was because most of the players were exhausted after a really tough calendar.
   We played in the Azlan Shah Cup, Champions Challenge 1 and then the World Cup. Some of the players just couldn't play anymore and I recommended to the Malaysian Hockey Confederation that we send a squad consisting of players who were either making comebacks to the national team or were from last year's Junior World Cup.
   My recommendation was supported but unfortunately, results have not gone our way here but the fact that we are here with 10 players from the Junior World Cup squad can only benefit Malaysia in the long run.
   Australia, England and New Zealand are all in Glasgow with their best and if I was worried only about results, I would have brought our first team here.
   But I wasn't as I had to think about the welfare of all the players - the seniors as well as juniors. The seniors had played too much hockey while the juniors had not played enough hockey and the Commonwealth Games was the perfect avenue to expose the young players.
   I admit that the criticism after the World Cup hurt me and the players, especially as people seemed to forget just how we qualified.
   We only went through because Pakistan didn't understand the qualification process but once through, expectations soared.
   Some began to think that Malaysian hockey was right up there with the best but it isn't. If it was, we would have played in the last three World Cups.
   Unfortunately, many have forgotten and have made huge demands on the players, which have severely affected them and me. Some are even thinking about whether they should continue playing, such is the situation. I am bordering on depression and so are some players.
   As for allegations that there are players who are unhappy with me, all I can say is that this is news to me. No player has raised this with me and as far as I am concerned, the squad here and the one at home are like one family.
   I know that my position as national coach is under threat and I will accept whatever decision is made but all that I ask is for it to be remembered that I was asked to help out the senior squad at a time of crisis.
   The national coach (Paul Revington) had resigned and MHC asked me to fill in. I was supposed to assist until a replacement was found but instead was elevated to the senior job.
   In my reply to the showcause letter (issued after a posting on social media), I apologised to MHC but also said that I was willing to be redesignated to the juniors or grassroots if deemed fit.
   That still stands but as we (the team) are criticised, I am confident that our bold decision to field young players here will bring results.