Saturday, July 29, 2017

Lissek believes Malaysia can become an indoor powerhouse...

INDOOR SILVER .. Malaysian women pose with the Indoor silver won in Doha in April.

GERMAN Paul Lissek is so impressed with the Malaysian men's indoor hockey team, that he feels like hitting his head against the wall for not starting a programme 10 years ago.
  For, the Malaysian team are new to the game and only took it seriously when it was included in the KL Sea Games next month, but after a short stint the men are almost 'professionals'.
  The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) were initially shocked when the indoor game was included for the first time in the Sea Games, but took up the challenge, and now it might become a permanent fixture in the country.
  "The players have only been training seriously for months, but are playing really well and I ask myself -- if we had started indoor 10 years ago, maybe we might have been among the medallists in the indoor World Cup," said former national coach Lissek who has been roped in as an indoor consultant as the sport is strange to local coaches.
  The Malaysian men played in the Asian Indoor Championship in Doha in April and surprisingly, finished fifth. The champions are Iran, followed by Kazakhstan and Qatar.
  "That was April, but only a few months down the line, the Malaysian men look like they could have entered the Asian final and even beaten Iran to the gold.
  "That's how much they have improved," said Lissek.
  And now that a team has been formed, and the first international standard indoor venue in the country has been built at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Mitec), Lissek hopes the sport catches on like wildfire.
  "Indoor is Malaysia's chance to stand at the top of the Podium in Asia, and in the long run a medal at the World Cup. So lets continue with the programme after the Sea Games."
  As for the women, Lissek feels physical appearance could pose a problem.
  "The women are also very good but a little soft physically and that could cause some problems in tournaments. However, we will only know their true strength after they play against Indonesia and Thailand in the Games," said Lissek.
   Surprisingly, Malaysian women beat the odds to claim a silver in the Asia indoor Championship when they lost only 2-0 to Kazakhstan in the final.
  The men will have a final warm-up against Australian side New South Wales in the first week of August and it will surely show their true strength.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Soon ready for challenge...

NEWLY appointed Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) coaching committee chairman Soon Mustafa is game to take on the challenge of charting the sport's future.
  The two-time Olympian, 1984 Los Angeles and 1992 Barcelona, said that even though he has limited coaching experience, he has many ideas on how to improve the sport.
  "I will meet Terry Walsh (MHC Technical Director) soon to discuss some matters and get down to work after that. I have experience playing at the highest level and know what it takes to reach there.
  "So, even though I have limited coaching experience, I can contribute fresh ideas with the help of my committee members," said Soon, 54.
  Welsh is also on his committee.
  Soon said that previous chairman Datuk Ow Soon Kooi also did not have a coaching background, but ran the committee very well.
  "Ow is the same as me, both of us have limited coaching experience but Ow proved himself when the men's women's teams improved tremendously in a short span.
  "I have a strong committee from various background and we will work together to first impress at the Asia Cup and then the Commonwealth Games in preparation for the all-important Asian Games," said Soon.
  The Asia Cup will be held in Dhaka in October where ranking points will be on offer. India are the only team higher ranked than Malaysia, while South Korea, Pakistan, China and Japan have slipped below in the latest International Hockey Federation rankings.
  "We have to strengthen the ranking (at 12th presently) at the Asia Cup, as it would be valuable in the World League qualifier for the Olympics.
  "There is much more to be done, but I'm up to the challenge and will use the experience I gained playing for the country to help further improve the men's and women's teams," said Soon.
  Soon, who retired with 185 caps also played in two Asian Games and one Champions Trophy.
  Two women were included in the coaching committee to strenghten the women's team and they are Nuriza Sulaiman and former national skipper Nadia Abdul Rahman.
  COACHING COMMITTEE -- Chairman: Soon Mustafa; Deputy Chairman: Datuk Najmi Razak (MHC Independent Member).
  Members: Terry Walsh (MHC Technical Director), Alan Black (Coaching director, National Sports Institute), Tai Beng Hai (Development director), Yahya Atan (1Mas women head coach), V. Muralee Vasuthevan (Ministry of Education), Nuriza Sulaiman (Development coach, Pahang), 
Nadia Abdul Rahman (Ex-national captain).

MHC set two more targets...

MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal has set two more targets for the men's team, who moved up from 14th to 12th in the World.
  Now, Subahan wants the team to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics two years ahead by winning the Asian Games gold, and then break into the top-10 hockey nation in the world.
  In the latest International Hockey Federation (FIH) rankings released after the men's and women's World League Semifinals in London, Brussels and Johannesburg -- the Malaysian men were the biggest movers.
  However, the women still remain at 22 after finishing last among 10 teams in Brussels.
  "When I took over MHC after a 'good friend' asked me to do so, I had said that I will work towards taking the team into the top-10 in the world and now we are just two steps away.
  "The next target is to play in the final of the Asian Games, or better still win gold and qualify for the Olympics two years ahead," said Subahan.
  Malaysia last played in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and if they qualify for Tokyo, it would be a good 20 years hiatus.
  While Malaysia finished fourth in London and qualified for the 2018 World Cup in India, other Asian teams did not fare well.
  Four other Asian teams competed in London, but fared poorly as India finished 6th, Pakistan 7th, China 8th and South Korea 9th.
  "If we maintain this grip over the other Asian teams, I don't see any reason why we cant play in the final of the Asian Games," reasoned Subahan.
  Malaysia were the biggest winners in the latest FIH rankings as they leapfrogged two of its continental rivals, Pakistan and Korea, to move into 12th place.
 Korea dropped from 12th to 13th, while Pakistan are now 14th, Japan 17th and China 18th
  India are the higest ranked Asian team at No 6.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Farewell Logan Raj, welcome Soon Mustafa...

 FROM LEFT: Tai Beng Hai, Logan Raj, Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal, S. Shamala and Terry Walsh at the press conference.
 ONE FOR THE ALBUM... First selfie with scribe.
DOUBLE peace in exit....

MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) CEO K. Logan Raj has decided not to renew his contract, as he wants to head Down Under to be with his family and turn into a corporate man.
  The former national player held the position for two years with his renewal coming up soon, but he announced at the press conference today that he wants to call it a day.
  MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal also announced that Olympian Soon Mustafa will take over the Coaching Chairman's position which fell vacant after Datuk Ow Soon Kooi resigned due to health reasons.
  "First of all I would like to announce that the MHC has appointed Soon Mustafa as the Coaching Chairman and with his two-Olympics back-ground, we believe he is the right man for the job.
  "Secondly with sadness, I would like to state that Logan will not renew his contract with us as he wants to move on with his career and be with his wife who is already in Australia.
  "Logan's position will not be filled just yet, and I believe we have a strong administrative team in the MHC to do the daily work until we find a new CEO," said Subahan.
  Mustafa played at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1992 Barcelona Olympics when he was 21 and 29 years-old respectively.
  As for Logan, among his achievements was a silver medal in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.
  "After two years giving my best to Malaysian hockey as an administrator and before that playing for the country for 10 years (from 1997-2007) the experience has simply been wonderful.
  "And so it's with heavy heart that I make a move to Sydney, but I will still help out Malaysian hockey in any way that I can," said Logan.
  And with MHC Independent member Johnson Fernandez also calling it quits, MHC has appointed Logan as an Independent member who will help out whenever he can.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Matador's inaugural success...

MATADOR Hockey Club, coached by former national skipper and national coach Sarjit Singh, held their inaugural tournament at the Tun Razak Stadium on Saturday.
  It was a unique tournament as 'oldies', youth and children combined to make it a fun-filled learning experience.
  Six teams, named by the colours they wore, took part in the tournament with unique rules as well. Those under the age of 15, get two goals for the one they score.
  All teams had their equal share of oldies, youth and children and it was a learning curve for many who were as young as nine-years old.
  Children played on a full pitch, and were guided by the more experienced players, some with Olympic experiences like Maninderjit Singh.
  In the end, Team Yellow became champions by only letting in only one goal in seven matches.
  But like Matador Club president Datuk Harban Singh said at the end of the tournament: "Today, everybody is a winner and there are no losers. We plan to have another tournament in seven weeks time, and I believe in the long run it will benefit our youth."
  The team pictures speak for themselves... 
 NOTE: There were four goalkeepers who rotated for the six teams. Super effort by all four to play back-to-back for different teams.

 YELLOW .. Champions pose before the tournament
 WHITE... Had the most number of U15 players. 7 in total.
 BLUE.. with evergreen Tut-Tut
 YOUNGEST... Girl power
 RED ... And dangerous
 RUNNERS-UP.. Incredible Hulks
 CHAMPIONS .. Yellow power
 All in the family..

SELFIE Le Le Re...

Monday, July 10, 2017

Singapore being realistic...

Pic: K. Rajan

SINGAPORE hockey coach K. Rajan is being realistic by preparing his team to defend their 2015 Sea Games silver medal, as Malaysia are too strong for this region's teams.
  The men's and women's field hockey will see Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand competing against the hosts.
  And in the indoor event, the Malaysian men will be up against Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines. The women will play against Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines.
  Malaysia have set their sights on a clean sweep, and while three golds are almost assured, the women's indoor team are expected to receive a stiff challenge from Thailand.
  "Since Malaysia will be fielding their World League (Semifinals) team in the Sea Games, they are not our competitors in the Sea Games. We will focus on beating Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia to play in the final.
  "Realistically, these three teams are our competitors in the Games, and we are preparing to beat them," said Singapore coach K. Rajan.
  Rajan, a former Malaysia national juniors coach, is plying his trade overseas and after a stint in Thailand, he is the national coach for Singapore now.
  A report online had said that based on the 2015 Singapore Sea Games results, Rajan and his men have a chance of winning gold in Kuala Lumpur.
  But in 2015, Malaysia fielded their Under-21 side but still held SIngapore 2-2 and won the gold in a 4-3 shoot-out win.
  "Back then, we played an Under-21 team and the final was at home in front of a capacity home crowd.
  "Buy this time around we will be playing against a team which has qualified for the 2018 World Cup (by finishing fourth in the WL Semifinals in London).
  "Malaysia have the capability to score double digit wins against any Sea Games side which takes them lightly," said Rajan.
  Rajan and his men are down in Kuala Lumpur playing friendlies against club sides. They lost the first friendly 5-3 to a Malaysian team made up of former national players.
  "We will be back two more times to play friendlies against club sides in Malaysia are I believe it would be enough for us to reach our target of playing in the final," said Rajan.
  Malaysia are 14th in the World while Singapore are not even rated in the top 38 International Hockey Federation (FIH) rating.
  In the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) rating, Malaysia are fourth while Singapore 10th. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Datuk Ow makes painful decision...

THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) lost a sterling administrator when Datuk Ow Soon Kooi called it a day citing health reasons.
  The former skipper, and current vice-president as well as coaching committee chairman injured his neck in a car accident years ago and he never really recovered.
  In a text message to his coaching committee group Ow said: "Dear coaching committee members.. with a heavy heart I would like to inform everyone that I have stepped down from all posts in the MHC due to health issues.
  "I would like to thank everyone for their valuable input and contributions. It has been fun working with all of you."
  Ow did not answer calls, or text messages.
  However, during the Women's World League Round Two final match between Malaysia and Ireland at the Tun Razak Stadium, Ow did say that his neck pain is getting unbearable and he will quit after the Men's and Women's World League Semifinals are over.
  And true to his word, barely a week after the men finished fourth in London and the women 10th in Brussels, Ow quit.
  As a coaching chairman, Ow brought back some life in the men's and women's teams by bringing back Stephen van Huizen and appointing K. Dharmaraj as the women's coach.

Datuk Ow Quits MHC...

By S.S. Dhaliwal

In what can only be considered as shocking, Dato Ow Soon Kooi has tendered his resignation from all positions in the Malaysian Hockey Confederation,
A WhatsApp message from Dato Ow notifying his Coaching Committee members confirmed the sad news.

Dato Ow was elected as a Vice President of MHC at the AGM in 2015 and was also the Chairman of the Coaching Conmittee as well as a member of the National Team Management Committee.
The former national player and skipper has been largely credited with the revamp of the coaching set up as he pushed for Stephen van Huizen to be brought back as National Coach and played a key role in paving the way for the progress of the Women’s Team by appointing K. Dharmaraj as the coach.
Besides that Ow ensured professionalism in coaching and also looked into the welfare of the coaches.
A stickler for discipline and a workaholic, Dato Ow spent countless hours on the sidelines of the hockey pitch watching players undergo drills and playing matches,
He used to burn the midnight oil watching videos of the team in action, as he gave valuable insight to coaches, but never once interfered or influenced their tactics or training methodology.
His shock resignation, coming only a week after the national team qualified for the 2018 World Cup by finishing 4th in the World League Semi Finals, will surely be discussed largely in the hockey fraternity.
Although Ow has stated that his decision to resign was due to health reasons, observers believe that there is more to what broke the camels back and a man who had an illustrious career in the sport would never throw in the towel like that.
It is indeed a big loss for hockey to lose a personality such as Dato Ow who had much passion and dedication for the sport.
It is further learnt that a member of the MHC Coaching Committee had also tender his resignation as he was appointed into the Committee by Dato Ow.
Several others are expected to follow suit and quit the committee.