Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hockey Feast In October

It will be back to back Hockey for Malaysia this October and November.

From October 20 to 30, the Asian Champions Trophy will be held in Kuantan, Pahang.

The countries taking part are defending champions India, Pakistan, Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, Bangladesh.

A day later at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru, the Sultan of Johor Cup will get underway.

The junior invitational tournament from October 31 to November 1 will see Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, England and Malaysia  in the fray.

Across the causeway  from October 29 to November 6, the women's Asian Chanpions Trophy will be held in Singapore.

The five countries involved are India, Korea, China, Japan and Malaysia.

These three tournaments will give a perfect indication on where Malaysian Hockey is headed after several changes initiated by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation.

All the three Malaysian teams participating in these tournaments will be playing in the Australian National League in September/October.

The venue Abd dares for the Asian Champions Trophies were determined by the Asian Hockey Federation that met in Dubai on Thursday, chaired by its President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah,

The Executive Board of AHF also confirmed that for the Asian Champions Trophy ,continental ranking points will be awarded for the first time.

In addition countries that do not participate in the Asian Games , Asia Cup and Asian Champions Trophy will not be allowed to play in the relevant qualifiers for the World Cup and Olympics

The Asian Ganes and Asia Cup will remain as a qualifier for the World Cup and Olynpics.

A new logo for AHF was also presented and will be revealed soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Opening defeat Ain Germany for Nat U16





The goalkeeping department was a concern for the National Under 15 team even before they left to participate in the Whisun Cup in Germany.

And that stuck out like a sore thumb as Malaysia went down 6-1 to the German U16 side at Mannheim.

Keeper   Muhammad Hamiz was a bundle of nerves as he conceded soft goals due to his technical weakness as well as lack of experience.

Malaysia had 14 circle penat rations and only scored once as opposed to their opponents who had 16 penetrations and scored six times.

" We were let down by poor finishing and conceded rather soft goals," said coach Nor Saiful Zaini Nadiruddin.

" We knew about the weakness in the goalkeeping department and this is something we need to address as changes need to be made to the system.

" We played open Hockey and I have no regrets with the outcome as it simply boils down to our inability to score and defend well.

" These two areas will be worked on and it's something I hope to see some improvement in our next match against Holland.

Muhammad Zafri Afiq Nur Azlan scored the solitary Malaysian goal in the 59th minute.

Germany  had scored their goals through  no. 29, pc, m-10
Germany no. 26, fg, m-14
Germany no. 26, fg, m-52
Germany no. 24, ps, m-65
Germany no. 3, fg, m-68
Germany no.3, fg, m-70

Saiful said that his team had dominated play and the scoreline was not a just reflection of how the match went.

" We were on top of them for long spells but could not put away the chances," added Ssiful.

"It's a long learning curve and this defeat will give them an indication that the road to success at international level will come through sheer hard work and the desire to improve.

" I do not blame the keeper as it was his inexperience that led to the soft goals. That is why I kept him throughout the match so he would gain the exposure Abd learn from it."


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Nat U16 on right track

The National Under 16 team are on the right track towards gaining international exposure.

With the bulk of the players playing in their first overseas tournament, their ability to match their more physical opponents has warned the heart of coach Nor Saiful Zaini Nasiruddin.

Malaysia played the German National Under 16 team in a friendly on Thursday  and lost 2-0.

It was the lack of experience that clearly showed as Malaysia dominated play, awarded five penalty corners as opposed to Germany who had only one.

"Our  aim of coming here is to give players first experience about playing the game at international level," said Saiful when contacted in Germany.

" Overall I am happy with the performace plus players showed confidence playing at the international level

" We played more aggressively compared to the Germans who are physically bigger.

" Though we created chances, their keeper was on song and our poor finishing cost us the game."

The team is being prepared for the 2020 Junior World Cup and will play in the Wishun Cup in Mannheim 

Malaysia open their campaign against Germany on Saturday 

Friday, May 13, 2016

FIH GREENLIGHT FOR RANKING POINTS AT ASIAN CHAMPS TROPHY

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has approved ranking points for the Asian Chsmpions Trophy.

The decision by the FIH Executive Board that  met in April was conveyed to the Asian Hockey Federation on May 12.

This will surely raise the profile of the Asian Champions Trophy as since its inception in 2011, the event was not accorded any ranking points.

Prior to this teams in Asia could only gain World Rankjng points from  continental tournaments such as the Asian Games or Asia Cup.

And this led to some teams taking the tournament lightly by sending mixed or developmental squads.

With a higher profile, it can be rest assured that this years Asian Champions Trophy, slated from October 20-30 in Kuantan could see a more closely contested event, thus giving Asian Hockey the much needed boost.

MHC Chief Executive Officer K. Logan Raj welcomed the decision of the FIH.

" This is great news for Asian teams and it will surely make the tournament more competitive as well raise its profile," said Logan.

 " From our perspective gaining valuable ranking points will surely boost our chances of moving up the world rankings."

FIH also added that ranking points will also be awarded for the Asian Champions Challenge.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Report Card - Friday the 13 - Part 1

A year has passed and ironically the report card dates Friday the 13th as we evaluate the performances of the new MHC as it wants to be known.

This evaluation is done with an open mind, putting aside personal differences or friendship in the name of Hockey, so that in the end those who read it with an open mind will be receptive to the ideas and suggestions put forward.

It is not my opinion alone but done after consultations with The Hockey Senate, a loose group of individuals who only have one thing - a passion for Hockey that is second to none.

We will start with evaluation of the various Sub Committees of the MHC. Due to the absence of any published of public Key Performance Index, we shall depend on the various press reports, both before and after the new committees were formed on May 30.

The May 13 date was when the BGM was held and hence the one year report card.

Any improvement to the dire status quo can only be facilitated if we have a team of officials who not only love the game of hockey dearly, but also are prepared to sacrifice their time and commitment towards the cause. 

This must be done in tandem with properly planned strategies for the intention of revitalizing the National hockey team and installing the structure that can create world class players and officials. 

Therefore, all relevant stakeholders need to look at the following points in order for National hockey team to firstly survive and then for Malaysia to become World Class hockey nation:

NATIONAL TEAM MANGEMENT COMMITTEE

Has not done much as the national team has played in two major tournaments, at senior and junior levels.

Both ended up failures as the senior team failed at the Olympic qualifiers while the juniors failed to make the grade for the 2016 Junior World Cup.

The Committee should be monitoring the program better as it was clear that the teams did not play quality matches in the run up to the tournaments.

Imagine the Juniors played the SEA Games, SOJC and had a Kotean tour to show.

But are things being improved?

Not when we play the likes of Inner Mongolia and Japan. A point of contention..why not tour Europe or plsy with teams preparing for the Olympics?

The composition of the Committee should be looked at as those who can generate ideas and vet training programs should be included if making the national team is the KPI.

Hence this committee will only be awarded a "C" for their year in review and below are ideas to look into.

Foreign League Attachment

A minimum of seven (7) players to be attached in Europe and Australia first class league and the players selected must be below age of 23. These seven players will be the future backbone of the National team and the composition will be 1 Goalkeeper, 2 Defenders, 2 Midfielders and 2 Forwards and from this at least 2 players must be Penalty Corner Flickers. Modern hockey is all about Penalty Corners conversion and defending it. 

High Performance Unit

Employing a qualified and experienced High Performance Director with supporting staff to re-evaluate the followings:
National Teams’ Program
Fitness
Training Methodology
Technical and Tactical
Supervision & Monitoring
Adoption of Innovation
Technology Implication
Sport Science application 

Structure of National Teams and National Players Salary Structure

MHC needs to have four (4) National Teams in which are 2 National Senior Team (A & B) with two back up squad of Project 2020 and Project 2024 to address the next Junior World Cups.

A good National Senior Team must have internal and external pressure of players competing among themselves to make the grades. When the team has quality of 40 players, the Coaches could make proper decision and this will create “hunger” for the players to perform in training and matches. 

As for remuneration, every end of the month, this both teams will play a series of best of three and after the series the Coaches will rename the players for Team A & B. In doing so, each player is able to ensure that he:

Earns as many caps by being in first team
Sustains an achievable level of fitness based on scorecard
Gets rewards for winning and is penalized for not performing
The National Team A will play in all the major tournaments where else the Team B will address the lower ranked events such as Sea Games and other invitational tournaments.
Quality of Matches for Test and Friendly Matches
From now on any matches for National team must be at least ranked 8th and below. About 30-40 matches of such quality must be arranged. It goes for Senior and all the Project Squads.

International Exposure

And as for annual Sultan Azlan Cup and Sultan Johor Cup, the teams that are invited must be of great credential and I suggest all teams invited must be ranked 10th and above but the participating teams must send at least 80% of first team players and not development squads.

COMPETTYIONS COMMITTEE

Much was promised but in reality it has been status quo so far.

The much talked about revamps of the various national tournaments has yet to be done and the revival of the Hussein Onn Cup or having a Super League has yet to materialise.

The absence of a two year competition cake der is another sore point.

But there are plus points as they have a hands on Chairman in George Koshy who tries his best within his ability.

There are marked improvements in terms of calling of entries, holding of competitions as it is more Organised and well managed.

The introduction of the Tournament  Management Software has made things more professional and the number of teams participating has increased in age group tournaments.

For the effort it will be fair to accord the Committee a "A-".

And these are areas that George should pay attention to.

Malaysian Hockey Lesgue

Competitiveness of Malaysian Hockey League and Junior Hockey League 
These both events need to “rejuvenate” literally means to make it new and it means:
New Purpose
New Ideas
New Structural
New Mindset
New Image and Branding
Updated Rules and Regulations

When organizing the calendar, the importance of setting of the dates for such events which will allow high class foreign players to ply their trade in MHL and JHL. The best period for MHL is always from November to January and JHL from February to April. And 4 years of calendars (2016 till 2020) must be established to comprehend the quality of the tournaments.

This high level competitiveness will provide the National Coaches to gauge and undertake talent scouting for National teams. Therefore, all National Coaches must not be allowed to coach club teams and they must be doing selection and parting knowledge to club hockey coaches and ratifying national players’ mistakes from time to time. This is to avoid any conflict of interest at both levels and its effect on National Team program and quality of selection made by Coaches.

Benefit and Burden Rule Not Equitable
The system in place only seems to reward the players. This is being done in the hope that players perform. More often than not, the system of just paying and rewarding seems not to levy a great burden to perform. A system of penalty must be imposed to ensure that “benefit and burden” rule has an equitable role in the teams’ performance. A code of conduct must be established to curb the disciplinary and absenteeism issues. 

COACHING COMMITTEE

One of the most improved committees as they have at the very least given credibility to a coach.

Led by no nonesense chairman Dato Ow Soon Kooi, things like appointment of coaches early, holding coaching seminars, having a hands on approach are areas where this committee succeeded.

While there have been voices of disgruntled coaches on the appointment of coaches, the fact that changes were made shows the committee was analytical on the methodology in hiring a coach.

But coming up with a proper remuneration package for local coaches was a coup that should be applauded.

In terms of rating this committee deserves an 'AA' for their deliver ability and effort to think out of the box, though the appointment could have been more transparent as a global search could have yielded a wider pool.

Coaches

National Coaches
Must have minimum qualification of FIH Level 1
More than 10 years of Coaching experience
Must handled one of the National Team (minimum period of 4 years)
Quality Success Profile with a list of achievement with the various national team and at least has coached a Olympic or World Cup team and attain results.
List of know-how and experience on Technologies related to sport of hockey.
Latest training methodology taking into account of changing phases of modern hockey.
Manner of experience and interaction with supporting team such as sports science, fitness, physiology, strength, dietician and psychologist.
My intention is to ensure that the standard of hockey is returned to its former glory, so that some day it may even surpass it. It is a matter of national pride that Malaysia re-attains her position as one of the top teams in the world.
This appeal is done for the love of the sport, country and in the hope that the nation’s flag is always hoisted to fly proudly in the international hockey arena.

FINANCE COMMITTEE 

A committee that worked overtime to overcome the debts inherited. Their ability to convince sponsors and rake in the sponsorship is music to the ears. Despite the many constraints as they do not have a marketable product given the failure of the national teams, they have done very well.

But at the same time handing out gifts in terms of grants to states, especially the League grants must be re-looked as it does not serve the right purpose.

Reward states who deliver and perhaps this will be done in the coming year.

Still a great effort and it deserves a 'AA +" for its work.

ADMINISTRATION

An area that has been neglected these few years and has shown good improvement.

With Logan Raj at the helm, he knows that having a good relationship with states and stake holders as well as having a sound secretariat has done a world of good.

Despite working under constraints, Logan has managed to change perception of those who view Hockey negatively.

This blog was critical of his ability but over the last year he has shown tremendous resilience and made efforts to change MHC for the better.

With a more sound support, Logan, if given a free hand, could help shape the future of Malaysian Hockey.

But the departure of long serving staff is a matter of concern as it takes time to train capable replacements, something the sport does not have.

So overall the administration has improved with a 'A' and Logan deserving "AA".

We will stop here for today as there is much to read and digest.

There are many committees to look at in the next article, Media, High Performance, Development, Hockey 5's, Indoor Hockey, 1Mas, International Affairs and Umpires. 

Suffice to say only the Umpires Committee has done better then expected while the others have been a total failure to say the least. We will discuss them in the next posting.

And I will end with this phrase - “The price of excellence is discipline and the cost of mediocrity is disappointment”.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Magnificent 7 Grounded

None of the coaches dubbed as the "magnificent seven" will be allowed to coach or play for teams in this years Malaysian Hockey League.

The seven are national coach Stephen van Huizen, national assistant coach Lim Chiow Chuan, women's chief coach K.Dharmaraj, his assistant Lailin Abu Hassan, National Develpment team head coach Wallace Tan, Wonen Development squad head coach K.Gobinathan and 1Mas Director Tai Beng Hai.

In reiterating this stand, MHC Coaching Chairman Dato Ow Soon Kooi said that this condition was already made known to the coaches in January.

" They know our stand and I believe all wil adhere to the decision, " said Ow.

" All of then have a role to play during the MHL as they will have to monitor the performances of their respective players as well as scout for talent.

" Thus I hope the coaches will understand the situation and I hope their clubs too realise that as full time coaches with MHC they have to adhere to the regulations."

Teams that will be affected by this rule will be KL Hockey Clun ( Dharma and Lim) , Sapura ( Stephen and Beng Hai) as well as Uitm (Gobi).

While these seven cannot coach or play, some others will be allowed to coach or play in the MHL.

Amongst those who are still expected to play are Roslsn Jsmsluddin (KLHC) and Mohd Amin Rahim ( TNB).

Roslan is the goalkeeper coach for the Nstional Development Squad while Amin is the assistant coach of the team.

It will be interesting to see who will now handle high profile teams such as KLHC and Sapura.




Which is Which

Well two contrasting stories within 24 hours, both from reputable journalist. What to believe I shall leave to the readers to judge. Why this happens I have no idea.

This is from The Star ( online on Sunday night)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) will be completed in six weeks.
It will start in late August and ends on Sept 25.
“We need to complete the fixtures by Sept 25 as the national men and women’s players (development and senior teams) will be competing in the Australian National League (which starts on Sept 29),” said George Koshy, the competitions committee chairman of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).
The Division One and women’s league will start earlier. The two leagues will begin one week after the completion of the Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Sarawak from July 22-31.
George said they hoped to have eight teams in the Premier Division this season.
In the past few years, only six teams – Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC), Terengganu, Sapura, Maybank, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and Tenaga Nasional – took part.
“We hope that the two Division One finalists – TNB Thunderbolt and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) – last year will agree to play in the Premier Division.
“Right now, only Nur Insafi, who had previously played in the top flight, have agreed to move up. We will make a decision on this once we have received all the entries,” said George.
A total of 19 men’s teams – six in the Premier Division and 13 in Division One – competed last year. The inaugural women’s league attracted nine sides.

And this appeared in The Sunday Times

THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Competitions Committee still needs 10 more days to decide if the planned Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) would be held smack in the middle of the Olympics, or changed to a later date.
  In an earlier calender drawn up by the Competitions Committee, the MHL is slated to be held in August, but teams are crying fault, as they will not be able to secure foreign players form the top-twelve countries in the world who would be playing in Rio de Janeiro.
  The MHL teams would only be able to sign second stringers, and players from countries which did not qualify for the Olympics.
  "The Competitions Committee discussed about the MHL issue, and said they needed at least 10 days more to decide either to stick with August, or find an alternative date for it," said MHC CEO K. Logan Raj.
  The meeting also decided that Division Two teams also can hire foreign players, if they want.
  However, from the traditional MHL foreign list, only Pakistan, South Korea and Japan did not qualify for the Olympics and their players would be available for the MHL.