Sunday, February 14, 2016

Mike - A True Legend




Michael Francis Shepherdson , who passed away last night, was a rare gem as he skippered the Malaya teams of hockey and cricket in the 50s and 60s.

He could even squeeze in time to play as goalkeeper for Selangor's soccer team while playing hockey and cricket for the state.

He turned out for Malaya at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics in hockey and was selected by journalists for the World XI team.

Mike also played hockey at the 1958 Tokyo Asian Games and 1962 Jakarta Asian Games

The double international was a true son of TNB, as he retired after 33 years of service to the power giants.

His demise has left the sporting fraternity a void as he was truly a gentleman.
His sporting achievements are well documented and should be an inspiration to the upcoming sportsmen to to lean on to in their quest for sporting excellence.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

GOODBYE RAHIM






Abdul Rahim Ahmad was a no nonsense fullback, often keeping marauding forwards at Bay with his hard hit and tackles when representing MP Klang, Selangor and Malaysia.

The 59 year old Rahim passed away early this morning, leaving behind his family and scores of Hockey friends, many shocked upon receiving the news.

Rahim, who would have turned 60 and retired this August was passionate about the sport.

I last met him at the Juniot Asia Cup in Kuantan in November and he was in his usual element, talking about Hockey as if he was still a player.

I had the Honour and privilege of working alongside Rahim as he was attached to the media centre in the Sultan Johor Cup last year.

His friendly approach made it easy for him to handle those from the media fraternity and he also provided me with technical knowledge from the perspective of a player.

Rahim and I first got in each other's way during the 1986 Sukma when I sent off the late Sulhvinderjeet Singh, and Rahim was incensed. Yet he kept his players in check and showed leadership qualities.

At the Razak Cip in Terengganu, Rahin accidentally deflected the ball into the face of Brian Jayhan Sive and he was the first to go on his knees to help stop the bleeding from just above The Eye, showing concern despite being branded the hard man of Hockey.

Many youngsters in the likes of S.Sivabalan, Eugene Lee, Maninderjit Singh picked up a lot of pointers from Abang Rahim as he was fondly known amongst the Hockey  family.

The family has lost their breadwinner, Selangor has lost a great Hockey player and we have all lost a good Friend.

May God bless his soul and give strength to his family as we all  offer him a prayer.

Goodbye my Friend and till we meet again.

Monday, February 8, 2016

ITS NOW DATO AMIR




UniKL Hockey Club President Amir Azhar Ibrahim is now a Dato.

The quiet, unassuming founder of the UniKL Hockey team was bestowed the Darjah Indra Mahkota Pahang by His Royal Hoghness Sultan Ahmad Shah in conjunction with his birthday last week.

Amir is deserving of the award for his tireless work both at his corporate office at UniKL as well as on the hockey pitch.

Many a time in his early days of involvement in Hockey, one could see a unassuming Amir seated in the stands, more often then not with his Wife besides him.

Despite being a family man Amir would not let that get in the way of his love for the sport.

Amir was roped in as a member of the National Team Management Committee during the previous line up and currently is a member of the MHC Competitions Committee.

Amir has also successfully masterminded the construction of UniKl's Hockey pitch, aptly named the Tengku Abdullah Stadium in Bangi.

On the Hockey front, Amir always put the priority of the players in the forefront and the majority of the players of the National Juniors that went on to finish fourth in the 2013 Junior World Cup came from UniKL.

Daring to take up challenges is his forte and it is hoped that this award will spur him to do more for the sport.

We congratulate Amir for a well deserving award and hope that many more hockey players will benefit from his vision and desire in Hockey.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Part 2. How to improve MHL

Having touched on ways to improve the Malaysian Junior Hockey League, let us now try to see what awaits us for the MHL this year.

It has been reported that the MHL will allow Division 1 teams to field foreign players and limit the numbers of foreign players to five for the Premier Division and at the same time limit the number of national players.

Both these suggestions will not help improve the MHL but create more issues and eventually render the MHL as just another Hockey tournament.

The key words are make, create and innovate.

Let's take the word Make.

There is a necessity to make the league more competetive. Take a leaf out of the Badminton Purple League where the prize money for champions is a whopping RM1 million.

Now make that kind of incentive available to teams and not a meagre RM80,000.

Make it a plus factor for teams from more states to participate and increase the teams in the Premier League to at least 10.

Make changes to the format, play home and away matches to generate interest and increase the fan base.

Now we move towards create.

Importantly the MHL needs to create interests in the fan base and sponsors in order to be successful.

Start of by creating a platform to enhance Hockey amongst south East Asian nations, like Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Brunei.

Open the Division 1 to teams from these countries or only allow guest players from SEA nations.

By creating this platform we can surely expect Hockey to be contested at  the SEA Games in years to come.

There is a necessity to create regulations that will Ensure a level playing field for all. Time to get Creative with ideas out of the box.

And finally it's time to innovate the MHL.

Innovation comes with bold strategies such as changing the rules that will help the sport.

Why not seed teams and give 5 points for a win by lesser teams against the stronger opposition?

Innovate like the Hockey India League by counting field goals as double.

Change the composition to 9 players to allow for more space and encourage attacking Hockey.

Have the MHL run over a 3 month period of 12 weeks and not rush it within 7 weeks.

Food for thought? Nope these will ever be considered as it came from me.

DARE TO FAIL PODIUM

Malaysia’s Podium Programme

 

Congratulations to the young and energetic Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports, The Hon. Mr. Khairy Jamaluddin, for the successful, inspiring and motivational launch of the Malaysia’s Podium Programme for Malaysian sports.

 

The objectives of the Podium Programme are quite straightforward: 

• win Malaysia’s first Olympic Games gold medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,
• restore top 10 finish in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Jakarta 2018 Asian Games, 
• have 10 athletes in world top 6 ranking and 
• sustainable sporting excellence beyond 2020.  

 

The above programme is a safe and no-fail programme, because the objectives have always been there and have been achieved in the past and will be achieved with or without the Podium Programme. 

 

The first objective of winning Malaysia’s first Olympic Games gold medal is not realistic. Why not in Rio 2016 Olympic Games?  For 2016, there is Dato’ Lee Chong Wei, who has a realistic chance of winning the Badminton Singles gold medal. 

 

By 2020, with the retirement of Dato’ Lee Chong Wei, there is really no Badminton player in sight, (compared to the young players of Japan, China, etc.), who has the potential to win the gold medal.  It is the same with other sports, although if Karate is approved for Tokyo 2020, there are hopes.  Can the Podium Programme produce an Olympic Games gold medal in 2020, when Malaysia has even given up hope for winning in 2016, even before the Olympic Games? 

 

The table below show the medal tally of the Malaysia Contingent in the last 5 Asian and Commonwealth Games from 1998 to 2014.

 

 

    COMMONWEALTH GAMES

          ASIAN GAMES

 

Gold

Silver

Bronze

      Rank*

Gold

Silver 

Bronze

      Rank*

 

 

 

 

Gold

Total

 

 

 

Gold

Total

2014

6

7

6

12

12

5

14

14

14

13

2010

12

9

14

5

5

9

18

14

10

10

2006

7

12

10

8

7

8

17

17

11

9

2002

7

9

18

8

7

6

8

16

12

10

1998

10

13

12

4

4

6

10

14

11

11

• Rank: Gold - based on total gold medal tally.
• Rank: Total – based on total medal tally.

 

The table above shows that except for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Malaysia was ranked in the top 10 from 1998 to 2010, in both gold medal tally and total medal tally, with the best ranking being in 1998 when Malaysia was the host. For the Asian Games, the best ranking was 10 in the 2010 Asian Games with the worst in 2014 with a ranking of 14. If the ranking is based on total medal tally, then Malaysia is in the top 10 in 3 out of the 5 recent Asian Games, with one ranking of 11.  

 

As such the targets set by Podium Programme for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games are too low, as they have already been achieved in past Games. A more realistic target would be not to consider the ranking, but to use a target of 15 gold medals and 50 total medals, or ranked 8thand 9th for the Malaysian Contingent in both the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Asian Games, respectively. The reason for this is that the Podium Programme is a massive programme with at least 70 staff, comprising experts in all fields, both foreign and local, while in the past Games, the same targets were achieved without very much less staff and budget. 

 

The third objective of having 10 athletes in world top 6 ranking is also rather vague as Malaysia has already achieved more than this target today.  The athletes who have achieved 6th place or better world ranking are Dato’ Nicol David, Dato’ Lee Chong Wei, Divers, Track cyclists Azizulhasni, Archers, Lawn Bowls athletes, Sepaktakraw athletes, Karate athletes, etc. Here again the Podium Programme has set itself a target that has been achieved over the last 10 years at least. 

 

The condition that proven medallists in the Olympic, Asian and Commonwealth Games would be included in the Podium Programme, is rather puzzling.  Although they are proven medallists, some of them could be past their prime by 2018 and 2020. The terms and conditions for young and promising athletes, who are not proven medallists in the Olympic, Asian and Commonwealth Games, for inclusion in the Podium Programme, have not been specified.  This may well prove to be the Achilles’ heel of the Podium Programme

 

In the case of Team Sport, the Men’s Hockey team has won medals in past Commonwealth Games and Asian Games (not gold).  They have the potential of achieving a podium finish in the Cold Coast and in Jakarta.  Any chance of the Men’s Hockey Team being included? 

 

In conclusion, except for objective 1, winning the Olympic Games gold medal in 2020, the Podium Programme is a NO FAIL programme, for reasons stated above.  At the end it would be really difficult to evaluate and as such it would be deemed to be a success. To be fair, if any evaluation is to be done in 2020, it should be based on the amount of funds spent on the Programme and the returns on investment, based on realistic and challenging targets and not on the targets set by the Podium Programme itself. 

 

 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Podium Incomplete Without Hockey

It was injustice to leave Hockey out of the Podium Project launched in Tuesday.

The decision makers obviously do not understand the difficulties that the sport has to undergo in order to maintain its status as world level, looking only as the non performance in the past year as the yardstick to determine its omission from the multi million ringgit program.

When we decide on something, it is imperative to take a look at the past in order to learn and without history, we are nothing.

Some Athletes named in the Progran are beyond their shelf-live yet are included, with hopes is delivering gold at the Asian or CommonwealthGames.

Failure to win at Asian level does not mean that Hockey is not good enough, that is a fact that no foreign Consultants can deny, if they understand what Hockey has to endure to make it to the TOP.

Let's now state the case why Hockey should be in the program and I for one dare debate with any official of the Podium Project to justify their inclusion.

Hockey has played in the Olynpics since 1956, they made the 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1992, 1996 and 2000 editions of the Olynpics.

Hockey has featured in the 1973, 1975, 1978, 1982, 1998, 2002 and 2014 World Cups and this was done via merit and not invites or participation as the case of other sports.

At Junior level Malaysia were 4th in the 1978, 1982 and 2013 editions of the Junior World Cups.

Hockey has also delivered at Asian level, winning silver at the 2010 Asian Games, besides a host of bronze medals at the regional games.

So when it comes to deliver, Malaysia have done it, not that they are losers as the case of some sports which was developed by the country but even failed at SEA Games level.

The players of the 2013 Junior Word Cup squad form the core of the current national team and although they failed to make it to Rio, it was not because they were not good enough but we're not given the support to achieve it through a tough qualification process.

One has to remember that whe. Planning the 1998 CommonwealthGames team, the national side was give. All the support under the Jaya 98 Program and won a silver. They had played 52 international matches over sic months to prepare. And players were sent to play in overseas leagues to improve their ability.

Hockey as the 2017 Asia Cup, 2018 World Cup, Asian Games and CommonwealthGames to prepare for Abd they need the support to achieve a podium finish which I believe they are capable of.

The players need to be fiver the right motivation and that can come from setting the correct KPI for the team, and not by leaving them out.

You do not leave then out from a program and expect them to do well on their own, you have to provide them with a pathway towards aciuevibg the u possible as same may say.

Include Hockey in the program, set targets for them - a third place finish at the Azlan Shah Cup, a final spot at the Asian Chanpions Trophy, surely that is not asking too much Minister.

Give Hockey a level playing field and not punish them for the failures, help them and not leave the sport I. The lurch, only then we can claim we have sport excellence as our priority.

Let's not punish the current players for deeds or misdeeds of others, the sport has tremendous potential, so give them the support.

We have to take one step back in order to take two steps forward and let's sit down and debate this and not punish a sport just because of some characters that destroy the sport.

Hockey has and will deliver, it's a question of having faith in them.

So let's include Hockey, set then targets and help then a hive it, only the. We can safely say we have changed Malaysian sports, not by punishing then for something behind their control.

I have faith in Hockey, do I hear the same from your officials Niboster?

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, September 21, 2015

Naranjan needs your help

Long serving hockey official Naranjan Singh needs assistance.

He is currently warded at Pusat Perubatan University Malaya and is of urgent need of funds to undergo a surgery to implant a stent for his heart and needs RM10,000 for this.

Naranjan does not have the means to come up with that amount of money and this blog appeals on his behalf for donors to help by banking in money to his sisters account  Harvinder Kaur at  CIMB account number 14570009058527.

Please spread the word and assist him as the operation is on Wednesday.

God bless.