Tuesday, September 29, 2009


"Men are only clever at shifting blame from their own shoulders
to those of others."

In what will come as a shock to some in the hockey fraternity, Malaysian Hockey can reveal that four senior players could well be shown the exit when the final squad for the World Cup Qualifiers is named next month.

And more shockingly, the dropping of these players has been on the cards since the Down Under tour in August this year.

It is learnt that some former hockey officials have played a key role in getting the players dropped from the team, an act that was agreed positively by the two coaches, Tai Beng Hai and Nor Saiful Zaini.

While the likely omission of Mohd Salehin Abd Ghani is to be expected, the three mainstays of the squad for the last few years, Chua Boon Huat, Azlan Misron and Ismail Abu will surely send tremors in the hockey fraternity.

A lobby of some sorts from officials opposed to the inclusion of these players seems to have gathered steam after Chua and Sallehin were given the nod, rather reluctantly by the Coaches, to play in the Austrian League.

Ismail and Azlan seem to have lost favour with the coaches, especially after Ismail had been absent from training for two days after the Raya break.

And the line up opted by Beng Hai in their friendly against the Project 2013 side seem to give a clear indication that the Gang of Four will not be on the plane for Invercargil.

The discarding of these players when the team has a realistic chance to qualify is indeed surprising. But more can be read into this decision.

It is as if the Coaches are buying an insurance to safeguard the team and MHF should they return from NZ without qualifying for the World Cup.

While the intention can also be construed as an effort to build a team for the future, must it be done at this stage, when we REALLY have a REALISTIC chance of making it to New Delhi.

Malaysian Hockey is well aware there will be denials and counter stories written with regards to this, even to the extent of naming two of these players for the team to face the Australians, there cannot be smoke without fire.

And why only now do they realise we need to build for the future?

And if it really was for the future, then why bother participating in the qualifiers in the first place, using our hard earned money for your experiments?


Having touched on the issue of the new conditions set by Yayasan Hoki Malaysia with regards to the Test Match cap issue, a clarification was sought from the International Hockey Federation and below is what is INTERNATIONALLY recognised. And the response from the umbrella body is clear for all those who understand English.

It is learnt that Yayasan Hoki Malaysia had introduced a regulation to do away with caps earned from Test Matches in March 2007 and that the MHF had agreed to this.

However everything was swept under the carpet and those who were directly affected, the national players were never briefed on this matter, despite the two years since MHF had approved it.

A clarification on this issue was also put forward to Tan Sri P. Alagendra who promised to look into this matter.

"We introduced guidelines with regards to matches as there were too many friendly matches that were deemed by some as Test Matches," said Alagendra.

"I am well aware that Test Matches are to be considered as international caps and the player concerned can come see me to resolve the issue. The matter will be discussed at the next Yayasan board meeting."

Definition of International Cap

Date of Issue: August 2009


Currently each National Association sets its own rules to determine what it considers an official international match for the purpose of recording caps for players. In addition, certain criteria are currently used to determine what is an official international ‘cap’ for an umpire.


For the purpose of consistency it is recommended that all National Associations use the following criteria to establish whether or not a match is an official match for the purpose of caps (for players and umpires):

(a) Outdoor and Indoor Internationals should be maintained and counted separately.

(b) An International match be defined as:

- an official match between national Senior A teams played in an approved FIH or Continental Federation tournament

- an official match between two Senior A teams that is registered with the FIH (ie Test Match series)

(c) For a Test match to be counted as an International it must be played in accordance with the FIH Tournament Regulations (ie maximum 16 players, normal time, formal Match Sheet, match controlled by Technical Official, etc.)

(d) For a Test match to be counted as an official International it must be registered with the FIH (ie A-Teams Inter-Nations Match Result Form, together with Match Report Form to be lodged with FIH).

Similar criteria to be used for number of internationals recorded for umpires, as well as for umpire upgrading purposes.

The same criteria to be used for Junior matches (U21), but any such matches should not be included in the Senior records of a player or an umpire.


Pakistan hockey coach Shahid Ali Khan believes that his charges will get two perfect chances this winter to put the national sport back on track after several frustrating years.

Shahid told ‘The News’ in an interview on Monday that Pakistan have ‘realistic’ chances of winning two international tournaments in France and Argentina later this year, adding that title-winning triumphs in the two events will be a shot in the arm for Pakistan hockey that has been struggling for survival in recent times.

“We have two very important tournaments coming up later this year and I must say that there are realistic chances that we can win both of them,” said the former Olympian.Pakistan, record four-time world champions, will be featuring in the World Cup Qualifiers in Lille (France) from October 31-November 8.

At number six in the world, Pakistan will be the top seeded team in the tournament that will also feature Japan, hosts France, Poland, Russia and Italy. The event’s winners will make the cut for the 2010 World Cup to be played in New Delhi in Feb-March.

Pakistan are firm favourites to lift the title in Lille as all other competing nations are ranked much below them in the international rankings. Later this year, Pakistan will compete in the Champions Challenge penciled in for December 6-13 in Salta, Argentina. The Greenshirts will join hosts Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, India, New Zealand and South Africa in the event that will serve as a qualifying event for the 2010 Champions Trophy.

Unlike the Lille event, winning the Champions Challenge will be a tough task for Pakistan in the presence of Argentina, India and New Zealand. However, Shahid said that if his boys played to their potential, Pakistan can shine in Argentina.

“I must say that our team has achieved marked improvement by playing in the Asia Cup final and beating England in an away Test series this year,” he said. “The boys are hungrier than ever and with real hard work, we can do even better in the coming tournaments.”

Shahid, who took over as Pakistan coach earlier this year, said that winning the titles in France and Argentina will boost Pakistan ahead of the World Cup in India. “The events in France and Argentina may not be the World Cup or the Olympics but they are crucial events and by winning them, we can really lift our hockey,” he stressed.

Pakistan’s preparations for the Lille assignment suffered a hiccup recently when their training tour of Europe was hit by visa-related problems. The national team was supposed to play Tests in France, Poland and Belgium from September 24 but it seems that the tour will be scrapped because of a delay in the issuance of visas.

Shahid said that his team was disappointed by this setback but was quick to add that the boys were focused on the Qualifiers. “We really needed the tour of Europe,” he said. “But even if we are not going the boys will be ready for the qualifying tournament as we will play some warm-up matches before it,” he said.

Monday, September 28, 2009


It is indeed a decision that will further irk the national players. For the Malaysian Hockey Federation has agreed with the decision by Yayasan Hoki Malaysia not to include Test Matches as part of the culmnation of international caps earned by the players.

In the past official Test Matches were considered as caps and could be included in the total number of caps earned for the benefit of claiming the retirement fund from Yayasan Hoki Malaysia, a body formed thanks to the brain child of former MHF Deputy President Tan Sri P. Alagendra.

However it is now learnt that the Test Matches cannot be included and this was also agreed upon by the MHF representative in the Yayasan Hoki Board last year.

The revelation came about when a former international wrote to MHF for his retirement benefits and received a form that clearly stated that Test Matches are not to be included in the final tally of matches he represented the nation in.

This is contrary to what was practised earlier as the players had included the Test Matches and players in the likes of Mirnawan Nawawi and Nor Saiful Zaini collected RM50,000, the maximum allowed, for having more then 300 caps.

The question now is, when was the decision made and has MHF discussed it before their representative agreed to the proposal at the Yayasan Hoki Board Meeting?

Above all, are all the national players plus management, including coaches, aware of such a rule and just how many players will lose out on their caps?


Having touched on two aspects, Competitions and National Teams, we move on to something that is of great concern to fans and critics of Malaysian Hockey.

The subject of administration will touch the raw nerve of every official in MHF but ironically everyone remains in a state of denial, and rather then improve things, even marginally, we see it sinking to lower depths, no thanks to some inept officials who continue to use hockey as a tool to expand their wealth rather then the standard of hockey within the country.

Of late the emphasis has been not hockey but rather trying to find out just who is the source of the stories published on this blog. Concentrated efforts have been made by an official who has gone around calling officials to try and find out just who spoke to me rather then make public the decisions that have been made.

That is why I keep saying that MHF officials never look at the larger picture, but rather paint a rosy picture for the benefit of the MHF President.

Well below are my opinions of MHF administratively:


Currently in shambles as information channeled out to the state HA’s is very slow.

Lack of understanding on the role of Secretariat as no proper planning conducted. Calendar for 2010 should have been discussed much earlier.

Website not up and running despite being launched some six months ago and poor communication and personal skills with State HA’s.

Unfocussed with last minute decisions, unable to ensure Sub-Committees function and poor relationship with government agencies as well as media and sponsors.


No clear financial guidelines and information on this made available to State HA’s.

Lack of initiative with regards to marketing the domestic competitions as well as international events.


Hardly hold meetings, only do so when Council Meeting is about to be held. Constitution requires a meeting every 3 months at the very minimum.

Wrong person in the right job. Lack of understanding of their roles as Chairman of the Sub-Committees.

No development plan made available to states despite ten months of committees being formed.

MHF Constitution was to be amended in line with advice by President but no draft provided as of yet

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Jose Brasa was roped in three months ago as a final attempt to save Indian hockey. Back from an eventful European Tour with the senior men’s hockey team, the Spaniard is cautiously optimistic about his stint here.

On the tour, India fought England and Belgium thrice each and Spain and Holland twice. The one win against England was impressive considering England had won the European Championship. India won two matches against Belgium, drew one against Holland and lost both matches against Spain.

Brasa almost resigned on the second day of his job, after a Sports Authority of India official allegedly misbehaved with him. The issue was later hushed up. There were other hurdles like the lack of equipment and coaches; goalkeeper Baljit Singh’s eye injury was also a major setback.

But Brasa is going ahead at full throttle. He put a sweeper in front of the goalkeeper, bolstered the half-line and asked them to defend as well as move up. He introduced multi-tasking for everyone, except the goalkeeper.

He is currently conducting a four-week national camp at Pune, ahead of the team’s training-cum-competition stint in Canada. The camp was not without controversy as the foreign trainer quit on the second day. Excerpts from an interview:

The European Tour was your first with the Indian team. Your assessment?

We made tactical changes and systemic ones, too. There is no multi-tasking. For example, forwards attack with no responsibility for defending and fullbacks have no role in attacking. That has to change.

Hockey now means a goalkeeper and 10 players. There are no individual defenders or midfielders. Everyone has to play close to the ball. Players have to run much more than before. Man-to-man marking is another key area.

You were not keen on the tour. What did you learn about the team while on tour?

Yes, I was not keen because we are still learning. We went with 22 players to give everyone exposure. It would have been better to start with equals and not stress the players to play against better teams. Playing better teams is a bad situation to learn. European teams were at their peak; they were ready to play the European Championship. We were at the start of our new season and the Asia Cup was three months ago.

I was surprised by the team’s competitiveness. They are fighters; all of them want to win. In Europe, we played all matches with man-to-man marking. There were initial problems, but the players settled down. They are very clever, skilful and experienced and are very keen to learn. They love being in the Indian national team. Their motivation level is very high, which makes my job very easy.

After seeing the team in action, where do you think they stand?

We still need to play a lot. The tour showed the players that they could beat any top team. So in the World Cup they can play any team with confidence.

What is the focus of the current camp?

We are receiving new players. I am unable to watch matches in India with the national championship getting cancelled. I saw a few junior World Cup matches in Singapore and have invited some of the players.

When will you finalise core groups for the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games?

The core group is already decided. Unless there is an exceptional player somewhere out there, I think most key players are here. It depends which of them learn and adapt to the new system faster. In the past, Indian players have been known as selfish players, unwilling to let go of the ball.

Is that a difficult habit to break?

No. I use a lot of mental training games. Every player has to play these games according to rules and since Indians like to win every game they do their best here, too.

How serious is the issue of conceding goals in the last minutes of a match?

It is a serious problem. There are two reasons physical and mental. For the former, we are now using rolling substitutes to ensure they are not too tired in the last ten minutes of the match. We can solve that in a few months.

There is a lack of concentration among Indian players; they are very emotional and passionate. When they are winning, they get excited thinking the match will be over soon. It is difficult to sort this out. It is an illness when it happens regularly, but on the European Tour we won or drew some matches we were losing. It was not the case in Chile [Olympic qualifiers] or during the Asia Cup.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


SCOTLAND head coach Russell Garcia admits it's time to blood new talent as his side continue their preparations for November's World Cup qualification tournament in Invercargill, New Zealand.

Scotland will face China, Malaysia, Austria, Wales and the hosts in the round-robin tournament.

But they will first travel to Banbridge, Northern Ireland for three warm-up matches from October 2.

The two sides last met in a 3-3 draw in the Celtic Cup in June before Scotland finished fifth at the EuroHockey Nations Trophy in August.

Jon Royce subsequently left the head coach post with Olympic gold medallist Garcia taking over the reins on a temporary basis.

Twenty Scots have been selected to make the trip to Banbridge, with five set to make their international debut.

And Garcia - who won Olympic gold with Great Britain at Seoul 1998 - admits the fixtures will provide the perfect breeding ground ahead of the trip to New Zealand.

"Ireland will be a real chance for less experienced players to prove themselves with a view to going to the qualifiers - but also looking ahead to the Commonwealth Games," said Garcia.

"One of the things that came out of the recent European Trophy was that the squad was too slow.

"This month the team is going through a speed endurance and strength phase and we'll work on core skills.

"I'm looking to see if the guys can perform physically at a high level of intensity in match games.

"They need to show they can make decisions under pressure. You can push young players to a point but if they're not ready, they're not ready.

"Ireland are playing well - they've developed their team and are ahead of where we are currently. It will be a tough challenge but good for us."

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Before the invitation or rather the entry forms can be despatched from the Malaysian Hockey Federation office in Bukit Jalil, this blog can reveal that Ernst & Young will not be participating in the MHL this season.

Infact if my source is right, the other team that could well sit out of the MHL will be Sapura.

Thus without the participation of these two big guns, it will appropriate to rename the Malaysian Hockey League to No Hockey League (NHL).

The decison by E&Y not to further participate was revealed on this blog after last seasons final where E&Y won the title defeating Sapura on penalty strokes.

And their non participation in the forthcoming league was confirmed by Team Principal (to borrow a term from Formula 1) George Koshy.

' A decision to the effect was taken and there will not by an E&Y team participating in the MHL this season. The players have been informed accordingly', was all that George was willing to say at this time.

While the absence of E&Y will be sorely felt, the rumours that Sapura will also sit out comes as a surprise given that it has been the mainstay of the MHL for years. Perhaps the departure of Maninderjit Singh who assumed the position of MHF General Manager has somewhat affected the defensive abilities of the team that have also lost the likes of Ken Pereira who was the backbone of the Sapura team for years.

So where does this leave the MHL which was to be limited to 8 teams by the MHF. The usual suspects in the likes of TNB, Maybank, RMR, Nur Insafi are likely to participate but the question mark is just who can afford the players offloaded by these two teams.

There is an attempt to form a new club side by a former international and UniKL could well participate if the fulfill the requirements in the rules that were left out by the MHF Secretariat over the years with the copy and paste techniques.

So will there be a MHL? Those in MHF will say yes but what is the point of having it just because to satisfy the ego of some people, might as well have the NHL.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Having touched on the competitions, we now move to the various national teams and provide a solution for them....


- To do away with long phases of centralised training and replace with short stints
- Players to be sent for attachment to foreign clubs by MHF with funding from NSC. Players will
no longer be allowed to decide which club they want to play for in foreign leagues
- Selective participation in International competitions with minimum disruption to domestic
- Realistic targets to be set - concentrate on 2012 Olympics with 2010 Asian Games target as
Bronze Medal


- Current team to be converted into National B team with inclusion of fringe players from the
Senior Team
- Players to be sent for attachment to foreign clubs by MHF with funding from NSC. Focus on
European Second or Third Division Leagues.
- Will participate in the MHL as a team for a maximum of 2 seasons (2009 and 2010) before
next Junior Team takes over
- Players from age group teams can be promoted to the National “B” Team on merit.


- Selection and preparation to start now with Coaches and Management identified by October
- A comprehensive training program, with three overseas exposures per year and participation
in international invitational tournaments determined early
- Will participate in the MHL as a team in the 2011 and 2012 season
- Initial target to qualify to 2013 Junior World Cup via the Asia Junior Cup


- MHF to initiate Asian level Under 16 and Under 18 Tournaments, possibility of being curtain
raiser for the annual Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
- A comprehensive training program, with three overseas exposures per year and participation
in international invitational tournaments determined early
- Will participate in the Under 20 and Under 23 Tournaments
- Initial target to emerge as the Asian Champions in age group competitions

Friday, September 18, 2009


Part 2 will appear on Sunday as I had to attend to family matters.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Ireland's Senior Men's team are in full flight of preparation for their upcoming World Cup Qualification (WCQ) which includes potentially eight test games in just a twelve day period, if all goes to plan.

The intensity of the programme also affords Coach Paul Revington a prime opportunity to survey his athletes in a match situation as they compete to gain a foot hold in the Irish WCQ squad come November.

Commenting on this new phase he said :

"After a satisfactory Summer of international Hockey, our Team faces the immediate next challenge of World Cup Qualification,and therefore another important phase of preparation. The games against France, Argentina and Scotland offer our Squad an immediate opportunity to assess our playing standards and for all players to stamp their quality within team performances. It will be a challenging phase of games in a very short period oftime, testing the strength of our squad and also allowing for a very intensive period of games and training for the squad."

First up Ireland play the French, ranked 17th in the world, in a double header on the 23rd and 24th September in Paris.

Just four days later Ireland are scheduled to play the world number 10's Argentina, however these fixtures are still awaiting 100% confirmation from the Puma's as to whether they will be in a position to make the trip to Ireland.

Regardless of the outcome Ireland will then take on Scotland in a triple header at Banbridge hockey club at the start of October.

Match Schedule

23rdSept Ireland v France (Paris) 18.00
24thSept Ireland v France(Paris) 14.30

28thSept Ireland v Argentina (UCD,Dublin) 20.30 TBC
30thSept Ireland v Argentina (UCD,Dublin) 20.30 TBC
1stOct Ireland v Argentina (UCD,Dublin) 20.30 TBC

2ndOct Ireland v Scotland (Banbridge, Down) 20.00
3rdOct Ireland v Scotland (Banbridge, Down) 18.00
4thOct Ireland v Scotland (Banbridge, Down) 14.00


Since the Malaysian Hockey Federation is devoid of ideas on how to improve hockey in the country, I have come up with some suggestions that could be considered by the Committees within MHF, or even the President if he cared to read the blog.

It is an open secret that some top MHF officials have started campaigning for the MHF elections scheduled for 2010 and are said to have interfered with the elections at the state level, Negri Sembilan being the perfect example as to how trips were made across the border by a MHF official to ensure some personalities are removed from the state HA set up for asking too many questions.

The ideas are not new, but never implemented despite there been so much discussions and suggestions on how to raise the standard of hockey in the country.

For starters, lets have a look at the domestic competitions which come under the purview of the Competitions Committee headed by MHF Vice President Datuk Rahim.



- Each Team must register 4 Under 18 players, of which one player must play at all times.
- Matches in Klang Valley to be played at one venue and not spread out to sustain spectator
- National players in teams to be limited to a maximum of six players, list to be provided based
on 6 months prior to MHL.
- States can adopt teams, for instance Sapura/KL, Maybank/Johor, EY/Perak, UNIKL/Pahang
- MHF to source for foreign players and offer to teams, could use government to government
initiative with Australia or Germany.
- Proper planning required so as not to clash with European Leagues
- Coaches must posses Level 3 and above.


- Compulsory for all states, with the exception of Sabah and Sarawak to participate in Junior
Hockey League
- MHF to provide travel subsidy to the State teams participating in the JHL.
- Clubs can continue to participate independent of the State HA’s.
- In order to create more talented players with maturity, teams are required to register and play
two Under-16 players in every match.
- To work with Air Asia on possibility of participation of teams from Sabah and Sarawak.
- Coaches requirement of qualification - minimum Level 2


- To introduce Under 20 Tournament and retain the Under 23 Tournament
- Age Group Tournaments vital. Hence must organize Under 14 and Under 16 tournaments
where participation to be made compulsory failing which no subsidy for Junior Hockey
- Teams will be provided with accommodation and internal transport for the tournament by
host state via subsidy provided by MHF
- Failure to participate can lead to sanctions
- Champions Schools to be organised at zonal level
- Razak Cup Competion - scrape the two division format and opt for two groups of 8 teams
- Razak Cup coaches Level 3 and all other Level 2

Part 2 will touch on the National Teams followed by the MHF Administration, Development. And yes tis stuff is copyright.

Monday, September 14, 2009


S. Selvaraju has made an impact in his very first match in the New Zealand League based on the press report below. And this augurs well for the youngster as he tries to win a place in the final squad for the World Cup Qualifiers this November.

The Midlands men's side led Auckland 6-2 with 20 minutes remaining before the visitors closed the gap to take some gloss off an otherwise convincing win against the side they beat in last year's final.

"It was winning ugly, that was the disappointing thing," said influential midfielder Lloyd Stephenson.

"It's about winning at tournament time but we expect a lot more of ourselves, given the depth of talent and experience we've got.

"We lost a little focus and our decision making was poor at times," he added.

At times it was very good as well Richard Petherick scored twice from well-executed drag-flicked penalty corners, Malaysian import Selvaraju Sandrakasi showed some exciting touches and they kept young Auckland dangerman Simon Child quiet for the majority of the encounter.

Sandrakasi earnt Midlands a penalty that Stephenson converted just before halftime to give them a 4-2 lead, with Raynesh Smith also netting after fine work from Nick Ross.

The second half highlight came when Stephenson hammered a defence-splitting diagonal pass for Sandrakasi to dive onto and deflect home, while Stephenson also helped set up Hugo Inglis for a neat finish.

Stephenson was enthusiastic over Sandrakasi's display.

"He's a good addition to the team. I think he gives us things we need, like a dangerous influence up front." Midlands men will start their tournament week in Christchurch with a match against Wellington on Saturday.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Jesus Garcia Pallares, who was roped in as the human performance analyst by Hockey India, has decided to end his contract with the national team.

Pallares, who was chosen by Jose Brasa for the job, has conveyed his decision to Hockey India.

"He has decided to quit for personal reasons. We were told that he got married recently and probably that's why he must have thought of ending this association," senior Sports Authority of India (SAI) official Praveer Krishn said.

Pallares' decision to quit has come as a surprise since Brasa had bargained hard for the trainer's services at the time of his appointment as chief coach. The authorities have now decided to use the services of MV Mathai as the physical trainer.

"We got the information on Pallares only on Wednesday. With the national camp already on, we decided to go with local trainers for the time being before hiring another permanent trainer," Hockey India secretary Md Aslam Khan said.

Pallares had accompanied the team on its European tour in July-August when the Indians played 'Tests' against Holland, England, Belgium and Spain.


The fixtures for the Malaysian team for the World Cup Qualifiers to be held in New Zealand are as follows:

7th November v Austria

8th November v Wales

9th November Rest

10th November v New Zealand

11th November Rest

12th November v Scotland

13th November Rest

14th November China

15th November Finals

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Should South Korea decline the Malaysian invitation to participate in a 3 Nation Invitational Tournament scheduled for next month, then it may well be only Australia that Malaysia will face in their final tune up for the November World Cup Qualifiers.

MHF are hoping to hold a 3 Nation Tournament and South Korea top the list as Pakistan and India have lined up Europe and Canadian Tours respectively.

And in a twist of events Chua Boon Huat and Mohd Sallehin Ghani have been given the greenlight to play in the Austrian League. The duo are expected to leave on Sept 17 for a week before a ten day stint early October.

However they will then have to convince coach Tai Beng Hai that they are worthy of a place in the final 18 for the World Cup Qualifiers in November.

' I am happy to be given permission and will fight for my place in the team,' said Chua.

'it is a good opportunity for me to look at the ability of the Austrian players and hope to provide as much info as I can to our coaches.'

While that was music to the ears of the players, some players in the national team have to explain why they have been missing from some training sessions since the team regrouped on Aug 31.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


There is a report in one of the Malaysian dailies that Engku Malek has quit the national team as he is recovering from an injury sustained in the Champions Challenge Tournament in July this year. Ironically the announcement was only made yesterday and all were kept in the dark as to his withdrawal when the team resumed training on August 31.

If the player was really injured, shouldn't that fact be verified by the National Sports Institute and why was he allowed to remain on the team for the last two months if there was no hope for him to recover in time for the World Cup Qualifiers this November? Why was he allowed to collect the monthly allowances?

Just how many other players are on this so called injured list? MHF should make public the team list and not keep it under wraps, especially since a joint Project Team Meeting was held last Thursday at NSC and the end result of the meeting was more "strange" then a John Grisham book?

Well, I can safely say that TWO players are on the verge of throwing in their towel as so far as the national team is concerned while another is expected to follow suit. That means four players would have quit, not taking into account the other two who were dropped for failing to recover from injuries in time.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


It was not a joint committee meeting between the MHF and NSC but a Project Management Meeting with regards to the preparation of the national team.

Strange because although the committee decided that it will not be beneficial to go on the Chona Tour, the final say lies with the MHF President as the alternative suggestion to hold a double 3 Nation Tournament will entail costs and only Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah can decide on that.

But the more stranger decision was to deny Chua Boon Huat from going to play in the Austran league. Chua has been offered an opportunity to play in the Austrian league, for a period of five days in September and 10 days in October.

It was a case of Chua missing just a couple of days training in September as he was to play matches on Sept 19 and 21 which would probably be a break from training given the fact that Hari Raya is going to be on during that period. And as for October Chua was required to be in Austria from 1 to 10 October and given that the China Tour could well be off it is indeed surprising that Chua was not given the opportunity to ply his trade in a foreign league.

More so is the fact that Chua was initially given the greenlight to play in the New Zealand League, an opportunity that S.Selvarajoo grabbed since Chua opted out due to personal reasons. So really the decision to deny Chua does not make sense as he could have picked up important info on the ability of the Austrian players who will line up against Malaysia in the World Cup Qualifiers.

When contacted Chua said that he has been informed of the decision and opted not to make any statement as he wanted to discuss the matter with team officials.

Efforts are underway to seek the views of coach Tai Beng Hai with regards to this issue.


Former national skipper S. Kuhan shares his views on the Malaysian team's chances for the World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand.

It really does not matter which group Malaysia is in. If you look at all the three groups, they all look tough. Being in a group with China and New Zealand is going to be tough.

New Zealand to me may have a slight advantage playing at home but we still have two months to whip up a formidable side. Teams like New Zealand and China have been playing quite well over the last few years, but I still believe they can be beaten.

The players must realise that playing in the World Cup/Olympics does not come easy and hard work and upmost comittment/dedication cannot be compromised. It is still very much possible to qualify and with proper planning , it certainly is something within our grasp.

A week ago England , a team no one gave a chance are champions of Europe.Despite all complaints and dissatisfaction about the national team (committment, attitude etc), every Malaysian sincerely wants our team to be in the World Cup.

So lets all work together, support the team put everyone's differences aside and hope our team qualifies.


President, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Qasim Zia has said that the 1st MCB Junior Hockey Super League, an under-18 event, will make a huge contribution to the pool of junior players in the country.

Speaking at a press conference with Secretary Asif Bajwa and other tournament officials before the league’s grand opening at the Hockey Club of Pakistan (HCP) here on Tuesday, the PHF Chief said: ‘The talent discovered here will be groomed for the 2010 Youth Olympics and the 2013 Junior World Cup.’

‘That is why we have picked only under-18 boys. We are taking Nadra’s help in verifying their ages. Nadra’s officials, who arrived here on Tuesday morning, photographed and fingerprinted each boy to check if there was any record of anyone’s identity card in their databases,’ he added.

While, stressing on the importance of working from the grassroots, the former Olympian said that the PHF will be organising several domestic tournaments in order to monitor the work going on at the junior level and its respective associations.

‘After the Benazir Shaheed Gold Cup (Oct 14) in Islamabad, we also intend holding an inter-academy tournament from Dec 13 to check the progress being made at the academies. This would be followed by the national championships, starting Jan 2, which would also be preceded by a tray championship from Dec 22 to Jan 1,’ he said while revealing their domestic programme for the coming few months.

Saying so, the 23rd president of the PHF reminded: ‘We have yet to complete a year with the PHF and you can already see so many wheels in motion. We have given some fine performances too in the recent past,’ he said while hinting at the silver medal in the Asia Cup and the England series win.

‘During this time, we also organised two women’s team tours which were not successful. The women can show better performance by more exposure, which we will be providing them in future,’ he added.

About the Super League, Qasim Zia announced that all the 10 teams taking part in it have been franchised starting with the host team of Karachi, which is now owned by City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal and the City District Government Karachi (CDGK).

‘Similarly, the Larkana team has been sponsored by Engro, Quetta by Maymar Builders, Multan by Colony Textiles, Lahore by Rose Petal, Faisalabad by Atlas Honda, Sialkot by Maak Sons, Islamabad by Bahria Town, Peshawer by Habib Rafiq (Pvt) Ltd and Abbottabad by Bio Amla Shampoo,’ he announced while adding that each team had been franchised for Rs1 million.

The tournament causing expenditures of up to Rs10 million includes Rs2 million in prize money with Rs700,000 for the winners, Rs500,000 for the runners-up and Rs200,000 for the third position holders apart from individual prizes for best player (Rs100,000), best goalkeeper and highest scorer (Rs50,000 each) along with a prize of Rs5,000 for the man of each match.

‘The money for organising this tournament has been generated from sponsorships and franchising alone and not from the PHF budget,’ he said.

About attracting crowds to the stadium during Ramazan, the federation chief said that they would be organising raffle draws with cash prizes of Rs10,000 each day for which the coupons will be sold during the halftime of the 9.30pm match.

According to the schedule, there will be three matches played each day under floodlights at 6.30, 9.30 and 11.30pm.

Qasim Zia also mentioned that they had assurance from Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) that there would be no power failures during matches.

While referring to a question about the conditions at the new Haji Camp, where the guest teams were to stay, Qasim Zia said that fresh arrangements have been made to shift the players to hotels.

Meanwhile, PHF Secretary Asif Bajwa said that the PHF was holding the event in Karachi as it considered it to be an important venue.

‘Karachi’s contribution to hockey in the past cannot be ignored. This is also why we have two hockey academies operating in the city. We hope to organise most high-profile and elite tournaments in this city alone,’ he stated.


At 2.30pm today, the Malaysian Hockey Federation will sit across the table with officials from the National Sports Council to discuss the national hockey team program. The joint committee, known as the JKK, will determine if the trip to China is necessary given the fact that Malaysia is in the same group as China for the qualifiers. Should it decide against making the trip, then an alternate will have to be decided, a 3 Nation Tournament in Malaysia or making a dash to Europe sometime in October to play matches that will provide useful input to face the likes of Wales and Scotland.

In addition, the committee is also expected to discuss the likely withdrawals from the team as the coach Tai Beng Hai has his priorities cut out and will want to know just how much the bosses will back him.

Perhaps the committee should also have the guts to make drastic changes to Malaysian Hockey and opt to concentrate and build a team towards winning the gold in the 2010 Asian Games, hence an automatic spot for the 2012 Olympics.

Let's just wait and see what the wise (most of the time unwise) personalities from MHF will do to hoodwink NSC.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Malaysian Hockey Federation never ceases to amaze me. For how can one explain their decision to enter a team for the South East Asian Cup which will be held from September 29 to October 4th in Bangkok.

This tournament, initiated by AHF is a replacement for the SEA Games where hockey is not contested this year, will see Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand contesting in the men's event while in the women's event Thailand will put up two teams and face Malaysia and Singapore.

AHF is still trying to get Brunei to participate and if that happens then the men's competition will be expended to five teams. And AHF had a tough time getting Malaysia to confirm its entry according to AHF Secretary General Tan Sri P. Alagendra, who said as of last Sunday MHF had not entered a team yet.

So coming back to MHF, just which team is participating, who is the coach, and we have 27 days, not taking into account the Hari Raya holidays, the fasting month.

So much for professionalism Nur Azmi Ahmad as you spend too much time hitting out at others then looking into the administration of MHF.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


The FIH has released the groupings for the 3 World Cup qualifiers.

Qualifier in France 31 Oct to 8 November in Lille

France, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Poland, Russia

Qualifier in Invercargill NZ 7 to 15 November

Austria, China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Scotalnd, Wales

Qualifier in Quilmes Argentina 14 to 22 November

Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Ireland, USA

A good draw for Malaysia and as we had said a couple of days back