Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Following this blog's disclosure with regards to UniKL approach towards the MHL, they have responded with a written reply which I am more then happy to publish. Below is the statement:
Dear Satwant,

This statement is made to clarify matters that were raised in several blogs recently regarding the coaching position, player recruitment and development plan of UniKL hockey club. I really hope that matters raised here will not take the highlight of the ongoing test matches involving the national senior and junior team with the New Zealand national team.

1. Post-Mortem Premier League 2009/10 and Junior League 2010

The progress made by the junior players in the squad has not met the desired level especially in the Junior League 2010 provided the opportunity and exposure given to the, during Premier League 2009/10 season. None of the Project 2013 players in the squad get the call up to train with the national team and only a few of the non-Project 2013 got the call up to train with the Project 2013 squad.

Hence, the management has embarked into some drastic approaches which include increasing competition in training, changing the coaching approach, use of latest technology, youth development program (age-group) and establishment of the “Sport Excellence Center”. A 5-year blueprint has been developed in June and got the endorsement from the top management.

2. Coaching Position

I.Vikneswaran (Vik) was part of the team that developed the 5-year blueprint. Initially in February 2010, Vik indicated to the management of his intention to leave the team to explore other opportunities. In search of a new coach, the management has identified Darren Smith, the current New Zealand National Assistant Coach as the most suitable candidate to replace Vik. However Vik changed his mind just before the start of the Junior League therefore the proposal to bring Darren in was abandoned.

However, Vik’s professional decision to join Sapura the week after Hari Raya holidays has caused the management to revive the process to recruit Darren to coach the UniKL Hockey team. An official offer was made and accepted by Darren. He will assume the Head Coach position after the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games. He will be assisted by the current Assistant Coach, K. Enbaraj.

3. Intensifying Competition / Role Model for Junior Players

The management has decided to recruit a few established national players and imports to boost competition and also inculcating conducive culture by them becoming role model to the junior players. The management has identified players that will form the spine of the team and will lead the development in the four main positions – goalkeeper, defense, midfield and forward.

To date, Baljit Singh Charun Singh and Selvaraju Sandrakasi (former employers or TNB) have joined UniKL and soon will be joined by a goalkeeper from New Zealand, a defender/midfielder from Germany (with Malaysian roots) and maybe another midfielder from New Zealand. Together with the regulars from previous season’s squad, they will form the spine of the team while being backed up by new junior recruits.

4. Junior Players

UniKL registered six (6) junior players for the previous 2009/10 Premier League. This year (2010/11 Premier League), a record 14 junior players (Under-19) will be registered with eight (8) actually being promoted from the Junior League’s overall champion team. Of the 14 junior players, nine (9) are Under-18 players that will form the spine of next year’s Junior League team. The exposure and experience they will gain from training and playing in this year’s Premier League will increase the quality of the junior player pool developed by UniKL.

5. Development Program

As a continuous development effort, UniKL will also embark into age-group hockey development program. The program that will be launched soon will complement the 1MAS development program that is being spearheaded by MHF. More information will be provided later on this program.

6. Student Involvement

UniKL is recruiting the current junior players to also become student of UniKL. For long-term measure, UniKL will use the age-group development program to recruit more players to become student-athlete of UniKL and provide them with the necessary support with includes academic guidance program, sport scholarship, accommodation, exposure to high-quality training and technology.

7. Conclusion

With this clarification, the claim that UniKL has given up on its objective to develop the future of Malaysian hockey is really uncalled for. This year’s Premier League squad has a lower average age (20) compare to last year’s team (22) but with an overall better quality players. UniKL accepts the increase in expectation due to the inclusion of foreign coach/players and two (2) national players but the underlying reason behind all this is still the development of the junior players that will one day become the aspiration for Malaysian hockey revival.


Manager, UniKL Hockey Team

Senior Corporate Planning Manager
Head Corporate Affairs Division
President's Office
Universiti Kuala Lumpur


The second friendly match between Malaysia and New Zealand at the Tun Razak Stadium was played minus the thunderstorm that affected play in the first match that ended in a 2-2 stalemate.

And not only was the bad weather missing, so was the top officials of the Malaysian Hockey Federation as there was no member of the Royalty present nor was there a VVIP that they had to show off to.

Ironically, with the exception of one paid staff of the MHF, the others too were indisposed or adopted the " tidak apa " attitude towards the national team that is preparing for the Commonwealth and Asian Games.

Missing on both days was the Deputy President Nur Azmi Ahmad who is the Chairman of the National Team Management Committee.

Perhaps this has largely due to the fact that the President is not in the country and the MHF campaigning has kept him busy as he tries to ensure he remains on the hot-seat for another four years.

Malaysia defeated New Zealand 3-0, but what was more commendable was their overall performance as they defended in numbers and were fast in their counter attacks.

So back to the national team that none of the top brass cares for. It was a marked improved performance as they managed to dominate large spells of the match with a controlled display of skills and tactical planning.

Malaysia had 14 players in the line up that lost 2-1 in the crucial World Cup Qualifier in Invercargill while the Kiwis had 13 players from that match.

A minute before halftime Mohd Shahrun Nabil burst through on the right and unleashed an unstoppable hit into the roof of the net, something Kelvinder should have done when presented with a similar opportunity early in the match.

Malaysia trooped off the pitch leading 1-0 and that would have pleased the coaching staff.

In the 41st minute, Mohd Amin Rahim made it 2-0 from Malaysia's fourth penalty cornet. Prior to this all three penalty corner attempts were taken by Muhd Razie Rahim.

Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin scored in the 62nd minute to give Malaysia a 3-0 lead against the world eight ranked team and that gave the team more confidence in the closing stages of the match, something that has been a bane over the past decade.


There has been various views presented and debated with regards to Aussie based Jiwa Mohan's inclusion into the Commonwealth Games. The arguments range from the fact that Jiwa had not trained with the team, thus parachuting into the final squad while other players went through a regimented training schedule, punishing to say the least since Jiwa only played in the Sultan Azlan Shah in May.

For the record Jiwa was not in the team for the China Four Nation Tournament, Norini the squad for theEuropeTour that saw the national team winning the Five Nation Insep Tournament in Paris last month.

So naturally some of the players are slighted about the preference given to Jiwa and his inclusion at the eleventh journey. And it is believed that MHF had to compensate him, something no one should begrudge as Jiwa proved his fitness and worth to the team by going through a special trial.

On the top of that Jiwa has already collected his retirement fund from Yayasan Hoki, somethingthatcan only be done after thenationl team confirms that it no longer requires the services of the said player.

And a more far fetched theory is that Jiwa is in the team due to hisSapura connection with some officials in the national set-up,

But as I said this is far fetched and we shall pose these questions to national coach StepheN van Huizen later today to find out his views and justification on the inclusion ofJiwa.


The management of UniKL has contacted the blog and will clarify their position with regards to the departure of coach I.Vikneswaran as well as give an insight on their youth development program. Till then, hopefully it will be by tonight, I shall with hold further comment on this matter as I appreciate the effort taken by their Team Manager who opts to engage in a discussion and provide their side of the story


National defender Baljit Singh Charun Singh has quit Tenaga Nasional Berhad and will don the coours of rivals UniKL in the forthcoming Malaysian Hockey League that is expected to commence on December 3.

Baljit, touted as one off the best penalty corner first runners, is expected to sign on the dotted line today together with another TNB player, S. Selvarajoo. Though the exit of Selvarajoo, who has been at odds with some officials in TNB was expected, the departure of Baljit will be felt by the defending overall champions.

The movement of players is expected to continue but most surprising was the omission of UniKL coach I. Vikneswaran who is said to have been replaced by a coach from New Zealand. Also making their way into the UniKL team will be two Kiwi players, said to be in KL at the moment with the NZ squad that is playing matches with the Malaysian side.

In addition to those two players, UniKL has been on a recruitment drive of late and a German player is also reportedly on their payroll together with some current internationals. Thus the whole objective of UniKL as a platform to develop the future of Malaysian hockey seems to have been thrown out of the window.

Vikneswaran is now coaching Sapura. whose initial target was Bala from Malacca but has been denied the opportunity to coach Sapura due to his involvement with the 1 Mas Program.

And Negri Sembilan, who have yet to finalise their composition of team, are said to have lured some KLHC players as well as are in the process of signing six players from India. NSHA Vice President M. Gobinathan was evasive when asked who the players were, opting to name just the goalkeeper, Adrian, and despite promising he will revert with the other names has yet to do so when this article is being written.

Expect the musical chairs scenario to continue over the next month or so when the teams will have to submit the registration of players.


Some of his countrymen might have opted out of the Commonwealth Games due to security and hygiene issues, but veteran Australian hockey player Jamie Dwyer on Monday said he has no concerns travelling to Delhi for the crisis-hit mega-event even though his pregnant wife is little apprehensive.

"We've got a baby son and another one is on the way in December so my wife doesn't really like me going to India as much as she would, say, Scotland or Canada. But she's been there herself, in 2007, and she knows a little about how they work in India," said Dwyer, who is married to former Dutch hockey player Leoni.

"She's a little bit worried but...she's not trying to convince me to stay or anything like that. I'm entirely comfortable about going. I've never had a concern about going this time to India.

"I am entirely comfortable. I've been there three or four times before and we were lucky enough to be there in March for the World Cup," he was quoted as saying by the Australian media ahead of the team's departure on Wednesday.

So far, three Australian athletes have pulled out of the Games -- cyclist Travis Meyer, table tennis player Stephanie Sang and discus world champion Dani Samuels, citing security and unhygienic conditions.
But Dwyer said he has plenty of experience of Indian conditions and will definitely be a part of the team as the Kookaburras chase their fourth consecutive Games gold.

"We've been to Delhi a few times with the team and we sort of know how to prepare ourselves for this type of environment. It's nothing new to us really. It's just how they are over there, I guess. They do things differently," he said.

"When you go to those countries you have to be vigilant in what you eat and drink, and just have to be a bit more careful, but I'm very comfortable with what I will be eating and drinking and where I'll be sleeping," added the three-time world player of the year.

Australia has been a dominant force in hockey in the Commonwealth Games as they lost only one match and claimed every gold medal since the sport's introduction in the quadrennial event in 1998.

The Kookaburras will go into the tournament as favourites after an unbeaten 12-month run during which they won the World Cup earlier this year in New Delhi and the Champions Trophy in Germany. They had also won last December's Champions Trophy in Melbourne.

The 31-year-old striker said Australia will use the Delhi Games to prepare for the 2012 London Olympics. "We've had a really good 20 months under (coach) Ric Charlesworth and this is the last major tournament before we have to start concentrating on London," Dwyer said.

"We really want to put up a good performance, bring home a gold medal and that would cap off a great two years.

"I want to win the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games. That's my two main goals," he added.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Same old, same old Malaysia

Rain delayed the Malaysia v New Zealand match by more then an hour after the two teams had only played 11 minutes at the Tun Razak Stadium.

But Malaysia adapted better to the heavy pitch conditions racing to a 2-0 lead but squandered the opportunity to give them some semblance of revenge for the World Cup Qualifier defeat at Invercargil in November last year, as New Zealand scored twice in the last ten minutes to force a2-2 draw.

The two teams are preparing for the Commonwealth Games that will be held in New Delhi later this week and will play another match on Tuesday at the same venue, commencing at 5.00pm.

Malaysia fielded Aussie based Jiwa Mohan who last donned national colours during the Azlan Shah Cup in May and he made the final 16 of the Delhi Games at the expense of his younger sibling Jivan Mohan.

Also failing to make the cut was Kelvinder Singh who is expected to call it quits and concentrate on his studies.

Malaysia took the lead three minutes into the second half when Mohd Amin Rahim's low drag flick went through the pads of NZ custodian Kyle Pontifex.

Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin had the opportunity to increase the lead in the 41st minute but hit straight into the pads of the onrushing Kyle when the presence of mind would have been to look for a teammate on the top of the semi circle.

Of their fourth penalty corner though Malaysia went 2-0 ahead with Mohd Razie Rahim sending an unstoppable flick into the left hand cornering the 48th minute.

The Kiwis then forced two penalty corners in quick succession but though Andy Hayward beat Roslan Jamaluddin, the upright foiled his attempt to reduce the deficit in the 51st minute.

NZ reduced the deficit in the 64th minute when Hugo Inglis was left unchallenged to unleash a reverse hit from the top of the semi circle that had Roslan beaten all the way.

Joel Baker equalized for the Kiwis four minutes from time as the Malaysian defense crumbled under sustained pressure from the NZ strike force .

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nine Teams For MHL

Although the Malaysian Hockey Federation has yet to release the numbers with regards to the number of teams participating though the closing date was last Friday, it is believed that there will be nine teams in the fray for the Premier League.

Six teams are those who participated last season with another two being promoted from Division One.

But it is the participation of the ninth team that has raised eyebrows. For Negri Sembilan has submitted an entry and it is not a club but just a team from NS. The bending of rules by MHF to allow a team from beyond those who participated last year is akin to allowing a parachute team direct entry into the top flight.

But it seems that MHF is basing the justification of the parachute team on the players that are representing the NS team that is said to be negotiating with six Indian players, amongst who are a goalkeeper, with salaries ranging from USD2,000 to USD2,500 per month for these players.

However the registration of players is only due in November hence MHF ought to come clean on their basis of selection of teams for Premier League or risk being accused of making decisions not on set guidelines or regulations but rather which side of bed their officials get off from each morning.

And the MHF Competition Committee ought to decide in this issue rather then be named as the Incompetent Committee.

And the team is set to be coached by S. Vellapan who was formerly coaching Maybank.

A budget of RM350,000 is said to have been set aside and though the effort of NSHA must be applauded, the blatant disregards of rules must be nipped in the bud for MHF seems to be changing it's tone akin to the English weather.

And if what is written is true, then the news about the number of teams participating in Division One must surely be of concern as it seems only five teams are going to be in the fray.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Aussies teams to beat

Hockey will be among the biggest shows in town at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, with Australia at centre stage.

More tickets have been pre-sold for hockey than any other sport at the October 3-14 Games, where the final pool match between arch-rivals Pakistan and hosts India could produce fireworks for a sellout crowd.

But the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos head to the Indian capital as the teams to beat.

Ric Charlesworth's outstanding Kookaburras are the undisputed world No.1 side, having already claimed the men's World Cup and Champions Trophy this year.

However, Charlesworth has been critical of the planning of his side's Games fixture schedule, which he says will be played at the hottest part of the day and makes winning gold far from a foregone conclusion.

The former WA Sheffield Shield cricketer and Federal Labor MP, who also guided the Hockeyroos to gold at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, is a renowned hard taskmaster who expects high standards from his players, something not lost on experienced midfielder Mark Knowles.

Knowles was stunned to be omitted from the squad that went to the Champions Trophy in August.

The 26-year-old, a member of the 2004 Athens Olympics gold medal squad, admits he was unhappy to be left behind, but said Charlesworth selection methods ensure high standards are maintained.

"It was a surprise to be left out, but Ric explained to me his reasons and although it took me a few weeks to get over it, I then realised it was the first time in years I had any time away from the game," Knowles told AAP.

"I now see that it was the right thing for me and although the Comm Games is the third biggest event of a busy year, I am desperate to do well in it having missed out on the Champions Trophy."

"Ric is constantly challenging us and setting us goals, but that makes him such a great coach.

"He is always looking to improve things and make sure the squad continues to evolve so we can stay on top."

England, the only team to beat the Kookaburras this year, in a pool match at the World Cup, loom as their biggest threat for gold in Delhi.

Charlesworth is wary of the English, despite his side's comfortable 4-0 win over them in the Champions Trophy final and he warns India, Pakistan and New Zealand can also pose problems.

"India and Pakistan have the fortune of being used to the conditions and will of course have a lot of local support which will be a huge advantage to them," said Charlesworth. "New Zealand always raise their game against us."

Hockeyroos coach Frank Murray announced he will quit after Delhi following the side's disappointing displays in this month's women's World Cup in Argentina.

Murray's side finished fifth and have been rocked by the retirements of experienced players Hope Munro and Kim Walker as well as a serious knee injury to Teneal Attard.

However, in Kate Hollywood, Kobie McGurk and captain Madonna Blythe, there is enough talent in the side to be in medal contention.

Like the men, England will be the biggest threat to gold with the side finishing third behind Argentina and Holland in the World Cup.

But Murray is still confident his side are good enough to defend the Games title they won in Melbourne.

"We are in a period of transition but we are confident with the squad we have and believe we are good enough to win in Delhi," Murray said.

Friday, September 17, 2010


It was in 1996 that Malaysia first made an attempt to get the services of Frank Murray to coach the national team. But that effort, spear headed by the then NSC Director General , Datuk Mazlan Ahmad, fell through. How did I know about it, well I was the one who held the negotiations with Murray in Perth in November 1996 and the cost factor was what prevented us.

Read on as we might get a second chance to get Murray on board since the failure to secure the Dutchmn Roelant Oltmans.

Australian women's hockey coach Frank Murray will step down following the Commonwealth Games, but is confident of the Hockeyroos winning more gold in Delhi.

Murray has decided to not see out his contract through to the London Olympics in 2012 and is happy with the decision and timing given it still gives his replacement plenty of time to prepare for the Olympics campaign.

Murray dismissed talk of disharmony in the ranks between himself and the players after a successful six years in charge where he took the Hockeyroos to the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold, two Olympic silver medals and a World Cup silver and bronze.

"It's probably time for someone else to have a go and this is a young group, and it gives the next coach time to do something with them prior to London," Murray said.

"It is hard of course because I have spent the last 20 years doing this and I have enjoyed it, and still enjoy it, but I do think it is the right time.

"What a new coach will do is bring in fresh ideas and the players will respond. That doesn't mean they don't respond now, they do, and they are still a good bunch of girls to work with."

His decision comes after a disappointing recent World Cup in Rosario, Argentina for the Hockeyroos where they missed the semi-finals but beat Korea to finish fifth, the lowest placing since sixth at the 1986 World Cup.

Murray is still happy with the team announced with 11 Commonwealth Games debutants and is confident of adding a third gold medal in just the fourth time it has been held at the Games.

England, New Zealand and India, who finished third, seven and ninth respectively at the World Cup, will provide the toughest opposition.

"It's a good team and one that's capable of winning. We've got a couple of good opposition teams in England, New Zealand and India, but this team is certainly up for it," he said.

"We won the gold in 2006 and think we are capable of winning it again, that's the pressure that we put on ourselves rather than it coming from external sources."

Captain Madonna Blyth will have even more leadership responsibility following the retirements of Hope Munro and most recently Kim Walker after the World Cup, and with defender Teneal Attard out with a knee injury, but is confident the team will win gold again.

"We were a little bit disappointing in Argentina, but there's always enough motivation for the Commonwealth Games. As a hockey player it's always one of your favourite events to go to, but there was a little bit more out of Argentina," Blyth said.

"Saying goodbye to a head coach is also something that you want to do to the best of your ability and for us that means winning gold, and sending him out on a positive winning note."


If the World Cup and Champions Trophy are overlooked, the Commonwealth Games men’s hockey competition is one of the toughest events, going by the rankings of the participating countries. Six of the top 10 teams, as per the latest FIH rankings’ list, will be there in Delhi next month, adding to the
sheen of the mega event.

Australia are ranked No. 1 in the world, England are 4th while New Zealand, Pakistan, India and Canada are the other teams in the top-10. Hockey has never been accorded the position it deserves and made it to the Games’ fold only in 1998, a good 50 years after the start of the Commonwealth Games. 

The Indian Hockey Federation’s focus too remained on the Asian Games - held in the same year and a qualifying event for the Olympics. Thus, the fourth place finish in 1998 remains India’s best finish in the CWG.

But with Delhi hosting the Games, winning a medal at home is a matter of prestige and India will be hoping to put the record straight.

“Yes, this is a very good chance for us to claim our first medal in the Commonwealth Games. We will be playing in conditions we know well. We have a talented bunch of players and the boys are optimistic of winning a medal,” said skipper Rajpal Singh.

World champions Australia are the favourites going into the tournament with England, New Zealand and Pakistan the other medal contenders.

India, ranked 9th in the world, will still fancy their chances of a podium finish.

But going by recent news emanating from the camp at Pune, things are not well in the team. The morale is down following the recent spat involving chief coach, Jose Brasa, Hockey India and the Sports Authority of India.
“All parties should have done their best to avoid such a controversy just before the CWG as it doesn’t bode well for the team,” said former coach Joaquim Carvalho.
The team will be going into the tournament without much match practice as Hockey India failed to arrange for a tour. The team will play only a few practice matches against Australia, England and New Zealand towards the end of this month and will be hoping to make the most of it.
“The first aim should be to reach the semifinals. Australia are very strong so India will have to beat both Pakistan and Malaysia to advance. We can’t take Malaysia lightly as they have won two medals in CWG. It will all depend on how the team plays on that particular day and how it manages to build on the momentum after the first match. “In the World Cup, we failed to build on the victory against Pakistan and paid the price. We can’t afford to do so this time,” cautioned Carvalho.
Brasa and his boys will need to be at their best or the medal dream will elude them once again.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Nothing seems to be going as per plan for the Indian hockey team ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and the forthcoming Asian Games scheduled for November. This is a conclusion one can draw after two sets of scheduled practice matches were called off.
It is learnt that the team's seven-day preparatory tour to Guangzhou, China stands cancelled.

The tour was originally scheduled for September. Strangely, chief coach Jose Brasa was kept out of the loop regarding the status of the tour, which according to him was planned in April.

“I have no clue if the team will be going to China. The tour was scheduled way back (April) and lately we have received no communication from any authority,” he said.

Coach Jose Brasa (right) says tour would have helped the Asian Games preparations
The objective behind the China tour was to get the players familiar with the the Asian Games venue. At the same time, the players would have been able to tune in for the Commonwealth Games as well.

Brasa said, “The team will get a direct entry to the 2012 London Olympics if it wins the Asian Games.”

As if the cancellation of the Guangzhou trip was not enough, it is learnt that the team will not be playing three practice games against Korea either.

Brasa, however, is clueless about this development as well and remains hopeful of some good practice before the big tournaments.

The Indian team expects to play practice games against England (September 26 to 28), Australia (September 29 and 30) and Trinidad & Tobago in the first week of October.

As far as preparedness for the mega events is concerned, the team is well behind schedule in terms of match-practice.

According to the planner, the team should have been in or back from Guangzhou right now. Moreover, the camp should have been shifted to New Delhi much before the Games commence.

Brasa, yet again, was unaware of any development in terms of the team shifting its camp to New Delhi. “I don’t know when the team is leaving for Delhi. I think it's high time the team practices at the main venue before the visiting teams start coming in.

Once the other teams arrive, the pitch will be used on a rotation basis so that everyone gets a chance to play at the main venue,” he said.

The team it was learnt will leave for New Delhi on September 18. The players are likely to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar to seek blessings prior to the games