Thursday, October 28, 2010

Save the game: Give the cheats and the dolts the stick

That there are those of influence trying to profit from the MHF elections is not only a crying shame but a blight on the game.

The allegation that a contender for a senior position is offering to prejudice the outcome of the voting in return for gratification needs immediate action.

For far too long has the MHF, like other sports associations in the country, been allowed to be run by a cohort of unscrupulous men who are only in it for personal gain. Not the sport, not the players, not the nation.

The MHF has, in recent years, become a byword for such blatant misconduct, incompetence and inefficiency. These are just some examples of that:

VOTE BUYING: The said powerbroker is determined to place people of his choice, or those who are willing to pay for it, in the council. This is probably not the first time this is happening in the MHF of course. That the delegates are willing to sell their honour and votes for a song is the greater tragedy.

THE SURJIT MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT IN JALANDHAR: Despite knowing about the tourney months in advance, MHF did nothing to prepare for the trip. When the National Sports Council rejected funding as MHF had exceeded their budget, there was a last minute scramble and MHF ended up with Air Asia as the sponsors despite having to pay for the tickets, albeit at a discount.

MISSING MONEY: RM25,000 "disappeared" some two years ago but only now has MHF realised it. So much for keeping proper accounts and accountability. How are we to know that this is not the first time monies have been unaccounted for in the MHF?

IGNORANCE: The national team was put in an embarrassing position at the Delhi Commonwealth Games because of yet another screwup by ignorant officials. The regulations in multi-sports events are quite clear on no advertising being allowed on jerseys. Because an official was ignorant, or simply failed to understand the rules, the team had to cover the sponsors name on the jerseys before taking to the field.

There are many more such instances of imbecility which have made Malaysian hockey a laughing stock at home and abroad. So why we continue to suffer fools who give the game a bad name is anybody's guess.

The delegates have to realise that they are culpable for voting in these people in the first place. Like it or not, they are accomplices after the fact for all the misdeeds and blunders for endorsing the corrupt and the incompetent. This is what happens when they sell their votes or are driven by petty peeves rather than voting for the best candidate.

Where prejudices, bias and bigotry triumph over reason, merit and true capability. That is what the MHF is today - a sordid hotbed of hypocrisy and duplicity, never mind the game.

The delegates must realise that they are morally obliged to vote for the best candidate. That a major hockey revival will profit all concerned. That hockey need not go begging bowl in hand for funds if it were a success. That sponsors would be falling over each other to be part of the sport if it regained its preeminence.

For that to happen the president needs men of calibre around him. Men who can help reshape and remake Malaysian hockey and relaunch it into the stratosphere. They must be able to take a purely commercial approach to make hockey both viable and appealing to the masses again.
MHF must become Malaysian Hockey Inc, answerable to the primary stakeholders - the Malaysian people. That can only happen if the delegates put all differences aside and vote for the greater glory of the sport. That means giving the venal manipulators and the incompetent the stick.