Thursday, August 8, 2013


Retiring or "resting" the Number 3 jersey: It would be a very good gesture. I think this is up to the MHC to decide. He is the most capped Malaysian player so he certainly would have earned this honor. 

The past week: Has been horrific to say the least. It has been so pleasing over the past several months watching a guy of 33 being "reborn" again as a player and leader, seeing how this has had led to a positive impact on his life off the pitch as much as on the pitch - and then to see all that happiness taken away so quickly and abruptly - is just very difficult to accept. I saw it as an honor to coach Chua. I had always secretly hoped to coach guys like Chua, Kuhan, Azlan Bakar, etc (internationally recognized stars of Malaysian Hockey) - so every day in the presence with Chua was just a privilege. It was a credit to how popular and influential Chua was to everyone by the number of people who showed up at his funeral yesterday - I really hope he knew just how much (and many) people loved him, valued him and believed in him. When I arrived in Malaysia I got the impression that Chua was not as well respected locally as he was internationally - yesterday and the past few days in the media certainly proved that wrong. 

How has this affected me: Chua was a real strength to me throughout my brief time in Malaysia. I came to realize very quickly how emotionally and mentally strong he was under pressure. Whenever the Team and I required a "go-to-guy" - Chua was there to deliver. He loved international hockey. He loved being back in the arena and his motivation to succeed for Malaysia was so strong again. He provided such simple, direct and affective advice and feedback to me throughout my time as Coach. He bought in fully to what we were wanting to do as Coaches and promoted this through to the other players with passion and belief. To lose this type of character, this type of strength and this type of message and support from the most capped Malaysian player is a big loss. Chua was a unique talent and person who can never be replaced in the Malaysian Team. As with any retiring player it will be time for another player to carry his torch and create another wonderful chapter in Malaysian Hockey. There is certainly the quality of player in our Squad and in the Junior Squad who can do this. Chua has set an outstanding example for them to follow. 

How have I coped: Not easily. Chua played a massive role in convincing me to stay during the challenging period. I really appreciated his support and his effort to communicate this to me. My only way to honor him was to get onto the pitch as quickly as possible and lead the squad through this very sad period with the same passion and drive that motivated Chua so much on my arrival in Malaysia. I have coped knowing that this is what he would want me to do. I missed him terribly every session we have had together as a Squad. 

Chua was just such a great guy - which you already know. He was our Gladiator. His hair and ponytail was iconic around the world. His smile was infectious and he loved being with people. I will miss him.