Thursday, October 20, 2016

OKS Dream Team but.....

National coach Dato Ong Kim Swee will name his training squad for the AFF Cup on Friday.

But not many surprises are expected as Kim Swee has a limited choice of players to chose from.

The question is has Kim Swee the liberty to pick who he feels can contribute to the national team or are his hands tied by circumstances that you and I can only assume as no one will go on record.

Let's assume that all players are available, no "retirements" no injuries, no prevention or conditions attached, and all players are available to do national Colours.

So having looked at what Kim Swee has fielded so far this year, these are the players that rightfully should be in the list to be released tomorrow.

Gk - Izham Termizi, Khairul Fahmi Che Mat and khairul Azhan

DF - Fazly, Nazirul, S. Kunanlan, Matthew Davies, Aidil Zafuan, Sharom Kamal, Fadhli Shahs, Shahrul,

MF - Azrif, Christie, Chanthuru, Safiq, Brendan, Baddrol, Amirul Hadi, Zaquan Abdul Radzak, Junior Eldstal, Hadin Azman.

Now this is what I will call a dream team. There are players like Christie and Brendan who are injured and cannot make it.

But others are there and not all will be in the list to be released tomorrow.

If Malaysian Football wants to rise from the ashes, then the best should play and not only those who are allowed to play.

Let's wait and see how many make it.

ST - Hazwan Bakri, Norshahrul, Darren Lok.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Is volunteerism dead in sports?

Is volunteerism in sports dead in this country?

Must all be paid for services rendered?

Have we  become so obsessed with money that  we

forget the fundamentals of being involved in sports?

No we are not going to talk about the rewards that have been showered upon Athletes that won medals at the recent Olympics and Paralympics.

They deserve what they got as that is what was promised to them.

Whether paying pension to those still active is debatable, we shall leave it at that.

It came as a shock to learn that the 2017 Sea Games Chef De Mission draws a monthly allowance from the National Sports Council.

This is unprecedented and can we expect the same for all Chef De Missions of future multi sports events?

Preparation of Athletes is no longer a priority as one sport not only does not have a training centre but were only offered RM1,500 per month to get one whereas Athletes of another sport receive RM2,000 as training allowance!

Then there is the case of the Board Members of a certain body collecting a monthly allowance.

In actual fact that should only receive meeting allowances and not a monthly allowance.

This was pointed out in an audit report and has now been corrected but some not too happy with it.

But will they return the money that was wrongly paid out?

Then we have the composition of the Boards of two bodies.

It should really comprise of those with no vested interest in these two bodies so as not to influence policy decisions that favour their Athletes.

But this is not the case and we will leave it to the powers that be to continue mess up our sports.

After all they are considered as gods gift to our sports so who are we mere mortals to raise anything on cronyism and nepotism !

Saturday, October 08, 2016

No win situation for OKS

" I am in a no win situation. When we lose, I get criticised, we draw I get questioned. And when we lose I get hammered. Well this is the stark reality of being a national coach."

Those were the first few words of national coach Dato Ong Kim Swee the morning after Malaysia and Singapore played to a scoreless draw at the National Stadium in Singapore.

The knives were out barely minutes after the game ended, as some claimed that Malaysia were "boring" played " ugly" or lack "imagination" while on the pitch.

While Kim Swee was peeved, he could not be the least bothered by snide remarks.

" Singapore had their best players available at their disposal. Are we in the same boat. Let's look at the scenario as a whole and not only what suits certain personalities," said Kim Swee when contacted in Singapore.

" We are trying to build a team here, starting from scratch and I am proud of the grit, determination, character of the players as some were thrown in the deep end and gave a good account of themselves.

" Had we played an open game we would have been torn apart as happened against Indonesia.

" I will play according to the strength of our team and plan a strategy against the teams we face.

" In the end it's the results that matter and I will carry out my responsibilities to the best of my ability."

Malaysia were largely defensive as midfielder Badrol Bakhtiar opted to be more defensive and Irfan Fazail gave away possession too easily.

And upfront skipper Amri Yahya and Hazuan Bakri found it tough to find any decent openings.

But it was the Defence that held its own and came showed character.

" We spent that four days of training on Defence and I am happy it worked out," said Kim Swee.

" Now we face Afghanistan on Tuesday and the game plan needs to change. It has to be effective rather then pretty as the opponents have stronger physical attributes."

Kim Swee was pleased with the way the debutants played although they were nervous in the initial stages of the match.

But it was the few minutes that veteran Nor Shahril Idlan Talala had on the pitch that warmed the coaches heart.

" He gave us a different dimension as his ability to hold the ball and create openings gave the players confidence in the late stages of the match," said Kim Swee.

" It is commitment such as that displayed by him that I want the younger and inexperienced players to emulate."  

Kim Swee will hit the training ground this evening with 17 players that did not travel to Singapore or play that match.

And the next 48 hours will be used to cone up with a game plan against the Afghans, with result orientated being his priority no matter what the crunch potato critics may say.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

OKS Unfazed With Criticism

Undeterred and unfazed.

That aptly describes how national coach Dato Ong Kim Swee reacted to the criticism hurled to him over his coaching ability.

The Malacca born was as cool as a cucumber, opting to talk more about the enthusiasm shown by the trainees in the national team then let some unsustained claims affect his demure.

" Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to me I have a job to do and have no time to think about these type of distractions" said Kim Swee.

" The personal attacks will not stop no matter what I do or say and it started from the very first day I assumed the job as national coach.

" My duty is to train the team and that is exactly what I intend to do. 

" The players are well aware of the situation and when they take the field they do not play for themselves or for me, rather they play for the country.

" My response is simple - it does not bother me one bit what others think, I work with sincerity and carry out my responsibilities to the nation. 

" I think the fans that know Football realise what the actual situation is.

" And as far as comparison between local and foreign coaches, just take a look at the facts, it tells its own story."

It is however ironic that the criticism on the ability of Kim Swee cane from a club that probably has hired the most of players that were groomed by Kim Swee.

Among those who don the jerseys ofJDT and were groomed by Kim Swee are Izham Tarmizi     , Sasikumar, Mahali Jasuli, Gary Steven, Azrif Nasrulhaqand Fadhli Shas .

It does not just stop there as in JDT 11 one can identify players like Amer Saidin, Irfan Fazail, Fandi Othman and Syazwan Andik as former Kim Swee charges.

The coach knows that the matches against Singapore and Afghanistan will put him under the microscope once again but has faith in his players.

" I have a decision to make, as to who I would field against Singapore and also get a positive result," said Kim Swee.

" I believe that FAM had Abd continues to have faith in me and I intend to Prive my worth by getting positive results on the pitch

" I need to have the core team ready for the AFF Cup as I cannot live in having to play a guessing game on who will be available or not.

" I believe in my players and trust me when I say I see desire to do well in their eyes."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

3 players depart national camp

The national Football team was dealt a bitter blow when three players departed from the training camp on Tuesday night.

The three are Zaquan Adha Razak, Ifran Fazail and Darren Lok, all from JDT II.

The players are said to have informed coach Dato Ong Kim Swee of their decision to leave the training camp and left the same night.

A total of 13 players had reported for training on Tuesday morning Abd the team had their first training session the same day at Wisma FAM.

Barely two hours after the training ended, the three players informed Kim Swee they were leaving.

JDT has however informed FAM that their players will only report for national training in accordance with the FIFA regulation governing the release of players for national duty which is four days prior to the match.

" I was informed by the  3 players  from JDT II 
last night that they had been instructed by their club to return to Johor. 

"This morning FAM received a letter from JDT informing us that they ( JDT ) were invoking the FIFA clause pertaining to release of players for national duty, which is four days before the scheduled match.

" I have no alternative but to let them return as per the instruction from their club.

" I have discussed this matter with the Team Manager Dato Hamidin Mohd Amin  and we will be calling up 2 additional players, Norshahrul Idlan and Nasir  Basharuddin to add to the list of trainees.

" We respect the decision made by the players and hope they will report back for training when granted permission by their club.

When asked why players were called up outside the permitted FIFA window, Kim Swee offered this explanation.

" My intention was to work on these 13 players individually on aspects that they needed to improve and also have them in camp as they had no competitive matches over the next few days" added Kim Swee.

" It is the prerogative of the club in cases like this and we hope that teams will help the national cause."

A total of 6 JDT players were called up for national training by Kim Swee.

The other players from JDT , Amri Yahya, Azrif Nasrulhaq and Fadhli Shas were only required report for training on October 2 as the second batch of trainees are to report on that day.

Kim Swee was obviously devastated with the turn of events but out up a brave front, opting to focus on what is needed on the pitch then let matters off the pitch affect his focus.

" I have a job to do and will do it to the best of my ability," said Kim Swee.

" No coach should have to deal with such a situation but at times there are matters beyond our control.

" Let's move forward and prepare for the matches accordingly as the interest of the nation is paramount."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

5 Rookies in OKS Squad

There are five new call ups in the national Football squad squad named by coach Dato Ong Kim Swee.

The national team will be assembled to prepare for matches against Singapore ( Oct 7) and Afghanistan ( Oct 11) ahead of the AFF Cup on November 19.

They are Mohd Fadzrul of Perak who is the top local goal scorer, Hadin Azman ( Felda) , Rizal Ghazli ( Kedah) Shazwan Zainon ( Kedah) and Ahmad Khuzainee ( Melaka United).

With the centre of Defence being a major concern, it will be interesting to see how Khuzainee will fit it.

Faridzul has been scoring regularly and could well end up partnering Hazwan Bakri in Attack to give Kim Swee a new dimension.

With the average age being 27,65, it's refreshing to see Kim Swee opt for untested players as opposed to those who have quit the team at a young age.

It comes as a surprise that players like 
Khair Jones, Wan Zack Haikal and Amir Saidin have been dropped.

" This is the best available players I have at my disposal and we shall try to do well in both matches" said Kim Swee.

" Khair and Wan Zack are not listed as I want to give other players a chance to impress me as well.

" But that does not mean they are out of consideration for the final squad.

" I want to give untested players an opportunity to see how they handle pressure at the international stage.

" We need to have strength on the bench as well and these two matches will help me see just how much certain players have in performing at a higher level.

" I was impressed by their performances and form in the domestic matches and believe they deserve a chance to showcase their ability at the international stage.

" It is not easy as a coach to keep making changes but we have to move on as some players are now unavailable while a few others injured."

Players who are not involved in the Malaysia Cup semis and the AFC Cup semis will report on September 27 while the rest on October 2.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

SEA Games or World Champs. A no brainer!

A no brainer.

That is the best way to describe the statement made by the National Sports Council Director General when he stated that Athletes would have to give priority to the 2017 SEA Games instead of the World Badminton Championships.

The dates of both these sporting events clash and it would affect the participation of the shuttlers at the multi sports event where Malaysia has targetted emerging as champions for the first time since 2001.

The very fact that a senior official of the KJ administration could say such a thing on record goes on to show what blind faith is all about.

When the Minister says that the target is winning the overall title at the SEA Games, he means we need to have a preparation or Athletes that can win medals to ensure that.

It is beyond comprehension that one would ask Athletes to forego the TOP most prize in their career, besides the Olympics, for a regional medal.

How on earth was such a statement made is beyond comprehension as obviously it has put the Minister in a spot as the blame now solely lies on the Minister unwittingly.

The civil servant can argue that he is merely echoing the orders of the Minister who made it clear that Malaysia is to emerge as champions of the SEA Games.

So let's take the easy way out then, blame the Minister for that statement.

And to ensure that Malaysia wins all the gold medals in Badminton at the SEA Games, let's start funding shuttlers from other SEA counties to Badminton events so that they all qualify for the world champs and we have a easier path to win gold.

There you have it, even a better plan to endure our success, and I will not charge you a bomb in fees for the idea unlike some foreign experts you have on the payroll. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Thumbs up for Idris

What Football Association of Malaysia requires is someone who has leadership qualities.

Although a candidate might not know in depth about Football, this can be over come with a strong desire to put things right through proper management, planning and leadership.

This were the views echoed by former FAM Secretary General Tan Sri Ibrahim Saad who was also once the Vice President of FAM.

" What FAM needs right now is someone with     the ability to lead them, to put together a plan and chart the fortunes of Football in this country," said Ibrahim.

" There are many technical experts on Football both within and outside FAM that can provide the knowledge on technical matters such as coaching, refereeing, development and other areas.

" I think they have to view their choice of a potential president with an open mind, perhaps get someone from outside the present system so as to facilitate a change of mindset."

He added that while some felt that Idris needs to be Football savvy, it really does not matter if viewed outside the box.

" Transformation is his forte and perhaps he might just be what FAM needs," said Ibrahim who steered FAM from 2005 to 2007.

" But the decision lies with the affiliates and hopefully they make a good choice to determine who will lead FAM."

Meanwhile Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also gave the thumbs up for the idea of Idris Jala as a candidate for the FAM Presidency.

" I think Idris is a great idea. I know he's passionate about football, he's a proven transformation specialist, he's worked at the highest levels of government and I have a great working relationship with him," said Khairy when contacted for reaction on the possibility of Idris being the FAM President.

The FAM Exco is expected to meet on October 10 to determine the dates for the 2017 congress where the elections of the office bearers of the 2017-2021 period will be held.

In all likelihood it will be held before May next year due to the fasting month and the SEA Games in August.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Idris Jala for FAM top job!

His biggest catch was reeling in a 51 kilo barracuda in Maldives.

But that could soon change if Dato Seri Idris Jala assumes the role of the President of the Football Association of Malaysia.

There have been strong vibes that FAM ought to seek the assistance of Idris Jala to transform its fortunes.

After all he has a brilliant career of doing extremely well in turning around several businesses or industries that have sought his knowledge.

Currently as Chief Executive Officer of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit  ( PEMANDU ) , a unit under the Prime Ministers Department.

The 58 year old Idris Jala is a Kelabit, from a small town of Bario , Sarawak.

It was during his 23 years in Shell that he acquired the reputation of being a turnaround specialist by reviving the fortunes of many of the oil company' s major subsidiaries around the world.

And who can forget his efforts in turning around the fortunes of Malaysian Airlines.

Idris grew up in a longhouse and was driven by a word his Father often used - ketui - meaning burning desire to win.

And that is precisely what FAM needs, a person with such desire that will transform the Football fortunes through astute management and leadership abilities.

Much has been said about potential candidates to replace Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah as the president of FAM in the early elections to be held most likely before May next year.

A blues music fan, Idris Jala has the ability to remove the "blues" from the ills that plague FAM.

And perhaps that time is right to seek the help of a transformation guru if FAM is really serious about re-inventing themselves,


Thursday, September 15, 2016

All rosy in FAM?

It took merely 40 minutes for the FAM to conclude their congress this morning.

A total of 30 delegates representing 20 affiliates attended the Congress, and not one raised any issue to be discussed.

It was not a case of not been given an opportunity but the delegates were probably unaware when they could raise issues pertaining to how FAM was administrated and its financial dealings.

The two opportunities, perhaps unknown to many comes when the annual activity report and the financial report are tabled.

The delegates could have asked any question, ranging from development, national team, finance, anything concerning Football in the country.

But none of them did that and one may even think that FAM is run like and iron fist.

There is no doubt that any issues within FAM are resolved at the sidelines Abd this is due to a knowledgable General Secretary in Dato Hamidin Mohd Amin.

While the Congress was smooth, several other matters could have been done better.

For instance no copies of the annual report was given to members of the media. Was there something to hide?

When asked why the media was not given a copy, a member of the staff said that they printed only enough copies for the delegates, which to someone who was in FAM is a blatant lie.

Then u had the "gift" of an umbrella, more like the malay proverb " sediakan payung sebelum hujan".

One could see many staff of FAM walking out with umbrellas but not one was given to members of the media. It was like a circus as the staff went around tables collecting umbrellas once the meeting was over.

Kudos to the media fraternity who went around doing their jobs efficiently despite these sideshows that even Hamidin was flabbergasted when told later.

Back to the issue of the pen drive, perhaps mocking or unawares, all were given a foot gift of a box that contained a pen drive.

But seriously FAM could have laid to rest the real pen drive issue had they discussed the matter at the Congress.

But they opted to let the Exco deliberate it on October 10,citing no knowledge of the contents to really make any decisions.

Which in a way could be construed as the right way to approach this tricky situation.

Does the pen drive contain documents that actually belong to FAM? Are they leaked documents that come under the purview of FAM? Are they merely documents or views of some that are not within FAM? Or is it just a complication of certain reports of FAM over a period of time?

In any case to be fair, FAM did the right thing - await the report from MACC and look at the contents before deciding on the next course of action.

Of course we also have the case of the missing officials from the National Sports Council and National Sports Institute, two government agencies that are grossly over staffed yet could not send two officials to attend the meeting of a most focussed upon national sports association.

Wonder if they would have missed a trip to watch the World Cup?

So we are all left wondering just who can dream of breaking the stranglehold one has in FAM!

The fact is loud and clear - nothing or no one can shake FAM, not even the manoeuvring being done by using underhand tactics as well as attempting to do character assassination as being undertaken by some and expected to hit the roof soon.