Tuesday, September 04, 2007


In his book on Real Madrid, 'White Angels', John Carlin sums it up far better than I ever could.
'In most respects to be a football fan is to condemned to a life of frustration.
'Waiting and hoping for a beautiful piece of play, for an individual to do something thrillingly out of the ordinary, for a team to string together three or four one-touch passes culminating in something close to a goal.
'It happens so rarely. You have to be so long-suffering, so madly optimistic.
'As in life, the moments of pure joy are few and far between. Usually in football we are obliged to feed on crumbs.'

So for those who are going to helm the FA of Malaysia when the dusts settles after this Sunday's Congress, the challenge is obvious. The expectations of the fans will be great but patience is the key word for Rome was not built in a day. Still I am optimistic that with the right people in FAM, football can offer us the hope that we have longed for...

Monday, August 06, 2007


Development Implications
1. Speed/Skill
2. Desire/Discipline
3. Football
4. Football
5. Football
6. Professionalism


“Talent is not enough –
you need desire and
Arsène Wenger

“Some of us will do our
jobs well, and some badly,
but we will all be judged by
the result.”

Friday, August 03, 2007


Failure, if not addressed immediately, can be habit forming. It leads us to more failure and, ultimately, total ruin. Malaysian football is in that parlous state. We had it all and we have it all, but riches which are not utilised properly still render us paupers in world football. Today, we are obsessed with all the wrong things.

Sports is all about fairness, honesty, pride and passion. Fifty years after independence we are deluding ourselevs into giving excuses for failure. All the rhetoric and promises cannot hide the fact that, after 50 years of nationhood, we are still grappling to deal with certain realities. Nothing puts it in better focus than the game which was the very soul of the nation until its decline 20 years ago.

Today, we pay scant attention the Malaysia Cup and other local competitions. We have all been converted to the English Premier League, ardent devotees of a football religion practised thousands of miles away.

The fault is in our changing perpectives and values and misguided social dogmas which have strayed drastically off the straight and narrow of tolerance and acceptance which once made Malaysian football great. There is no need for insightful soul-searching or recriminations.

The problem, if we only choose to see it with 2020 vision, is in our changing attitudes. The cloud over the game is that of bigotry and hypocrsiy, the refusal to accept the reality of the situation.

There can be no quotas in sports. Only the best will do and most nations recognise this immutable fact. Malaysian football lost its lustre two decades ago and we are still trying to fool ourselves that we can polish dull granite into diamonds.

Just look around you. We no longer have teams worthy of total support like Man United, Liverpool or Arsenal. We. no longer have star players who appeal to youngsters. We no longer have a national team of substance. If we are brutally honest we would recognise that our professional league are nothing more than a social outing - a kickabout with players of scant talent. There is no urgency, no drive, no zest, no belief. Most damning of all, there is no passion.

The game is in a state of chaos governed by an association leading by disassociation. The inertia is suffocating. The states are doing their own thing, which ususally is nothing. The clubs are doing their own thing, which usually is nothing. And the schools are doing their own thing, which is, again,, nothing. All that nothing is telling on the game.

The only way to remedy the situation is by admitting our faults. That football has been victim to human vulnerability. That we have lost sight of the game and its needs in pursuing personal objectives driven by nationalistic and political motives.

That the game is no longer the glue that binds the nation. That there is no production line of talent simply because kids in the neighbourhood no longer kick the ball around together with common intent and a sense of camaraderie.

That the mould that produced the likes of Mokhtar Dahair, Soh Chin Aun and M. Chandran is well and truely broken. The sense of loss is acute. While Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia are talking positively of qualfying for the World Cup, we are still sifting through the ashes of past glories.

Our recent showings are typical of the least productive sequence of results for a quarter of a century. We are routinely losing to nations without any soccer capital, like the Maldives and Sri Lanka and offering the same pathetic excuses for those humiliations.

Unfortunately, the statistics don't lie. They expose the barren landscape of Malaysian football more than the sun bleached skulls of the Pol Pot's killing fields. It is a depressing scenario. yet, besides the usual diatribe, there is no firm policy or philosopy on hand to rescue the game from the dire straits it has been steered into by careless and incompetent stewardship.

The FA of Malaysia stands guilty of being incompetent and are practising disconcerting indifference which is central to the game's decline. They have compromsed on quality and talent creation to appease the treacherous demands of racial mores.

We had, as nation, a head start on most Western countries where it came to learning about racial tolerance and living together in harmony. In fact, we had a good 800 or more years to learn and we did but we have thrown it all away.

So now we watch and marvel at how whites and blacks embrace each other withourt inhibition or pretence on the football field. We hardly see such open integration and brotherhood on our soccer pitches anymore.

Nine of the starting 11 in the French national team are black. Most of the other European teams also have coloured players in their national teams, even Germany.

Our teams propagate disintegration even as the government encourages integration. It is the power of performance which instils confidence and thereby drives results. That is unlikely to happen until we once again have the best players, irregardleess of ethnicity, playing for the country.

The truth is we have regressed. Without equality, without integration, without tearing down the walls of distrust we have built between the races, we have no hope of rejuvenating our national game.

Football is all about disregarding colour and creed. That is why it is called the beautiful game. That game has grown ugly in Malaysia because we have brought racial divides into the sport. Just ask the former greats who they will tell you why we were once great.

There really can be no solution to this malaise until we accept and understand our faults. We can no longer afford to gloss over our deficiencies. There is a need to correct the weaknesses which have been allowed to become a prolonged and debilitating malaise.

The cycle of failure, once embarked upon, is not easily counteracted and, in consequence, success is made so much harder to revive. It becomes a habit. There is an urgent need for a different perspective. We need to create excitement in the game again.

We need all the races to start playing the game again. We players who want to pursue their ambitions beyond the local leagues. We need ambition, but above all we need that spirit of brotherhood and patriotism over-riding all other inane dogmas.

We need a reality check - a brutally honest one. Unless something is done to jolt the powers that be out of their stupor and come to grips with of the realities, we will continue to live in the past.

Otherwise, 50 years into nationhood we will be living a lie which will destroy whatever semblance of the game we have left. Malaysian football has become the worst thing a sport can become - something to be endured rather than enjoyed.

It has run out of credit and into serious overdraft. It has lost all its credibity and become something to be vilified. It is time for us to say enough to all the platitudes and evasions if the game is to have any hope. Enough of the ridiculous slogans and empty rhetoric - just get honest and get on with it.

Let the revolution begin.


We are a nation of sports fans and sports players. Interest in watching sports continues at a high level and recreational participation in sports continues to grow.

Some of those who participate in amateur sports dream of becoming paid professional athletes, coaches, or sports officials but very few beat the long and daunting odds of making a full-time living from professional athletics. Those athletes who do make it to professional levels find that careers are short and jobs are insecure.
Even though the chances of employment as a professional athlete are slim, there are many opportunities for at least a part-time job related to athletics as a coach, instructor, referee, or umpire in amateur athletics and in high schools, colleges, and universities.

Expanding opportunities are expected for coaches and instructors, as a higher value is being placed upon physical fitness in our society and this was further emphasized in the recent 2006 budget unveiled by the Prime Minister.
Malaysian’s of all ages are engaging in more physical fitness activities, such as participating in competition and joining clubs, and are being encouraged to participate in physical education.

Employment of coaches and instructors also will increase with expansion of school and college programs and growing demand for private sports instruction.
Sports-related job growth within education also will be driven by the decisions of Ministry of Education.

Population growth dictates the construction of additional schools, particularly in the expanding suburbs. However, funding for sports programs is often one of the first areas to be cut when budgets become tight.

But the popularity of team sports often enables shortfalls to be offset somewhat by patronage of the fans as is the case for football in the country. The need to replace many high school coaches also will provide some coaching opportunities.

Competition for professional sports jobs will continue to be extremely intense.
However we could well do without the government at times over relying on foreign expertise when the locals are quite capable of doing the same jobs.

If the locals are not been given a chance to prove their worth, then we will continue to be in the backwaters when it comes to administrative skills.
Though some might disagree, the words of wisdom from OCM Hon. Secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi is something worth pondering upon.

For Kok Chi had lamented that if we pay peanuts we get monkeys and if we pay bigger peanuts we tend to get bigger monkeys. How true, for there is a tendency to overpay the foreigners whereas when the locals apply for the same position, they tend to be given a lower salary thus there is no fair play or justice.

Sometimes it tends to make these capable administrators feel that it is sin to be Malaysian. The authorities must change their perception and start relying on the locals to head the committees or special projects that have been earmarked towards gaining international excellence.

A friend once said that the prophet is often not believed on his own land and that is no longer a myth but a reality in the Malaysian sports fraternity. As for the athletes, the opportunities to make a living as a professional in individual sports may grow as new tournaments are established and prize money distributed to participants increases.

Most professional athletes’ careers last only several years due to debilitating injuries and age, so a large proportion of the athletes in these jobs is replaced every year, creating some job opportunities.

However, a far greater number of talented young men and women dream of becoming a sports superstar and will be competing for a very limited number of job openings.
Education and training requirements for athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers vary greatly by the level and type of sport.

Regardless of the sport or occupation, jobs require immense overall knowledge of the game, usually acquired through years of experience at lower levels.
Athletes usually begin competing in their sports while in primary school and continue through high school and at times college or universities.

They play in tournaments and on high school and college teams, where the best attract the attention of professional scouts. Most schools require that participating athletes maintain specific academic standards to remain eligible to play.

Becoming a professional athlete is the culmination of years of effort. Athletes who seek to compete professionally must have extraordinary talent, desire, and dedication to training.

But all of these will count for nothing if we continue to sidelines the locals in the decision making process.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


It is learnt that the Football Association of Malaysia will not be submitting any report to the Cabinet Committee on Sports that is scheduled to meet next Tuesday (July 31). This is due to the fact that FAM was not given enough time to prepare a comprehensive report as the official notice to prepare a report was only given this week. And it would have been virtully imposible to prepare the report and get it endorsed by the FAM Exco or Council, hence FAM requested for more time to prepare the said report.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Question marks have been raised with regards to Robert Alberts, the Technical Director of FAM in an article in the Berita Harian today. The writer, who is well versed in Malaysian sports, has raised some pertinent questions which I am certain Robert will be able to respond to. Below is part of the article that appeared in the Berita Harian today, (July 24).

Apa yang penulis mahu sentuh ialah jawapan Pengarah Teknikal FAM, Robert Alberts, bahawa Korea Selatan - negara moden dan antara kuasa utama bola sepak Asia - memberi alasan tidak cukup peralatan dan kemudahan logistik untuk melayan kem latihan skuad negara sebagai persiapan ke Piala Asia, Mei lalu.

Itu memang sesuatu sukar diterima akal, kerana Korea bukannya negara mundur dan tidak punya kemudahan langsung. Mungkin betul tanggapan bahawa sebenarnya Alberts mencari alasan, kerana lebih sibuk dengan sesuatu yang bukan tugasnya - mengatur persiapan skuad bawah 16 tahun negara ke Pusat Penyelidikan Tun Abdul Razak (TARRC) di Brickendonbury, England.

Penulis tertanya-tanya, mengapa Alberts menyibuk dengan kunjungan ke Brickendonbury? Bukankah Brickendonbury dan skuad bawah 16 ataupun 15 tahun itu di bawah jagaan Jabatan Belia dan Jawatankuasa Pembangunan Belia FAM, bukannya Jawatankuasa Teknikal yang mengawal tingkah laku Alberts?

Penulis hairan, mengapa sibuk sangat dengan Brickendonbury ketika banyak lagi tanggungjawab belum dibuatnya? Adakah kerana mahu membantu Institut Sukan Negara (ISN) mendapatkan kelulusan Majlis Hertfordshire Timur bagi pengubahsuaian TARRC? Ataupun kerana Alberts 'orang asing', jadi lebih senang kata-katanya dipercayai orang penting bagi menutup kelewatan ISN memulakan kerja-kerja pengubahsuaian itu?

Apa sekalipun alasannya, Alberts kini jadi contoh sikap FAM yang tidak peduli dan tidak teliti mengawal kerjanya. Mengapa penulis kata begitu? Kerana pada awal dia dilantik, hujung 2005 lalu, Alberts menjanjikan 'road map' (pelan dasar) untuk merencanakan kebangkitan bola sepak negara secara menyeluruh.

Kini sudah hampir dua tahun, bayang pelan itu masih belum kelihatan. Apakah Alberts menyimpannya sebagai alasan memastikan kontraknya, yang akan tamat hujung tahun ini, disambung lagi oleh FAM? Apakah tiada orang kuat FAM peduli mengenai keadaan ini?

Atau mungkinkah Alberts punya kabel cukup kuat hinggakan tidak perlu menyudahkan apa yang dijanji kerana kontraknya tetap akan diperbaharui?

Pelik bunyinya, Alberts berani menyatakan skuad bawah 19 tahun negara yang akan beraksi di Kejohanan Piala Juara-juara Belia (CYC) hanya ditubuhkan dua minggu lalu, sedangkan pertandingan itu sudah lama diketahui akan dilangsungkan di Malaysia. Apakah ini alasan awal seandainya skuad itu dibelasah?

Tambah aneh, Alberts boleh membawa skuad yang salah yang terdiri daripada pemain pasukan bawah 20 tahun untuk berlatih di Thailand, baru-baru ini ketika semua orang tahu CYC adalah bagi pemain bawah 19 tahun.

Monday, July 16, 2007


With Tengku Mahkota resigning as the FAM Deputy President, the calls have mounted for others in the council to follow suit. And speculation is rife that more will follow the decision taken by Tengku Abdullah. But will the exodus solve the problems? Or will it create new problems for Malaysian football.

Lets look at this rationally. With the FAM Congress scheduled for early September 2007, a new set (most unlikely some say) is set to take over the management of Malaysian football. But what can or will they do to change the fortunes of Malaysian football? Where did, have and continue, to be the wrong decisions taken by those who claim to have the antidote to save Malaysian football.

We won the gold medal at the 1989 Sea Games in Kuala Lumpur and that year spelled the end of the amatuer league as Malaysian football moved to the Semi Professional era and a few years later to fully professional. And it is right here where the rot started for Malaysian football, but many still ignore tha fact.

I for one used to be at the Station Padang (now it is a huge shopping complex) in Seremban to cheer the Negri Sembilan team in the Malaysia Cup. Though I was at that time deeply involved in hockey (being the Hon. Secretary of the NS Hockey Asociation), I used to rush out of my office at 4.15pm to be at the stands of the stadium to root for my state. I did this because my colleagues from the Municipal Council were donning state coours and I made it a point to support them in action. The same applied to those from other government agencies such as Telecoms, Tenaga Nasional, Bomba, JKR and so forth.

However with the introduction of the Semi Pro league, these players started earning mega bucks for the same level of play. If in the past there was a sense of belonging, it was money that decided their commitment, hence the rot started as the players got more then what they deserved. There was no looking back after that as wage demands escalated and what we have now is payment of ridiculous sums of money for some awful performances.

An announcement has been made on the formation of the Task Force and the Cabinet wants FAM to present a paper on the ills affecting the sport to the Cabinet Committee on Sports that is scheduled to meet on July 31.

With no Council Meeting held since April 20 last year, how could FAM run effectively when policy decisions were made by a select few. This process is one of the first thing that the Task Force will have to look into. But will they do fair judgement as some of them are party to these poor decisions?

The position of the General Secretary will also be something that will be closely followed as two names have cropped up as possible replacements for Dato Seri Dr. Ibrahim Saad. Both Hamidin Mohd Amin (FA Selangor) and Datuk Mohd Junid (FA Penang), have their strengths and it will be for the Sultan of Pahang to decide as he is empowered by the constitution to appoint the General Secretary.

Lets wait and see the drama unfold...

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Even the Deputy President of FAM Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah did not mince his words when asked about the performamce of the national football team in the ongoing Asia Cup. Below is the report from Berna that may or may not appear tomorrow.

"What a shameful display!"
The words uttered by Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah probably summed up what Malaysians feel about the shocking display by the national football squad against China yesterday.
Visibly upset by the humiliating 1-5 defeat to China in the Asian Cup opener, he apologised to spectators at Bukit Jalil Stadium for the listless display meted out by the footballers.
"I apologise to all the spectators and want to shake their hands. I am truly disappointed with their inept display," he told reporters after presenting the Pahang cooperative quality award here last night.
Asked why the players fielded could not perform, he said the question should be directed at coach Norizan Bakar.
"The coach has the power to choose the players and he should know better. Only the coach and players will be able to say what happened that night. I was also a spectator."
He said although the Chinese had the height advantage and were quicker, the Malaysian players should not be intimidated and should be able to provide stiff opposition.
Tengku Abdullah hoped that the national squad would be able to correct the weaknesses and put on a better display in the remaining matches.
"I hope there will not be a repeat of what happened that night but I am still wary of conceding more goals," he added. (BERNAMA)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


THe knives are out for coach Norizan Bakar and another defeat at the hands of Uzbekistan would confirm the inevitable. So disgusted was the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang, Deputy President of FAM, that he left the stadium when the score was 4-0 in favour of China. And who would blame him for we were not outclassed because of lacking of quality players but were tactically undone. How would one explain the absence of K. Nanthakumar from the starting XI when it was evident that China will look towards their airial strength to prise open the Malaysian defence. And fielding two ageing strikers against the Chinese was another blunder. Still we must give credit to the fans who believed in the team and were there in numbers to cheer them on. What can we look forward to on Saturday?

Present at the VIP box was NSC Director General Dato Zolkples Embong. Perhaps he should initiate the move to send some of the younger players to be attached with clubs overseas. Word has it that the Negri Sembilan twins are headed for Europe next season and that is a good move, something other clubs, states should follow if they are serious in uplifting the standard of Malaysian football.


After a foreign player playing in the Premier League was found to have used a banned substance, it is said that a local player failed the dope test in the FA Cup last month. The FAM had conducted the random doping testing and this player was tested positive in a match during the later stages of the FA Cup. Not only is the player staring at a two year automatic suspension should the B sample also be positive, question marks have been raised on what action can, should be taken against the team he is representing. If in a league match the team could be punished by docking three points, what will be the situation in the knock out competition. FAM's top brass are neither confirming nor denying that another plyer has been tested positive. Maybe we will hear more of it in the days to follow....

Monday, July 09, 2007


Though AFC has been hard on FAM, their own organising capability came under the microscope at the Pre Match Press Conference held today at the official hotel. For there was total chaos when the Malaysian Coach, Norizan Bakar and striker Hairuddin Omar were presented to the media. With Hairuddin unable to converse in English, it took team administrator Mohd Shazali to act as the stand in interpretor. And the cameramen were all over the place, leading to frayed tempers. But worse was yet to follow as the Malaysian were hounded for interviews after the official press conference was over, not by the Malaysian media but by two foreign television crews. And yet AFC had the cheek to bar other Malaysian TV stations from providing coverage of the match as it has limited space behind the goal it seems. Malaysia is always at the receiving end of AFC of late, and last week two senior officials who had submitted a months notice of resignation were asked to leave in 24 hours. With three cases already at the Industrial Court, perhaps it will be five soon. The idea is to move AFC out of Malaysia, the rest is hogwash by the senior officials who claim that Malaysia is a special place for AFC.


Malaysia has been drawn in Pool A in the 10-nation Asian hockey championship for men to be held at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium from September 1 to 9. The other teams in the group are South Korea, China, Sri Lanka and Singapore.Group B will comprise of hosts India, Japan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong (China) and Thailand. Pakistan has opted out of the tournament as its undergoing a team re-building exercise.
China will be other team that will be watched keenly and could be a tough team for Malaysia to match as they made the final of the Asian Games in Doha, defeating India and Pakistan enroute to the silver. South Korea, the Asian Games gold medallist were however beaten in the recent Azlan Shah Cup by Malaysia. The significance of this event lies in the fact that the FIH has accorded it the status of a world ranking event. Malaysia is currently ranked 16 in the latest FIH rankings list while India is ranked 8 in the world.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


The Champions Youth Cup, that came under media scrutiny, is an Under 19 tournament, meaning it is for players born in 1988 and beyond. But for some reason or another Malaysia, under the guidance of Robert Alberts, started preparing an Under 20 team, meaning players that were born in 1987 onwards. The team even undertook a playing tour of Bangkok and were scheduled to leave for a playing tour of Australia next week. Now they realised that the tournament is for those who are Under 19 years of age and hence the entire selection has to be done all over again. There is a team comprising of Under 19 players, coached by K. Rajagobal. So where is the problem then as Rajagobal's boys can play in the CYC. But this team is being prepared for the Asean U19 Tournament that will held from July 29 to August 14 while the CYC starts from August 5. So who kept the truth from FAM with regards to the age of the players?.....

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


The Malaysian Womens Hockey Association (MWHA) will be settling its dues with teams yet to receive the prize money for the various tournaments in the next two weeks.
Admitting that they were facing cash flow problems, MWHA Hon. Secretary Dr. S. Shamala said that efforts were underway to ensure that the payments will be made. On another note Dr. Shamala has yet to make up her mind with regards to her position in MWHA. This is because Dr. Shamala is currently the Head of the Women Sport Division in the National Sports Council. Her continued presence in MWHA could likely be a conflict of interest and Dr. Shamala will have a heart to heart talk with the President before making up her mind.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


There is speculation that five times workd champions Brazil could well play in Malaysia next month. After efforts to bring Barcelona failed, it is said that moves are underway to get the Samba kings to play a match in Malaysia to celebrate the 50th Merdeka Anniversery. After the way Man United were kept away from M'sian shores by AFC, a night of Brazilian football could well be the icing on the cake for football fans in Malaysia. Watch this space for more details.


While the MWHA BGM will be held on July 15, perhaps the time has come to put things right in an association that really should do better.
For complaints have been rife that teams that participated in the Junior League last year have yet to receive their prize money. And on the top of that some states did not receive their subsidies when participating in the recent age group championships. This matter was brought to the attention of the major sponsors of the league who promised swift action. Lets see if the NSC will react to it as well.


The MHL-TNB League Technical Committee seems to have overstepped their boundries when they meted out three match suspensions to the coaches of E&Y and Sapura.
This is because the Technical Committee has no punitive powers and should have referred the matter of the two coaches to the Disciplinary Board. So is the suspension legal and enforceable in the first instance?
The irony of the whole matter is that the same committee deemed it fit to refer the manager of the KHA-Nur Insafi team to the Disciplinary Board for ungentlemanly conduct.
The fact of the matter is that the Technical Committee has no right to suspend the two coaches. But can we expect them to overturn the verdict and let them sit on the bench tomorrow in a crucial match at the National Hockey Stadium? Or will be a case of sticking to their decision no matter how faulty it was?


The end is near for Ganga Rao, Hon. Secretary of Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM). It is likely that he will be found guilty by the inquiry panel set-up by the BWF and in the process lose his position as the COO/GM of the world body. While I will not got into the facts of the decision, as the matter is more then likely ending up in the court of law, Ganga is receiving attention whereever he goes. For at the Bangsar Shopping Centre on Monday, where the scribe was having a drink with Ganga, Datuk Rosmah Mansor, the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister,stopped by and asked Ganga on his issue with the world body. It was a friendly gesture by Datuk Rosmah. It seems that Ganga will be informed of the decision anytime this week.

Friday, June 29, 2007


That will be the correct terminology to describe the scene outside the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night when Malaysia took on Jamaica in a friendly international to prepare for the Asia Cup.

With the match already underway (kick off was 8.35pm as opposed to the normal 8.45pm), several thousand fans lost their cool as there was only one location selling tickets. Hence they broken down the gate and gained entry.

Hopefully the fans will show the same drive to support the team when the Asia Cup gets underway on July 10 with Malaysia taking on China in the opening match. For the record Malaysia lost 2-0 to Jamaica. The first half performance was scrappy but the Malaysian team put up a much improved performance in the second 45 minutes but were unlucky not to score despite creating several chances.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Come June 29, Badminton World Federation (BWF) Chief Operation Officer Ganga Rao will face a domestic inquiry set up to hear allegations against the 45 year old who is also the Hon. Secretary of Badminton Association of Malaysia.

The "trumped up" charges against Ganga, said to be initiated by a senior official, include spreading rumours with regards to the health of the said official of BWF, taking instruction from the President of BWF, assuming the post of COO ileaglly and sending out emails that are said to be damaging to BWF. (The email charge is something that the Malaysian Police are investigating as Ganga has lodged a police report.)

Nonetheless Ganga faces an uphill battle to clear his name as the composition of the Domestic Inquiry is said to be questionable for the three persons appointed are said to have an axe to grind against Ganga based on their conduct during the Council Meeting. The trio that are to decide Ganga's fate are : Varma (India), Tong Vai Loon (Hong Kong) and Wayne Summers (Canada).

Ganga has nothing to lose as he has served badminton faithfully and with honesty all these years. He will fight to clear his name, but what happens after that is yet to be seen. One thing is certain, Ganga's only option left is to leave BWF and let it self destruct. For the many Brutus's in BWF come in all shapes in sizes.


In honour of Tan Sri Noordin Hassan, who served as President of the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association, a testimonial match comprising of players that represented Kuala Lumpur over the last three decades will be held on July 3rd 2007 at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association Stadium.
The two teams will be led by fomer Malaysian skippers, with N. Sri Shanmuganathan and Sarjit Singh leading Team A while R. Ramakrishnan and Nor Saiful Zaini will take charge of Team B.
Amongst the players that have confirmed their participation in the testimonial match are former national coaches Stephen Van Huizen, Wallace Tan and Yahya Atan as well as former international from the 80’s to the 90’s in the likes of Colin Sta Maria, James Murthy, Mirnawan Nawawi, Calvin Fernandez, Shanker Ramu, Tai Beng Hai and ex women internationals K. Maheswari, Lum Sau Fong and Christina Chin.
In addition to the match, KLHA will also be holding an appreciation dinner for Tan Sri Noordin on July 6th at the Royal Selangor Club.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


The debate has started on the pro and cons of having foreign players in the M-League. While a brain storming session will be held on June 25 at the Bluewave Hotel in Shah Alam, the critics are now questioning the decision of having foreign plsyers in the league. If not mistaken, there is a rule that prevents teams from signing up foreign goalkeepers. Take a look at the goal scorers list and you will find only two Malaysians in the top ten list of goalscorers for each of the leagues. Mohd Khalid Jamlus from Perak (12) and Azlan Ismail from Perlis (9) are the top local strikers in the Super League while Mohd Harris Safwan from UPB-MyTeam FC (8) and Mohd Fareed Shah from PKNS (5) are in the top ten of the Premier League. Maybe the answer is not completly barring the foreign players but reducing them to just two per team, and that too limited to just midfielders and defenders. Food for thought?



Shahrazain Said DPMM FC 19
Keita Mandjou PERAK 19
Marlon Alex James KEDAH 17
Walter Silva JOHOR FC 16
Mohd Khalid Jamlus PERAK 12
Sharlei Miranda TERENGGANU 11
Phillemon Chepita PERLIS 10
Frederico Dos Santos NEGERI SEMBILAN 9
Azlan Ismail PERLIS 9
Chaswe Nsofwa TELEKOM FC 8


Marin Mikac UPB-MyTEAM FC 13
Abdulafees Abdusalam SHAHZAN MUDA 12
Charles Obi SABAH 11
Victor Alejandro SHAHZAN MUDA 8
Mohd Haris Safwan UPB-MyTEAM FC 8
Martin Carlos KL PLUS FC 7
Dejan Miljanic UPB-MyTEAM FC 6
Michael Barasa PDRM 6
Mohd Fareed Shah Hasan PKNS 5
John Mawalma PDRM 5


The Malaysian National Football team got their wish to play a friendly match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil. The go-ahead finally came from the stadium authorities yesterday. Thus Malaysia will take on the Reggae Boys, Jamaica, on June 28 at the National Stadium. This will Malaysia's final warm up match before the Asia Cup next month.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Tenaga Nasional Berhad or Thunderbolts as they are now known, blasted eight goals past Bukit Jalil Sports School at the KLHA Stadium in Pantai this evening. The Thunderbolts led 5-0 at the breather but missed several sitters and could have gone to double figures had they taken the chances that came their way. Still the win was a welcome relieft for a team, that had suffered two defeats in as many matches last week.

In another match played at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, table toppers E&Y kept up their winning run when they defeated Maybank 2-1. The start of the match was delayed after the lights at the main pitch blew and the match was shifted to the adjoining pitch.


The match between UPB-MyTeam FC in the Premier League has been re-scheduled to July 2 at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. This match was initially slated for July 31, but the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) made changes to the fixtures following the fact that PDRM and MyTeam have already ensured promotion to the Super League for the 2007/2008 season. With no stadiums available in Klang Valley following the influx of foreign teams preparing for the Asia Cup, the only alternative available was to play the match in Seremban.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


R. RAMAKRISHNAN can never forget the moment. There were tears in his eyes as he celebrated Malaysia's win overHolland.

There were Malaysian flags all over and in their moment of glorythey thought the flags reached up to the heavens.

That 2-1 win carved a place for Malaysia in the semifinals of the 1975 World Cup. The scenes at the Kilat ground were unbelieveable. The key to the success was the fact that the team believed in themselves and were never under pressure to perform.

"There were no specific targets. Mind you we finished second last in the`73 World Cup.

"But we set out to defeat the teams that we knew we could beat. From the onset we knew we had to win the matches against teams who were on par with us and against the more fancied ones we gave our best," said Rama.

The striking aspects of Rama's game were his ability to produce defence-splitting passes and this helped the national cause. Though he had the distinction of playing in three World Cups, the 1975 edition the jewel in the crown of his career.

"The team of `75 were very special," he recalled. "We had depth in the squad and this played a major role in our success."

The understanding among Rama, Poon Fook Loke and Franco de Cruz who combined in the middle, was especially good.

"It was not done overnight. We spent long hours after practice to chalk out strategies." Rama, a feared right-inside during his hey days, played his part in the tournament by creating match-winning opportunities for his teammates.

But what has this fine player of yore got back from the country he so dearly loves? Nothing. Not even an award.

"We do not know how to recognise champions. And probably we deserve the tainted cash-rich stars who have taken Malaysian sports to its very nadir of late."

There was very little in terms of financial gains but then Rama comes from an era where money was very much secondary to the game.

The young players of those years respected him and on occasions sought his advice. It was a rather unique bond. During weekends, Rama spends time with young boys in Teluk Intan,teaching them the finer points of the game.

For it was here that Rama himself learnt the game. Rama carried on for a couple of more years before leaving the scene in 1981, disillusioned by the state of affairs in Malaysian hockey.

But not before he made one last major contribution by helping the team qualify forthe 1982 Bombay World Cup.


NAME: R. Ramakrishnan
AGE: 48
PLACE OF BIRTH: Teluk Intan, Perak.
POSITION: Half/Forward
MARITAL STATUS: Married to Kusala Kumari.
CHILDREN: Daughter: Ganeshree Devi (16)Son: Shri Ganesh (14)
PROFESSION: Director-Operations with Kris International Traveltours(Malaysia) Sdn Bhd also Legal Executive for Sri Indra Jaya Holdings SdnBhd
WORLD CUPS: 1973 (Amsterdam),1975 (Kuala Lumpur),1978 (Buenos Aires)
OLYMPICS: 1976 (Montreal)
ASIAN GAMES: 1974 (Tehran),1978 (Bangkok)
INTER CONTINENTAL CUP: 1981 (Kuala Lumpur)
CAPS: 102
OTHER ACHEIVEMENTS: Asian All Stars (1974)


MERDEKA STADIUM and Stadium Negara - two national landmarks and scenes ofsome of the greatest moments in Malaysia - will not be demolished as planned.

The Sports Ministry want the two stadiums to resume staging sportingevents, five years after the government had given the developer UEM thegreenlight to consign the historical landmarks into history.

Discussions to this effect are in the advanced stages between the SportsMinistry and Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Berhad, the current owners of the land.

This was disclosed to The Malay Mail by Sports Ministry's secretarygeneral Datuk Mahamad Zabri Min yesterday.

Pemodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) have taken over the 13.08 hectare piece of land from United Engineers Malaysia Bhd (UEM).

The site, occupied by Stadium Merdeka, Stadium Negara and ChangkatPavillion, was acquired through Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd last year.

It is now owned by PNB's PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd. The government had granted UEM the right to develop the land in exchange for building two stadiums at Bukit Kiara and five stadiums at Bukit Jalil which were used for the Commonwealth Games.

"We are currently in negotiations with Danaharta on how best we can utilise the two stadiums. They are agreeable to the two stadiums being utilised for sports once again," said Zabri.

"This is because the owners have no intention of developing the site of the two stadiums for the time being. However, they plan to develop theChangkat Pavillion area but this will not affect the stadiums.

"Our immediate plan will be to ensure that the two stadiums conform to the safety standards required to hold sporting or other events."

"The mechanism on who will operate the stadiums has yet to be worked out but on our part, we intend to get the sports who were originally using thetwo stadiums to start using them again."

Zabri said that by re-activating the two stadiums it did not mean that the Ministry were intending to wage a competition between the two stadiums and the National Sports Complex.

"It is more to complement the needs of the sporting and cultural fraternity. It should be healthy rivalry and not something that should belooked at negatively."

Zabri said the Ministry also intend to offer office space to sports associations who need it.

"One has to remember that Stadium Negara once housed the offices of the National Sports Council.

"And with its location, I am sure it will entice many associations to move in there."

The proposal by the Ministry will indeed be welcomed by those in the sporting fraternity as there has been a dearth of sports facilities in the city centre.

In fact, the schools look to gain the most as many a time sports meets were held in the Merdeka Stadium.

As for Stadium Negara, it can be utilised for sports like netball,badminton as well as indoor hockey which was once played there between 1980 to 1983.


IF Brian Sta Maria could go back in time, there is only one thing he wouldwant to do. That is to throw his body in the path of the bullet coming off India'sAslam Sher Khan's penalty corner hit in the 65th minute of their 1975World Cup semifinal clash at Merdeka Stadium.

Until then Malaysia were close to pushing India over the cliff as theyled 2-1 through goals by Poon Fook Loke and Sri Shanmuganathan.

"I was the first runner in the penalty corner situations and saw theball hit by Aslam slip under my stick.

"When it was all over I wished I had thrown my body in the path ofAslam's shot for it would have given us a place in the final."

But to be fair to Brian he had thwarted the penalty corner attempts by another Indian fullback, Surjit Singh. It was a case of being in the national team at the wrong time for Brian.

For when he was at his peak, he had to contend with A. Francis, who together with Sri Shanmuganathan formed a solid defence. But Brian took it all in his stride as he toiled to prove his worth and make the national team.

It was football, not hockey, that was Brian's first love and he even represented Negri Sembilan in the Burnley Cup (now the Razak Cup) in 1969as a goalkeeper.

But on the encourgament of his mentor, Lawrence van Huizen (father of current national coach Stephen), Brian took up hockey seriously and never looked back.

Brian made his debut for Malaysia in 1969 and quit the national team asa disillusioned man after the 1978 World Cup. The events that led to his retirement still rankle as he recalls the fateful day he decided to give up hockey.

"The team had just returned from Argentina when M. Mahendran asked a photographer to take his picture for he wanted to retire.

"Alagendra (now Tan Sri) told me to join Mahendran too. That to me was an indication that my services were no longer required.

"The words did affect me and I quit the national scene. Still, I hold no bitterness against anyone."

Brian's career had its down side as he was suspended for a year for refusing to don national colours and had to miss the 1976 Montreal Olympics as a consequence.

"All I did was ask for a break as I had been playing hockey continously but they wouldn't allow it.

"Compare that with the current situation where you find officials begging players to play on.

"This is what Malaysian hockey does not need. Ban them if they refuse toplay. Why must the rules change now. After all the officials are the sameones as in 1976."

Brian quite clearly recalls the day he was fielded against India following an injury to the no-nonsense Francis.

With the score at 0-0, Francis was replaced after pulling a hamstring. And in stepped Brian.

"The semifinal against India was rained off but not before Francis aggravated his hamstring injury.

"I knew I would have to face the Indians and boy was I nervous. It took me almost 20 minutes to settle down in that match. But the fact that we were leading helped."

With Malaysia playing the pyramid system, Brian was entrusted to markout India's inside left B.P. Govinda.

"India were a skilful side and made life difficult for us. But we gave them one hell of a fright."

Brian, who came on mostly as a substitute in the tournament save for the3rd placing match against West Germany, was adept at defending on eitherflank.

He saw action against New Zealand, Spain and Poland prior to thesemi final clash with India.

"The advantage we had in 1975 was that the team had been kept together since 1970 with few changes.

"In fact, there were only five changes to the 1975 team from the onethat played in the 1970 Asian Games.

"This helped us build a good understanding and that served us well inthe World Cup."

Name: Brian Sta Maria
Age: 52
Date of Birth: 12-9-1949
Position: Fullback
Profession: Director of Suci Cleaning Services
Marital Status: Married to Elaine LumChildren: Trevor Calvin Sta Maria (16)Shaun Kingsley Sta Maria (12)Amanda Jane Sta Maria (5)
Awards: Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (1975)
World Cup: 1973 (Amsterdam), 1975 (Kuala Lumpur), 1978 (Buenos Aires)
Olympics: 1972 (Munich)
Asian Games: 1970 (Bangkok), 1974 (Tehran), 1978 (Bangkok)
International Career : 1969 to 1978
Caps: 114
Coaching Career: None


JOHN TERRY is making a name for himself in the Chelsea backfour. So much so that the Blues fans have been chanting "Terry for England" during theirmatches of late.

The Chelsea fans have picked Terry as their Player of The Year for 2001ahead of several established names like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Marcel Desailly and Mark Bosnich.

At 21, he is the second youngest player to have been given the accoladeby the Chelsea fans after the legendary Ray Wilkins won it at the age of19 in 1976.

And the England Under-21 skipper knows it is only a matter of time before England coach Sven Erikkson pens his name down for one of the several friendlies that have been lined up for England's campaign towards the World Cup.

But Terry is not going to lose any sleep if he is not picked. Not when he has the chance to lead the England Under-21 team for the European Championship.

"Obviously playing in the World Cup is something every player dreams of. It is the tournament for any footballer and why should it be different for me. But the final decision lies with the manager," said Terry when met byMailsport at the Chelsea training ground in Harlington.

"As for now, all I aim to do is play well for Chelsea and play a big part in the Under-21 team."

Having had the distinction of playing under two Italian managers,Gianluca Vialli and Claudio Ranieri, and David Platt - who spent aconsiderable amount of his career in Italy - Terry said he has not changed his style of play.

"Though the three of them have all an Italian flair but that has not changed my game one bit. I am English through and through and have not developed any Italian characteristics," said Terry.

Both friends and foes alike have given Terry the hardman tag for his uncompromising tackles on the pitch. But unlike his predecessors, Chopper Harris and Vinny Jones, who were nicknamed "Chopper" and "Psycho" respectively, Terrry prefers to be called"JT".

Having played alongside players like Graeme Le Saux, Gianfranco Zola,Desailly and Frank Leboeuf has helped Terry develop as a world-class central defender.

"Le Saux helps me on the pitch by constantly talking to me. As for Zola,he helped me a lot when I was a youngster and still does the same. We do one-to-one tackles after training and though I am slightly better attacking him, it's still not enough. He is truly world class."

It is Desailly that Terry speaks of with great respect. For the FrenchWorld Cup medal winner has been displaced by his prodigy, Terry, in Chelsea.

"It's without doubt that he is the best defender in the world. To be given an opportunity to play alongside him has helped my game mature."said Terry.

"But he has been unlucky with injuries of late and that has allowed Gallas (William) to team up with me in the heart of defence. Sometimes. I look at the situation and feel awkward for Desailly who now has fight for a place against someone who looked upon him with admiration."

Terry has the distinction of marking three of the great names in theEnglish Premier League - Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nielstroy and MichaelOwen. Of the trio, Terry said the most difficult player to mark has to be Henry.

"He is very skilful and is able to pressure a defender in making mistakes. He has this uncanny appearance of being lazy but when he is onsong, it spells nightmare for the defenders," said Terry.

"Owen has speed and given half a yard, would leave defenders trailing in his wake."

Despite the lucrative fees available should he ply his trade in Europe,Terry has no plans to move out of Stamford Bridge.

"I have been with Chelsea since I was 14 and would like to stay as longas possible," he said.

"You don't get too many one-club players these days but I definitelywant to stay with Chelsea for the rest of my career."

And Malaysian fans of Chelsea may well get an opportunity to see the newkid on the block for he is considering coming to our shores, courtesy of Emirates Air.


Name: John Terry
Date of birth: Dec 7, 1980
Place of birth: Barking, England
Height: 6ft 1in. Weight: 181lb
Chelsea debut: Against Oldham Athletic FA Cup (3rd rd, Jan 3, 1999).
First Chelsea goal: Against Gillingham FA Cup 6th rd, Feb 19, 2000).
Also played for: England Under-21 (nine caps - skipper).


FORWARD M. Mahendran has likened the camaraderie of the 1975 World Cuphockey squad akin to the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.

This he says wasthe single most reason on the success of the team in emerging fourth inthe last World Cup played on Malaysian soil.

"We were all single minded in our approach and wanted to bring glory tothe country. There were no prima donnas in the team those days for every player knewthat teamwork was essential to ensure success. We had the barest minimumin terms of training facilities, encouragement or incentives," said Mahendran.

"But that never discouraged us one bit for we knew that the hopes of thenation were on our shoulders."

He said the national players at that time trained three sessions a day. A day would start off with a 15 mile run followed by a training sessionat 11.00am. Another training session would be held at 3.00pm before they called it a day.

"All this physical training helped us to be one of the fittest squads inthe World Cup," said Mahendran.

Mahendran made his debut for the national team at a relativly young ageof 21. But as fate would have it, an injury during training put paid to his hopes of playing in the Mexico Olympics the same year.

"It was disappointing to say the least but I never let it get to me.Rather I doubled my efforts and continued to fight for a place in thenational side."

He was rewarded for his efforts in 1972 when he was named as theSportsman of the Year.
Winning it was all the more satisfying, as he had to fend off achallenge by the Towkay Soh Chin Aun.

"I suppose the votes swung in my favour following my good performance both in the Munich Olympics as well as the Regional Tournament where I emerged as top scorer."

Coming back to the 1975 World Cup, Mahendran said team spirit was verygood be it in training or during the tournament.

One for all and all for one may be the rallying call for the ThreeMusketeers but many do not know that the national hockey team were usingit as well.

"We stood together in tense situations during a match and never allowed any of our teammates to be bullied. I guess this was what earned us the respect of other teams for they knew that the Malaysians were prepared fora fight collectively."

Besides creating scoring opportunities, Mahendran managed to get on the score sheet twice against Poland and Pakistan. Mahendran said that another contributory factor in their success was the ability of the players to play in several positions.

One does not have to look too far to justify his argument. Mahendran played as right inside, right wing and eventually left wing during theWorld Cup.

"This was an advantage. The players were versatile and therefore able to play in any position. This meant that no one was assured of his position and kept the competitiveness for a place in the team wide open."

Mahendran had the distinction of coming up against the late VirenderSingh, the Indian right half in the semifinals.

Virender is well known for his stiff tackles that put Pakistan'smercurial left wing Samiullah out of action barely minutes into the WorldCup Final.

"Well, I think he knew better than to try any of his tricks on me forthe Malaysians had a reputation of playing dirty when required," said Mahendran with a laugh.


Name: M. Mahendran
Age: 55
Position: Forward
Marital Status: Married
Children: Ganesh
Occupation: Maintenance Manager Grand Centrepoint Hotel
National Team Debut: Regional Championship, Pakistan 1968 Caps: 179
Awards: AMN 1976, Sportsman of The Year 1972
Asian Games: 1970 Bangkok, 1974 Tehran
Olympics: 1972 Munich, 1976 Montreal
World Cup: 1973 Amsterdam, 1975 Kuala Lumpur, 1978 Buenos Aires.
Coaching Qualification: Level Three
Coaching Experience: Indonesia 1987,1989,196,1997; Thailand 1998;National Juniors 1994/1995; Malaysian B Team: 1987/88; Malaysian SeniorTeam: 1989-1991


LOCATING Paul Stoddart, the principal owner of the Minardi Formula 1 team,in England is no easy task.
He had not replied the e-mail I sent him a week earlier. But on the day I was due to fly back to Malaysia, the man himself got intouch with me and invited me over to his plant in Ledbury.

Ledbury? It was supposed to be a little country town where the Minardiheadquarters was located.

I didn't know the place existed and neither did the locals I asked. But following the directions given by Stoddart, I found myself standingin front of the magnificent building that housed the Minardi outfit.

Ledbury, west of London, is wrapped in the mists of hundreds of yearspast. Just down the road at company headquarters, Australian Paul Stoddart ishoping to write his own history.

But with the ink on the contract still drying, Stoddart only had weeksto build what most teams take years to achieve. At this massive factory, he is quietly accumulating the machinery and the know-how to get into the big league.

It started with an aviation empire built partly on incredible goodfortune and bad management in Australia.

When the Australian Government sold off its VIP aircraft, Paul Stoddart was the buyer. To his surprise, the deal came with spares worth millions! Minardi was saved. And Australia had its first owner since Jack Brabham.

With careful planning, a bit of luck and a few hundred million dollars,Minardi and Stoddart could one day swim in the champagne of Formula Onesuccess.

Stoddart admits the journey in Formula 1 will be a long and tediousprocess but he has set his long-term objectives. In 17 seasons Gian Carlo Minardi managed a couple of fourths and 28points.

"I want to be the person that actually puts a Minardi driver on thepodium," says Stoddart. You need a bit of luck but, more than that, you need the infrastructureand resources to get that podium when the chance comes along. I want toachieve that by 2003."

On why someone from the aviation industry is so taken up by motorsports,Stoddart says: "I saved the team from extinction as it deserved savingbecause of the tradition of over 17 years.

"And along the way we have become one eleventh, and later one twelfth,of Formula One. I think that is a pretty good position to be in as F1 is abusiness and to be one of the only 12 players is well worth the money wehave actually spent.

"My long-term strategy is to get Minardi off the bottom. All I want, andI'm not greedy, is one podium finish."

One of the more difficult tasks for Stoddart has been to secure areliable engine. The partnership with Asiatech was on the cards for some time and so itdid not come as a surprise but more as a relief to a team that has usedoutmoded Ford engines for too long.

While Stoddart was looking to major steps forward in 2002 in terms ofperformance, when he thought he had a chance at a Cosworth or Ferrariunit, the Asiatech deal has made him revise his opinion and aim at mid-grid respectability.

One thing the team will have, though, is more money. Malaysia's Alex Yoong, who is about to race a full season from theAustralian Grand Prix onwards, has brought on board Magnum Corporation assponsors.

Malaysia is coming into Formula One in a big way and Stoddart has takensteps to ensure a long-term relationship. He has the weight of the entirecountry behind him, a shrewd move for the future.

"We are going ahead with an academy for drivers in Malaysia. "It will start with karts. The Malaysian government supports motorsportand you will find a graduation process from karts through the juniorformulae to F3000 to find the next F1 driver.

"A lot of kids don't get a chance and to be honest it doesn't cost usthe national debt to take an interest in a country that takes an interestin us.

"The government isn't putting a penny into this, but they have facilitated introductions for us to companies that are happy to invest.

"Now it's time for us to give a little bit back. We do that through the two-seater programme and try to give a little bit more, because we need to.

"We need a niche. Why should somebody come to Minardi when they can go further up the grid? "The answer is that we've got more to give."

When asked if cementing a relationship with Malaysia means turning his back on Australia, Stoddart said: "Not at all. The problem with Australia is that they will probably onlysupport the first driver to get into F1. It may well be Mark Webber. Themultinationals, like Foster's, are all event sponsors."

Team history

1979 - Team founded by Giancarlo Minardi.
1985 - Formula One debut with Italian Pierluigi Martini.
1989 - First points (fifth and sixth in Britain).
1991- Ferrari engines take team to best season, finishing seventh withsix points.
1992 - Powered by Lamborghini engines.
1994 - Team enters into alliance with Scuderia Italia.
1996 - Flavio Briatore and Gabriele Rumi, who owned the former Fondmetalteam, acquire majority stake in team.
1997 - Briatore sells shares to Rumiand leaves company.
1998 - Austrian designer Gustav Brunner, who designed the car in 1993,returns to Minardi. 1999 - Cesare Fiorio arrives as team manager.
2000 - Team sold to Australian businessman Stoddart, who buys Rumi'sstake, after failed attempt to sell to Pan American Sports Network (PSN).Minardi remains as team director.


MALAYSIAN sports hit dreamy heights this year when the country finallyconquered the SEA Games as hosts. Malaysia's 111 gold-medal haul was their highest-ever in the biennialGames and fittingly, we became overall champions for the very first time.
No one, apart from the athletes it seems, relished the magical momentmore than National Sports Council's (NSC) director-general Datuk WiraMazlan Ahmad.
Returning after a year recovering from a heart bypass, Mazlan gainedtotal relief from seeing a grand dream realised to its full magnitude.
But while his tortured heart rests more easily now, there's still muchfor Malaysian sports to develop on. As the statistics recount the glorious moments by itself, Mazlan can'thelp but look back on some of the misses that left some rough spots whichbadly need to be ironed out before new heights can be scaled.

He relates it all to Mailsport's S.S. DHALIWAL:

"This year will be remembered mostly for our unprecedented success inthe SEA Games. One-hundred-and-eleven gold (28.3 per cent), 75 silver(19.23 per cent) and 85 bronze (17.06 per cent) medals are our highesthaul ever, since we started in the SEAP or SEA Games.

"We also became overall champions for the first time and dominated 12 ofthe 32 sports contested.

"Before this, our finest gold medal haul came in 1989, also in KL wherewe took 67 gold (22.11 per cent). Our best finish outside home came at the1999 Games in Brunei where 57 gold (24.4 per cent) were won.

"I could go on and on, on these wonderful statistics. But wait. While wehave been successful, we also need to stay successful. And that can onlyhappen when we remind ourselves of our shortcomings, admit our faults andact on them.

"We have an urgent reminder of all that in athletics, given the sport'sfailure to meet its target by half in the SEA Games.

"To arrest its decline, we now have the MAAU Task Force. Set up by theSports Minister through the Sports Development Act of 1997, we hope itwill not only better the sport's management, but also widen its activitiesthroughout the country.

"We have to act fast - athletics offers 46 gold medals at events likethe SEA Games, Asian and Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.

"As a reminder to other sports associations, the Sports Development Actapplies to all of them equally if there's a need.

"Its objective is to improve the management of sports in associationswhich have problems associated with fulfilling their objectives.

"Associations whose athletes are not getting the results have to buck upand find ways to improve their performances or else the Sports Minister orCommissioner will have to come in.

"Another letdown came from our national youth hockey team, which onlyfinished 12th out of 16 teams in the Junior World Cup in Hobart. But thenagain, we did not even qualify for the 1997 edition.

"Our cyclists also were quite a disappointment, managing only 22nd inthe Tour de Langkawi, and failing to retain their East Asian title.

"Our shooters are still struggling to make the impact they desire at theworld stage, despite the rise in their points.

"A few sports experienced a slump at Asian level, especiallybodybuilding, which uncharacteristically failed to win a medal at theAsian Championships.

"It was also unsatisfactory to see netball managing only third at theAsian championships, behind Sri Lanka and Singapore.

"Finally, much of my discontent also stems from the perception of somequarters who still gauge the progress of Malaysian sports through onlysoccer, badminton and sepaktakraw.

"That, I must say, is unfair when you look at the many other sports thathave made good progress of their own.

"It's been a very encouraging year for Malaysian sports as a whole, onthe regional and also international stages, and I'm pleased to note themerits heavily outweigh the demerits.

"But the striving for excellence is a never-ending journey. In what is ahighly positive year for Malaysian sports, it is still only the beginning.So, let's stop resting on our laurels and refocus on what's ahead now."


Aquatics, synchronised swimming, netball, hockey (men and women), lawnbowls, squash, weightlifting and silat.


Aquatics (swimming and diving), equestrian, gymnastics, karate, sailing,basketball (w), wushu, badminton, golf (m), shooting and boxing.


Football (m), volleyball (m), archery, tennis (w), petanque andbasketball (m).


Cycling, billiards and snooker, taekwondo, athletics and sepaktakraw.


Aquatics (waterpolo), football (w), golf (w), judo, volleyball (w),fencing, rowing, ping pong and tennis (m).


Diving: Asia Cup Diving Championships, China (three golds and twobronzes). The achievement of the divers at the world championships inJapan placed them as second amongst Asian countries in two events - 10msynchro platform and three-metre synchro springboard. Cycling: ACC Championships, Taipei (Josiah Ng - Keirin - fourth). AsianJunior championships, Taipei (two silvers and 2 bronzes). Squash: Asian Junior Championships, India (three golds and two silvers). Bowling: FIQ Junior championships Dubai (four golds, one silver and twobronzes). Athletics: Asian Junior championships, Brunei (two silvers and onebronze). Badminton: Malaysian Open (Ong Ewe Hock, champion). Japan Open (RoslinHashim, champion). Swiss Open (Roslin Hashim, champion). Dutch Open (LeeTsuen Seng, champion). Thai Open (Yong Hock Kin, champion). China Open(Wong Choon Hann, runnerup). Singapore Open (Wong Choon Hann, runnerup).Copenhagen Masters (Wong Choon Hann, runnerup). Indonesian Open (Lee TsuenSeng, runnerup).


Equestrian: Datuk Kamaruddin Abd Ghani was ranked No 1 for the year2001. Qabil Ambak emerged champion of the South-East Asia ShowjumpingCurcuit and qualified for the 2002 World Championships. Swimming: Lim Keng Liat became the first Malaysian to qualify for thesemifinals of the 100m backstroke event at the World Championships. Diving: Rosatimah Mohammad, Leong Mun Yee and Yeo Ken Nee qualified forthe semifinals of the World championships in Japan. Gymnastics: Sarina Sundarajah improved on her world ranking from 78 in2000 to 49 in 2001 at the World championships that saw the participationof 131 gymnasts. Cycling: Lee Robert, Mariam and Nor Azian won one silver and two bronzeat the World B championships in the Individual Pursuit (m), 500mindividual time trial (w) and individual pursuit (w).


Bowling: Shalin Zulkifli emerged fourth at the AMF World Cup in Pattaya. Squash: Nicol David emerged champion while Tricia Chuah was semifinalistat the World Junior Championships. The team also emerged runnersup. Badminton: Chong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah emerged third at the worldchampionships in Seville. Karate: Karate-Do KOI, Kota Kinabalu (five golds). 4th LadiesInternational Cup, Tokyo (two bronzes). Sailing: World Optimist championships, China (one bronze).