Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Yet another year has passed but nothing much has been achieved in Malaysian sports internationally. While everyone claims that they have the best interest of sports in the hearts, the fact of the matter is they have their hearts set out to make as much as they can from sports. The industry sucks and gone are the days when sports journos exposed scams that were meant to take the Malaysian public for a ride. While it started with a few so called international personalities out to suck our country dry, well it is Malaysian who are at it this time around. But why should I begrudge them as if those fool enough to part with the money see no wrong in doing so, who am I to take offence? Other then the fact that its OUR money that is being used, you and me who pay taxes, without fail for others to enjoy.

The only thing we can do about any of the big sports stories is watch and cheer - or jeer - and hope. But we can make a difference in our little personal spheres. We can do the right thing. We can aspire to be better.

With that in mind, I begin 2008 with the following intentions:

1. That the Cabinet Committee for Sports digs up what was decided in the first meeting held on November 8, 2004 especially in matters connected to the Education Ministry. Amongst things that were proposed and agreed upon was that the school fields be open to public usage once a week, utilising the ex-internationals to coach school athletes, ensuring that the focus is on Core Sports and not 19 sports as preached now.

2. That the Minister of Youth & Sports initiates a meet the National Sports Association session, without the presence of his officers so that he can find out from himself what is the true picture.

3. That the NSC stops interferring into the affairs of the National Sports Associations and get more qualified and experienced personnel to run sports.

4. That the Olympic Council of Malaysia pushes for the rating system to be implemented and also give serious thoughts to the amendments to the Sports Development Act.

5. That the FAM finally realises that the MSL without foreign players was a bad decision.

6. That the BAM finally sorts out its sponsorship now that Datuk Nadzmi wears both hats, BAM and Proton. He could learn from someone how to be an expert on the conflict of interest issue.

7. That a former friend of mine finally realises that race and politics will get him no where and learn from mistakes he has made and appreciates the help he has received.

8. That MHF President Tengku Mahkota of Pahang does actually make a bid to stand for the AFC President.

9. That Khairy Jamaluddin wins the UMNO Youth Presidency with Dato Razali Ibrahim as the number two.

10. That Dato Ibrahim saad makes it to the UMNO Supreme Council.

11. That the Sports Commissioner finally reads the provisions of the Sports Development Act.

12. That hockey makes it to the 2010 World Cup through the two attempts they have.

13. That Sathianathan finally realises that on the surface all is not right and walks with his back against the wall at all times.

14. That the Fat Boy in football bites the dust as he is the cause of the AFC and FAM fallout.

15. That finally Selangor, coached by my friend K. Devan, wins the Malaysia Cup, be continued later tonite


Questions are being raised with regards to the appointments of several personalities as Team Managers and Coaches of the various National Teams as announced by the MHF last Saturday.

While I will not discuss the merits of the appointments, a conversation I had with an old friend from Seremban stirred my interest in the subject and I wish to put forward arguments on this matter for the benefit of those who make the effort to follow this blog of mine.

Should George Koshy (pix above) the current President of the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association be required to vacate his position to take up the National Team Manager's position?

KLHA has an unwritten rule I am told, that if appointed by MHF, then that personality has to vacate his seat in KLHA. But why was this not the case when Tan Sri Noordin Hassan was appointed as MHF Vice President and National Juniors Team Manager in the 90's?

Its an unjust rule and something needs to be done, failing which those like George, Tuan Haji Johari and Rajamanickam will have to quit KLHA and thus effectively rendering the association crippled. George Koshy is all hockey, passionate and I fear all these politicking and back biting may lead to hockey losing another good administrator and leader. Don't let this get to you George, you built E&Y and go on doing the great job you have been doing. I was in YNS and we faced the same arguments, that we pinched players, those who sulk will get no where.

Going back to the question of conflict of interest, I agree that NSC should not play such a dominant role in MHF, and this has got to stop. The DG should be responsible towards all the high performance sports and if he is concerned about hockey, they why not FAM. Should he not also sit on the FAM Exco? But the position of NSC and NSI is as advisory on the Council and not during decision making processes. Those in MHF in the past realised this and did not allow themselves to be bullied.

Though i understand that the DG of NSC was invited by the President of MHF to sit on the Management Committee, he should highlight the conflict of interest issue and advive His Majesty accordingly. You cannot be the judge, jury and executioner, period.

Hockey needs a professional approach and all those in it should work together and not use it for personal gains. Thus I appeal to those running MHF now, be it the corridors of power or beyond that, look at developing the game from bottom, merging the leagues is a bad decision and will haunt you in the years to come.

Go to the schools, re-invent the Champion Schools, get the district leagues moving , the state leagues running, bring back the Champions Club to spur interest amongst disctricts, start a schools league as a pre-requisite to qualifying for Champion Schools and above all do something and stop politicking.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


December 27 was indeed a historical day for Malaysian hockey. For not only was it on that day that E&Y finally won the elusive MHL Overall Title, but that was the day of some bizzare decisions made by the Malaysian Hockey Federation.

Firstly I must congratulate personalities such as George Koshy, Tai Beng Hai, Nor Saiful Zaini Nasaruddin, Lailin Abu Hassan, Nor Azlan Bakar, K. Rajan, Tuan Haji Johari, K. Dharmaraj, Bob Rajendran, Saiful Azli Abdul Rahman and Mirnawan Nawawi. If you read from the list, with the exception of Bob and Saiful Azli, all those mentioned are from KLHA, or rather are now serving or have served KLHA.

Let's look at the appointments from a different perspective as I do not want to argue with regards to the lobbyists culture as stated by some quarters. Do these people deserve the appointment or not, only they can answer that question truthfully.

For one, I did SMS George Koshy, the President of KLHA as to why so many of those appointed were from KL and if he had prior knowledge of it? His answer was as usual direct, ask MHF and with regards to his own appointment as National Team Manager, George had this to say : "Let me enjoy my holidays and you will be the first I will inform of my decision."

The appointments were made by the MHF Team Management Committee, headed by Deputy President Nur Azmi Ahmad on December 27. So how it is that Tai Beng Hai was informed of the decision to extend his contract and be seconded to the National Team before the meeting was held? Did MHF or NSC appoint the coaches or was the decision made by NSC and MHF merely endorsed the decision?

Secondly, the issue was a replacement to Sarjit Singh, so why was Nor Saiful moved from the Under 16 team to the National Team when the appointment is just interim?
Thirdly, has MHF forgotten that they have a Coaching Committee, whose terms of reference are appointment of coaches for various National Teams? The Chairman has been appointed but no meeting has been held so who decided to appoint those coaches, your guess is as good as mine.

Finally, several committees formed, even appointments of deputy chairmans are not provided for in the current MHF constitution, so rightfully it is unconstitutional. Why are then the affiliates keeping quiet and why is the Sports Commissioner overlooking this malady?

Nothing has changed as so far as MHF is concerned, a southern state used to monopolise appointments and now its the turn of KL. Is MHF made of only one affiliate, all respect to George and Rajamanickam.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Ernst & Young have made the final of the MHL yet again but have yet to win the Overall Title, something that their coach K. Dharmaraj has done on numerous occasions during his playing career. Infact his opposite end, his elder brother K. Embaraj too has won the Overall Title as well during his career as a player.

But while the two teams battle it out on the pitch this Saturday for the title, it is what happens beyond the final that interests me. For it could well be the final time that we get to see E&Y playing in the MHL.

Word has it that from next season the team will be re-branded and known as the KL Hockey Club, a vision set in place by none other then George Koshy, a man that knows what hockey needs in order to reach the pinnacle.

Watch this space for more details and I take this opportunity to salute you George for what you are trying to achieve.


Well going by what is reported in the NST today, Dec 24, 2008, that is precisely what the President of Lawn Tennis association of Malaysia is indicating. Read the article below to make your own conclusion.
But I tend to disagree if we take hockey into account as the NSC has now gone beyond what they were set up to do. For how would one explain the presence of a senior NSC official who sits in the MHF Management Committee, something out of the ordinary for Malaysian sports for Dato Wira Mazlan Ahmad never did that during his tenure. Not only is the move unconstitutional, but highly irregular but then again NSC can do as they wish as they hold the purse to Malaysian sports right.
OLYMPIC sports tennis, canoe and kayaking have been thrown out from the 2010 Malaysia Games in Malacca, a move which does not augur well for their development.
In fact, the Malaysia Games supreme council's decision to not consider these sports goes against the government's policy of giving priority to Olympic events. Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) president Datuk Abdul Razak Latiff described the decision makers as 'clueless' on which direction to take in promoting Olympic sports."These people just know how to talk but I doubt they have a proper plan in place. I'm rather upset with the supreme council's decision on turning down tennis as I thought the Malaysia Games is a platform for promoting Olympic sports," said Abdul Razak yesterday."I suppose there are conflicting strategies and maybe politics over this matter. I really hope these people know what they are doing."
The supreme council threw out appeals from LTAM, FA of Malaysia (FAM) and the Terengganu government for tennis, futsal, canoe and kayaking to be included in the 2010 Games. NSC director general Datuk Zolkples Embong stated that these four sports were not considered due to budget constraints and the lack of facilities.Abdul Razak said tennis development will be affected. "Funding for tennis will be less, especially in the states. However, the association will continue developing the game and hopefully sponsors will still be interested in funding tournaments," he said.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights; overbearingly assuming; insolently proud: an arrogant public official. That is the defination that I found when I googled for the word arrogant.
And that is what B. Sathianathan was called by a high ranking FAM official and it received a royal rebuke from Sultan Ahmad Shah himself during the National Team Management Committee meeting held at Wisma FAM yesterday.
A little bird told me that Sathia was branded arrogant by this official and word has it that Tuanku Sultan came to know about it. And during the course of the meeting, Tuanku Sultan used the word in referring to what this official felt about Sathia.
Coming back to Sathianathan, he is indeed fortunate to have the backing of Tuanku , something that hockey coach Sarjit Singh did not have when Tengku Mahkota took over the helm at MHF.
Sathia should use this opportunity to prove his critics wrong, but do it by showing results on the field. Still Sathia needs to walk with his back against the wall as there are many corridors of power at Wisma FAM, and beyond it as well.
And as for the person who branded Sathia arrogant, perhaps the same official would like to check if he fits any of the below synonym as it as means arrogant, as what he called Sathia.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Body of Lies

The film is about a covert CIA operative working in Jordan searching for terrorists who have been bombing civilian targets. He uncovers information on the Islamist mastermind and devises a plan to infiltrate the terrorist network with the help of the Chief of Jordanian Intelligence on this operation, but he doesn't know how far he can trust him without putting his life in danger. The uneasy alliance leads to a cultural and moral clash between the men.
Closer to home we have our own version of Body of Lies, but the moral of the story is the same, who do we trust?
Read Harian Metro today on the so-called appointment of former Thailand and Indonesia coach Peter Withe to helm Malaysian football. The key players in the whole saga have issued denials with regards to having any knowledge on the the proposed appointment.
The quote in Harian Metro is as follows:
"Saya menerima panggilan daripada Tuanku Presiden semalam bertanyakan perkara itu dan hari ini, saya turut menerima SMS daripada Khairy. Saya tidak tahu bagaimana nama Peter Withe boleh timbul dalam soal ini"
Read the following foreign wire reports as well:
The New Straits Times quoted a Football Association of Malaysia offical as saying that the former Aston Villa striker would fly to Kuala Lumpur next week for talks."Peter is an excellent coach, but he is expensive and FAM will need to break its bank to have him in Malaysia but it is possible," said the official.
There cannot be smoke without fire and one official even told a journo friend that the issue of salary was also resolved as a private company would share half the cost should Peter Withe come to Malaysian shores.

Friday, December 12, 2008

It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings......

It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings is a proverb, essentially meaning that one shouldn't assume the outcome of some activity. But in the case of soon to be former Malaysian National Coach B. Sathianathan, it was not a case of the fat lady singing, but rather fat boy singing. Could Berita Harian in its veiled reports be implying the same thing?
The irony of the whole matter is that the national TV station RTM aired on its news bulletin the day Malaysia played Thailand, mind you quoting a key member of the FAM set-up, that Sathia will no longer be in charge of the national team after AFF, and that interview took place in the morning before the Thai match. And this is the same person that told a journalist that FAM had already talked to Peter Withe and the high salary was not an issue as it was to be shared with a private company.

Yet he is now saying that he has no idea with regards to a replacement for Sathia and the fate will only be determined by the National Team Management Committee, which meets on Monday, I believe at the directive of the President of FAM.

It seems that Sathia's fate was well decided before even the first match kicked off in Phuket and at the end of the match against Laos, Sathia gathered that he was surplus to the requirements. Having spoken to Sathia upon his return from Phuket, one can understand what he is going through at the moment. He did his level best and but little did he realise that those around him were plotting his downfall, an exit that that was planned well in advance.

Word has it that some quarters could not stand Sathia and made fun of his ability and loathed his demands for competetive matches. So it is not a surprise when some claim Sathia's preparations were sabotaged by a good friend of his as mediocre teams were brought in for the Merdeka Tournament, thus the lull before the storm.

It is a tsunami that Malaysian football could do without but when you are up against those who do not give two cents of their time to improve Malaysian football fortunes, then there is only one thing left to do, god help Malaysian football.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Ever heard the story of the four-minute mile? For years people believed that it is impossible for a human being to run a mile in less than four minutes until Roger Banister proved it wrong in 1954. Within one year, 37 runners broke the belief barrier. And the year after that, 300 other runners did the same thing.
What happens if you put an animal in a pond? Any animal, big or small, will swim its way through. What happens when someone, who does not know how to swim, falls in deep waters? You drown. If an animal who has not learned swimming could escape by swimming, why not you? Because you believe you will drown while the animal does not.
You have used a computer keyboard or a typewriter. Ever wondered why the alphabets are organized in a particular order in your keyboard? You might have thought it is to increase the typing speed. Most people never question it. But the fact is that this system was developed to reduce the typing speed at a time when typewriter parts would jam if the operator typed too fast.
These three cases show the power of our beliefs. There is no other more powerful directing force in human behavior than belief. Your beliefs have the power to create and to destroy. A belief delivers a direct command to your nervous system.
And that is what is missing in Malaysian athletes of late – the belief factor.
Many a battle is often won in the dressing room or even at the training ground but our athletes are oblivious to this fact. They think that by going out and performing well on the match/event day, they will taste success.
Do you believe that you can excel in whatever you do? Do you believe you are bad in mathematics? Do you believe that other people don't like you? Do you believe life is full of problems? What are your beliefs about people?
No belief is right or wrong. It is either empowering or limiting. A belief is nothing but the generalization of a past incident.
As a kid if a dog bit you, you believed all dogs to be dangerous. To change a particular behavior pattern, identify the beliefs associated with it. Change those beliefs and a new pattern is automatically created.
Have you heard about the placebo effect? People who are told a drug will have a certain effect will many times experience that effect even when given a pill without those properties.
Perhaps that is what Malaysian sports needs, a dose of self confidence that will last a lifetime.


After my posting early yesterday, Tengku Majid decided not to quit MGA but will fight on, and only leave after the BGM in May 2009. Read the NST today to get a better picture of why Tengku Majid will not go.

THE Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) and president Tunku Majid Sultan Iskandar (right) are headed for a showdown.
MGA passed a motion of no confidence against him yesterday but a defiant Tunku Majid said yesterday's extraordinary general meeting (EGM) was unconstitutional and that he would complete his term which ends in May. Tunku Majid's contention is that only the MGA executive committee can call for an EGM. The EGM was called as some members were allegedly unhappy with Tunku Majid's running of MGA and the selection of golfers for assignments. "Under the constitution, the EGM can only be called by the general committee. I have consulted former president Datuk Thomas Lee and my lawyers on the provision over this matter and they made it clear that the meeting is invalid," said Tunku Majid in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.
The press conference was held before MGA convened the EGM."Thomas also said the delegates in the meeting cannot remove me as president as I'm an elected member. In order to uphold the constitution, I have no choice but to declare the EGM as Ultra Vires. I will refer to the Sports Commissioner's Office for the next course of action."The delegates voted 129-33 in favour of the no-confidence motion while two delegates abstained. A total of 55 affiliates attended the meeting at the Bukit Jalil Golf and Country Club (BJGCC)."I was led to believe by some parties that I was coming to make MGA more prestigious but I was wrong. I'm staying on till May and I will attend meetings and check the minutes. I need to ensure that everything is in order," Tunku Majid said."My term expires on May 9 and I will gladly step down. It will allow the members to elect and appoint a new committee. I will continue to serve golf if needed." Meanwhile, at the BJGCC, EGM chairman Datuk Robin Loh, also the vice-president of MGA, said the meeting was lawful and properly constituted."We clearly complied with the constitution although it doesn't provide for every eventuality but it's open to interpretation," said Loh"Tunku Majid was supposed to attend the meeting but he failed to turn up. Anyway the MGA interest is greater than the people here. Everything was properly tabled and discussed in the meeting."
addthis_pub = 'nstonline';

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Though many changes are taking place in Malaysian sports, there
still is a sore point
when it comes to the funding received by the National Sports Association (NSA). This has been the bone of content ever since the National Sports Council took over the running of high performance sports in the country.

Either by design or genuine mistakes, the NSC has been concentrating too much on high performance sports and had left the development plans to the NSA’s to carry out.

But without the necessary financial resources, there was not much that the NSA’s could achieve. There should be a clearer assessment of whether the sport should receive public funding in the first place.

Money is currently distributed to some of the richest sports. Much of this money is for grassroots sports as is the case in the Core Sports, while it lasted, and not to cater for high performance athletes.

There is an important need to introduce a framework for funding and accountability.

And towards achieving this there are several steps that must be put in place and hence the NSC Board should explore these possibilities.

The first step in sports funding and must remain largely a voluntary process. Therefore applicant ought to submit a completed NSA Sports Funding Eligibility Application.

The guidelines for seeking funding assistance must be made public and be listed and not left to the discretion of a single officer.

And more importantly the criteria must include all the requirements set out in the eligibility criteria as determined by the Sports Advisory Panel/National Sports Council/Sports Commissioners Office.

Once the application is completed and it is determined which NSA is eligible, an in-depth assessment process should carried out to determine at what level and under what condition the financial support is to be provided.

The assessment stage calls for data collection, in-depth questionnaires, and follow-up interviews to assess how each application scope of activities and performances contribute towards the National Sports Policy and if it satisfies areas such as excellence, participation, capacity building and interaction.

Excellence basically means past and current track records with an evaluation of the NSA’s programmes for future international success. This process will determine if the NSA will qualify for sustaining program funding or project funding and may even go up to the extent of targeting the recipients of funding support.

The assessment is used to establish the annual funding range or its specific funding level, as the case may be. The actual amount to be received by the NSA may vary subject to factors such as availability of funds, recommendations emanating form the annual review process as well as accountability requirements.

All NSA funding is subject to compliance with accountability to specific contribution terms and conditions. This is to ensure that the government’s funding contributes to the achievement of the National Sports Policy goals and as such the progress of an NSA is measured over the course of the Olympic year funding cycle.

In addition to the clear guidelines there ought to be additional financial incentives. By offering financial incentives, the government will make it clear that it is a powerful lever to drive change. Maximum use should be made of funding agreements with delivery partners, to ensure that required outcomes and expected financial, operational and quality standards are met. Good performance should be rewarded but poor performance should result in sanctions.

How does one ensure that all this is workable? Malaysia is unique as it has the Sports Development act 1997. However statutory approaches should be used with care to guard against creating unintended consequences and restricting local flexibility and freedoms. The authorities should start promoting best practice. And this includes standard setting, quality control and disseminating best practice are all roles that government can undertake.

This approach may not lead to an immediate change in those sports that are funded. Parts of it are already being addressed. But if the NSC can take this process into account, and make it more transparent, resources will be better focused on sustained success in the sports most in need of support, most likely to bring benefit, and most likely to succeed.


It was a costly blunder, and with that it looks like coach B. Sathianathan will be taking charge of the national team for the last time when they line up against Thailand in the AFF Cup in Phuket on Wednesday.

A fortuitous long-range goal by substitute Nguyen Vu Phong four minutes from time saw Vietnam edge Malaysia at the Surakul Stadium in Phuket last night, virtually confirming a place in the last four of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Phong lofted a long ball from his own half that bounced over the head of Malaysian goalkeeper Helmi Eliza Elias for his second goal of the game.

It was a disgraceful performance from Helmi, but Sathia will take the fall, with none others from FAM taking any blame for what can be seen as a performance that was expected from the Malaysian players.

We were out thought, out foxed but not out played against Vietnam. But to lay the blame squarely on the coach is something that we are accustomed to in Malaysian sports. Will anyone else join the band wagon when the team fails?

FAM blundered when they told PDRM that they were out of the Super League, then promoted Kelantan without the approval of the FAM Council, and eventually made it a 15 team Super League tournament. And only nine months ago FAM were told off by FIFA for having a 13 team Super League. Will those who made the mistate own up and quit, highly unlikely...


The beiseiged president of the Malaysian Golf Association, Tengku Majid has scheduled a press conference at 1.00pm today at a leading hotel in Kuala Lumpur, some two hours before and 22km away from the MGA Extraordinary General Meeting of MGA.

Indications are that Tengku Majid may well throw in his towel and reveal the extent of the politicking that is taking place in the MGA. There is no doubt that there are certain quarters out to get him, a clear indication of this took place when the MHF ouster was planned from someone within his circle, rather then the MHF delegates doing it on their own free will.

Having being thrust into the limelight barely two years ago, Tengku Majid's departure, should he quit MGA as speculated today, provides us with an indication that in sports, no matter who you are, politics always wins.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Though not one official from the Malaysian Cricket Association would want to talk about it, news has it that Malaysia may well join the bid to host the matches between the two countries, scheduled for early January next year.

It is believed that a discussion on the matter took place in the MCA but there has not been any confirmation of sorts.

Malaysia has the facilities to play hosts as it boasts of two world class cricket facilities in Kinrara and Bayumas and MCA should seriously make an effort to sway the matches to Malaysian shores.

With the recent incident at Mumbai, it is highly unlikely that the Indian team will set foot on Pakistan soil and there have already been offers from England and UAE to host the matches which no doubt will be lucrative in terms of TV rights and other commercial aspects.

Doubts have emerged over India's tour to play three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 game after the Indian government stopped a junior hockey team from touring Pakistan at the last moment last month over security concerns. The Indian cricket board is awaiting government clearance to decide if it will carry on with the playing tour.


As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves.

So with that in mind, will the AFF Suzuki Cup be national coach B. Sathianathan's final outing as a coach of the Harimau Malaysia? Sathia has made it clear that he does not intend to renew his contract, even though he succeeds in taking the national team to the final of the AFF Cup. So that may likely pave the way for K. Rajagobal to take over the reins of the National Team, something that is believed to be favoured by Deputy President Datuk Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad.

Redzuan and Rajagobal have developed a good understanding over the past few years, from the time the National Under 19 team made waves in the AFF Under 20 in Palembang, Indonesia in 2005.

Some believed that a bulk of those players should be in Sathia's current team for the AFF, a fact that has been mentioned repeatedly and led to Sathia bursting out and telling people not to stab him in the back. From that statement alone one can infer that those statements were coming from Wisma FAM and it nonetheless irked Sathia as he was not getting the backing he needed.

Still the grapevine has it that Sathia will be shown the exit, no matter what the end result is in Phuket and a new coaching set-up will be in place come 2009.


While skills and knowledge can be learned, talent is instinctive. Tapping the talent zeitgeist is more important than ever before.

Thus the statement by the Deputy Minister was spot on, we have a problem in football in Malaysia and the sooner those warming the chair accept the fact, the faster we can rectify the situation. But from what can be seen, there is a state of denial, that everything is in order in football, that our moving up the rankings in good news, that the MSL is doing well, but those are just smoke clouds.

In our national perspective, let me give my two cents worth on how we can develop football in the country.
Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal were not this strong twenty years ago, and there has never been a club with the wealth of Chelsea. But while Chelsea have the Russian gravy train to help them win the accolades, clubs like United, Arsenal and Liverpool (post Rafa Benitez) had the foresight to develop talented youngsters.
Neglecting development of the youth means that there will be a heavy price to pay in the future and this malice is not just limited to clubs in the English Premier League but on own on soil we face a problem. And that FAM is the crux of the problem

Having a schools league with the Ministry of Education is not going to save Malaysian football, especially with the current scenario.

The Football Association of Malaysia and the Government needs to invest in grass roots level, and I can give a number of reasons for them to do so. For investing at grassroots means providing employment for qualified coaches, good facilities which include the playing fields and equipment.

Those in authority also need to promote the idea of small sided games. As coaches, the main focus of the coaching courses is small sided games (i.e. six-a-side, seven-a-side). Thus, if qualified coaches are employed in youth football they can impart their knowledge on the club they are working with. I hope that this makes some sense to those who are responsible.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


There are no words to describe how I and the rest of the sporting fraternity feel at the demise of Dato Ho Koh Chye. When I received the SMS from George Koshy, a sense of disbelief was what I felt for I had total admiration for Koh Chye. Having first seen him at the sidelines of the World Cup in 1975, I got to know him better in 1993 on my frequent visits to NSC at Stadium Negara. And when he was at Sportexcel, I truly learnt a great deal from him.

Below is an article I did on Koh Chye when I was a Journo with Malay Mail in 2003.

HO KOH CHYE has gone where Malaysian sportsmen only dream of. He has been a top rate player, coach, manager and sports administrator. Koh Chye is truly a sporting icon who has served the nation without reservation.
Seremban-born Koh Chye has added another feather to his career by being appointed the joint chef de mission for the Malaysian contingent to the Vietnam SEA Games in December. This is the first time the Olympic Council of Malaysia have appointed joint chefs de mission (the other half is Norminshah Sabirin).
In addition, the honour bestowed on Koh Chye is a shot in the arm for former athletes as OCM are giving opportunities to former internationals to provide leadership to the current batch of athletes.
"Being in charge means independent and goal-oriented decision-making, free from external and internal influences - the most important challenge of leadership," says the articulate Koh Chye.
"True leadership is only possible when personal interests play a secondary role to the interests and requirements of those you are entrusted to guide."
Looking back it is quite easy to see Koh Chye was bound for sporting greatness. Some 150 metres down the road from Koh Chye's home on Paul Street (currently Jalan Yam Tuan) was St Paul's Institution and almost adjoining it was the NS Padang. His parents - father Ho Tan Sze and mother Kuan Yoong - were blessed with 9 children (four boys and five girls). The seventh sibling was born on Nov 5, 1942 and little did the Ho family know that the child born under the zodiac sign of Scorpio would grow up to be one the nation's eminent sports personalities.
Koh Chye was educated a St Paul's Institution, developed his hockey skills on the NS Padang and started his teaching career in King George V School (KGV). After school, Koh Chye joined the Teachers Training College in Penang and turned out for Penang. He started representing Malaysia in 1960 at the age of 18 with two Asian Games and Olympics topping his list at the end of his playing career.
But unknown to many, Koh Chye was also an accomplished footballer having donned Negri colours in the early 60's when he played alongside former Negri team manager Datuk Jamluddin Ahmad. When he was appointed captain of the national hockey team to the Mexico Olympics some of the great names in Malaysian hockey - R. Yogeswaran, the late Ranjit Singh, K. Alagaratnam, the late S. Jeevajothy, M. Arulraj, Aminnudin and Yang Siow Meng - lined up beside him. He is best remembered for the `heading the ball' incident in a game against India that led some to label him as `hard headed' but Koh Chye said he did what was expected of a good goalkeeper.

Koh Chye says there are valuable lessons in sports that have universal application.
"Sport has an inexhaustible store of lessons, metaphors and paradigms that can be drawn upon," says Koh Chye.
"As athletes learn about goal-setting, teamwork, anger management and dealing with fatigue, these skills can used in parallel situations outside of sport. Competition in its various forms and settings will be with a person throughout life. Facing challenges does not mean learning to win, it means learning to sustain integrity. Without the ability to sustain one's commitment to the virtues of character in the face of competition, character fails us."
Though a Paulian, Koh Chye characteristically gave 100 per cent to the old enemy. As KGV's sports secretary, he helped to create an atmosphere of trust, support and mutual enjoyment that was the sporting face in KGV. Georgians of that era would vouch how the field, the courts and the grounds were filled with the joy of sports!
At 28, Koh Chye received his first assignment to prepare the national team for the Asian Games in Bangkok in 1970. And 1975 remains in the annals of hockey as Malaysia's best year. Koh Chye and his crew made it all the way to the semi-finals of the World Cup but were edged out 3-2 by India. In 1978, Koh Chye quit coaching but kept going as a hockey administrator. Koh Chye was appointed manager to the national team for the Olympic qualifiers in Auckland in 1991 and his Midas touched enabled Malaysia to make the 1992 Barcelona Olympics after an eight-year hiatus. His final assignment as Malaysian team manager was at the Junior World Cup qualifiers in 2000 in Kuala Lumpur where they qualified for the Junior World Cup 2001 in Hobart, Tasmania.
Koh Chye was appointed Sports Officer with the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture in 1974 and went on to join the National Sports Council (NSC) where he retired as the Director of the International Preparation Division. But his desire to improve academically did not end as he obtained a Masters degree in sports management in the United States. Even after his retirement he could not stay away from sports and was fittingly appointed executive director of Sportexcel, a body that paid emphasis to the development of sports amongst the young.
Koh Chye is proud that some of the beneficiaries of Sportexcel awards have gone on to become top stars in their respective games.
"Even in this new millennium, opportunities to participate and excel in sports are limited
by economic circumstances, discriminatory practices and expectations based on stereotypes," says Koh Chye.
"Athletes who achieve some measure of excellence face extreme pressure, both in terms of reward and punishment, to go for the win - no matter what. The `win at all cost' mentality is a huge problem, even in youth sport. Coaches and administrators, whose jobs too often depend not on their performance but on that of young people in their programme, encounter countless ethical dilemmas about how to balance their own professional interests with the needs of the athletes for whom they are responsible. Coaches, sport psychologists and sports physicians are enticed, sometimes coerced, into enhancing athletes' performance at the expense of those athletes' health and well-being."
While he was with NSC and Sportexcel, Koh Chye headed the Malaysian Hockey Federation coaching panel and also formulated the idea of a hockey academy. The sporting world never left him alone. His expertise was not only sought by hockey but by the other sports too. This recognition was best seen when he was appointed Deputy Chef De Mission of the Malaysian contingent to the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games. Koh Chye's talent as a sports administrator was further recognised when the Johor government appointed him as a sports consultant.
Today, at 61, fully retired, with the exception of being vice-president of the Malaysian Olympic Association, the youthful Koh Chye enjoys the game of golf and the company of his old friends. His approach is direct and simple. What is most important to him is working as a team towards a common goal - not necessarily to win the game, but to play the best possible game.
"Sports can and should be a place for fun and excitement, for joy, even ecstasy," says Koh Chye.
"Sports can contribute to the participants' health and wholeness, to their psychological, physical, social and spiritual development. But even more important, sports can and should be courts of justice, venues for rejuvenating ideals and promoting the character needed to work toward those ideals."
It is hard to imagine how far Koh Chye would have gone in a perfect world.


Name: Ho Koh Chye

Date of Birth: Nov 5, 1942
Career Record:
Teacher at King George V School in Seremban until 1974 when
he joined the Sports Ministry and later the National Sports Council.
Retired as Director of International Preparation Division, NSC in 1992.
Appointed Executive Director of the newly-formed Sportexcel and served
until 1996.
Consultant to the Johor government for sports development and
is currently the vice-president of the Malaysian Olympian Association.
Sporting Achievements:
Hockey international from 1960 to 1968.
Competed in
the Asian Games (1962 Jakarta, 1966 Bangkok) as well as Olympics (1964 Tokyo, 1968 Mexico).
Coaching Career:
National coach for the 1973 (Amsterdam), 1975 (Kuala Lumpur) and 1978 (Buenos Aries) World Cups.

Monday, December 01, 2008


Seems that the famous South Korean coach Kim Sang Ryul has decided not to accept the offer made by NSC, on behalf of MHF.

Initially a NSC officer went to Bangkok to negotiate terms with Kim and the deal was almost done. But the Korean made some demands that NSC could not say yes to as those matters came under the purview of MHF.

Another delegation was then sent to meet the Korean and this time it seems even Kim's coaching certification was being questioned and that irked the Korean. So a little bird tells me the deal is now off.

Wonder what the NSC DG has to say about this since he was certain the Kim will come. But more importantly who will coach the team now given the fact that the Azlan Shah is in April, Asia Cup in May, Champions Challenge II in July and World Cup Qualifiers in October...


Some four years ago, a local University was commisioned to conduct a study on the National Sports Associations (NSA). The report was never made public but it was an open secret that it was the root cause of some problems that affected the NSA's in the preceding years. I will over the coming days reveal some details of the report, hoping that some will realise that it was misinformation, rather then a personal vendetta that led to the so called spat between the Minister and top civil servant who was running sports in the country at that time. Amongst some of the more startling details are : - Only 24% of the NSA's agreed that their programs were tailor made to produce athletes of international standards. - 76% claimed that the NSC handouts were not sufficient to fund programs. - NSA's claim that problems between OCM and NSC affect them directly. The battle between these two bodies has caused them to lose/gain funding, depending on who they support politically. - Political intervention by certain personalities. - Lack of professionalism shown by KBS/NSC officers. - No direction insports from the powers that be. - Corrupt practices - Dictator type behaviour by NSC officials