Saturday, January 31, 2009


"He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked. "

Both the quotes are from Voltaire are correctly describes the situation that current football coach B. Sathianathan is in. For Sathia will face the wrath of the FAM Exco for having ridiculed the Malaysian football league, a honest assessment by someone who is passionate about football.

Many have said that the writing is on the wall for this former Pewira Habib bank officer, but I tend to disagree. Sathia, I believe will be given a stay of execution by the Exco, at least until the Merdeka Tournament. A rap on the knuckles for saying what was the truth will most likely be the outcome tomorrow, but then again if you are a punter do not put your money on this. For FAM works in a mysterious way and one can never be able to pin point what direction the Exco will take.

One thing though is certain, the State football associations, or as they are commonly known as the affiliates will bear the brunt of the blame for the situation football is in today. Nevermind the fact that it is not they who deterime how FAM is administrated or how the players are selected or how the league is run, it is they who are to blame, period.

To those in the Exco, I only offer these words, yet again from Voltaire:

"Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare The truth thou hast, that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare. "

It is the wise men from the Exco who will have to speak up if they truly love football for no matter what anyone else says, it is never accepted, not only in football but in Malaysian sports. Blaming the states seems to be the best solution to get out of this situation for some people.

However I shall take a prophecies from Nostradamus, when describing the death of JFK, to best describe how the "taichi" works in Malaysian football.

“The ancient work will be accomplished,
and from the roof evil ruin will fall on to the great man.
Being dead, they will accuse an innocent of the deed,
the guilty one hidden in the misty woods.”

Though we hope for change, it always ends up as wishful thinking. Nothing will happen tomorrow, trust me. And I shall let Voltaire have the final say.

"Everything's fine today, that is our illusion."


The nature and role of sport has changed over the years. In the past sport was mostly seen as something that you do for leisure or to keep fit.

Come Feb 7, Tan Sri Prof Khoo Kay Khim will be at the OCM Goodwill Ambassadors meeting and speak his mind on development, or rather the lack of emphasis on it.

We have all come to realize that sport offers career and economic opportunities, amongst other benefits, and more importantly sport offers hope to the many people who seem destined to live a life of poverty. Ultimately sport has a greater social and economic role to play.

Malaysian’s public's love for sport is obvious, so this hotly debated topic, which many people feel very passionate about, appeals to people's emotions. In some instances it has even threatened to overshadow our sporting successes.

Providing a strong sporting foundation at junior level will ensure that in years to come there will be a pool of sportspeople who can be picked on merit only, regardless of the colour of their skin.

It is for this reason that the government, through its Core Sports was looking at providing access to, and participation in, sports, especially at grassroots level and at schools. Sadly this has been discontinued. Neglecting development is the main reason why we are lagging behind in the international arena, and Prof Khoo, as I know him, has always spoke of using sports as a tool for unity.

Tan Sri Khoo has always emphasised that future sports stars must have a similar level of opportunity and should not be disadvantaged because they come from rural areas, or do not have access to the facilities that their counterparts in the urban areas have. And by taking the sport to the masses is something he has constantly harped on.

Sporting success is vital for pride and nation building; and the pleasure that sport brings to many Malaysian fans is also important. This is why OCM with the relevant sporting authorities, must provide the platform and support that is needed to ensure this success.

The pursuit of success must, however, not be achieved in isolation and at the expense of transformation and addressing the inequalities and injustices. An equitable balance has to be found. Let’s hear what Tan Sri has to say next Saturday.


The OCM Board meeting held on 20th January 2009 approved the appointment of the following personalities as Chef De Missions;

1st Asian Martial Arts Games

Encik Clement Soo

Secretary General

Malaysian Karate Federation.

1st Asian Youth Games

Puan Marina Chin, Headmistress

Bukit Jalil Sports School

2nd Islamic Solidarity Games

Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Nordin Hassan

Board Member

National Sports Council.

3rd Asian Indoor Games

Encik N. Shanmugarajah

Secretary General

Malaysian Gymnastics Federation

Tan Sri Noordin Hassan is a corporate figure that has given so much to the world of sports.He was elected as President of the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association (KLHA) in 1982 and served dilligently until March 2007.

Under his leadership, KLHA became a powerhouse in Malaysian hockey and won the Razak Cup ten times as well as all other domestic age group titles. He was also appointed as manager of the 1989 National Juniors team and served as Vice President of the Malaysian Hockey Federation until 1996. Tan Sri Noordin’s ability to develop sports was acknowledged when he was appointed at the Chairman of the Core Sports Steering Committee in 2005.

He has more than 35 years of working experience with the Malaysian Government and the corporate sector. Whilst with the Government, he served in various Government Departments at District, States and Federal levels including as the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education and Deputy-Secretary General of the Ministry of International Trade & Industry.

Upon his retirement, he joined Petronas as its Vice President of Human Resource Management and subsequently, as Vice President for Education. After he left Petronas, he continued to serve the company as a member of the Board of three Petronas subsidiaries.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Vince Lombardi's famous saying “Winning isn't the most important thing. It's the only thing” is unfortunately the motto of too many athletes today.

Although winning is important and sports are, and should be taken seriously, by far, winning isn't the only thing.

Play is essential in growth and development. Children who play sports with other children tend to socialize and adjust better as adults. Healthy competition provides a natural, emotional outlet for children, but should not be forced or overemphasized. And competition should be kept friendly with the emphasis on participation rather than the outcome of the event.

Therefore parents should not pressure the child to excel, regardless of his abilities, because this takes away the fun of the sport, adds undo pressure on the participant, and produces unsportsmanlike conduct.

Sportsmanship is participating in a sport, rather than performing, and realizing how you play the game is more important than winning. Too many coaches and parents tend to forget the reason for sports for children. They get caught up in the excitement and competitiveness. Winning is the ultimate goal, at all costs.

But how can we achieve, or even try to achieve all these things? Physical education in schools these days is virtually nil, with the chase to record as many “A’s” being the only reason why children are sent to schools.

During the first Cabinet Committee on Sports meeting held on November 8, 2004, the Minister of Education had stated that school fields will be open for public usage and that ex-internationals will be employed to coach schoolchildren. These remain just words after almost five years. We have a new Sports Minister, but rather then make changes that will benefit sports, he now has started encroaching into the jurisdiction of the National Sports Association’s, with the bodybuilding incident a clear indication that he is not well advised.

If the Sports Minister is truly committed to put right things that are wrong in sports, then he ought to be more open to ideas. Getting the ex football internationals to meet him an hour before he meets FAM on February 4 is is mistake, for that Mr. minister is a photo opportunity but without any real value other then giving you the necessary mileage for PR purposes. Hold an open day, meet those who your adviser's do not want you to meet, get a clearer picture and then lets talk sports.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


The core business of the Ministry of Education is education, not running sports, acadamies nor running football leagues, as what the FAM and MHF is getting them to do. Thus the sooner some people realise that it was a mistake handing over everything to the Ministry of Education, that will be the first step to rectify our footballing and hockey problems.

The lack of competetive matches for those at schools has been highlighted numerous times and so many have made the calls for the inter school rivalry to be re-introduced but no one seems to be making any move to do such a thing, always citing the lack of funds and infrastructure to do so.

The bare fact is that most of us will never turn out to be champions. But we know sport offers friendship, rivalry, challenge and enjoyment. And we know, most of all, that sport isn’t just about being healthy: sport is fun - one of the good things in life.

For it is in schools where most of us get our first chance to try sport. But sadly this has not been the case. It is in schools that children discover their talent and their potential. They need the chance to try a variety of sports, to see which they enjoy most but more often than not we have headmasters who make the kids play the sports which go easy on the school budgets.

The kids need high quality teaching of basic skills and at the same time opportunities to compete at a level in line with where their ability has developed. But when participation and competitiveness is limited, what chance do these kids have to continue to excel. The schoolchildren need clear pathways into taking part at club and national levels, with the right coaching and the right support at every stage. However we have in place self centered administrators who do not think of the bigger picture and chose to place more emphasis on the way kids dress than sports.
But more importantly the Government does not and should not run sport, and by that I mean Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth & Sports. Let those who have the expertise, those who are democratically elected into positions do what it takes to ensure that football and hockey regain its lost pride.
To some this is an idealistic theory and they argue that in Malaysia the government controls sports. The Sports Act is now seen as a hinderance rather than helping sports develop. And the sooner the Minister of Youth and Sports amends some grey areas in the Act, the actions of the authorities will be viewed with malicious intent.
What is more commonly believed is that sport is for individuals, striving to succeed - either on their own, or in teams. However those individuals, together or alone, need the help of others - to provide the facilities, the equipment, the opportunities. So there is a key role to play for those who organise and manage sport - local authorities, sports clubs, governing bodies, the Sports Councils and the Government.
Thus all involved in sports should now set out plans to create sporting opportunities for all - to create pathways of success for those who have the talent and the desire to rise to the top. The time has come to put forward plans to help schools provide more and better sporting opportunities for our children, and to encourage people to carry on taking part in sport beyond the school years.
What we all want to see is the organisations involved in sports working together to make our vision for sport happen. So plans to increase clarity about their roles, to improve co-ordination and to increase the professionalism of sports management must be clear.
Only if we modernise the way sport is run will we be able to create the wider participation and greater achievement which are our aims. What Malaysia needs is to see new thinking and new action about ways to improve sport in our country. We want to see everyone given a better sporting future. So that the practicalities of sport can match the potential of sport. So that the power of sport can be available to all. And so that the passion of sport can continue to move us and engage us and be part of our lives.
Sport matters, but only if people with passion and commitment are at the helm, and not some glory seekers out to make a quick buck.

So when FAM and KBS meet on February 4th, I hope that the Minister of Youth & Sports will look into the following areas that require more co-ordination from his Ministry.

1.Creation of a Working Group to analyse and coordinate the Youth Development Programmes in the States, i.e. the Academies and School football.
2.Improvement of co-operation and co- ordination with State coaches.
3.Integration of Women’s football into FAM.

4.Improvement of the infrastructure in the districts and regions
5.Establishment of a Road Map defining long term objectives of FAM.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


In what may be music to the ears of some Malaysians, the current Asian Football Confederation president Mohammad bin Hammam is being challenged by a fellow Arab for the FIFA Executive seat.

Should Hammam lose tthat post, it will not only be a bitter pill to swallow but it could well affect his chances to retain the AFC presidency. One thing is certain though, expect Malaysia to vote for his challenger, as will other Asean countries with the exception of Singapore and Thailand, both who put in bids to replace Malaysia as the AFC headquarters.

Below is the statement from Baharin FA

The Bahrain Football Association today announced its decision to nominate its President Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa as a candidate for the position of FIFA Executive Committee Member.

Having received the blessing from fellow West Asian Associations and the support of prominent members of the football family in the Asean, Central and Eastern Conferences, the BFA offered the following reasons for its nomination of Shaikh Salman, “Shaikh Salaman will be running for elections on a platform promoting cooperation among AFC Member Associations.”

Shaikh Salman is currently Chairman of the AFC Disciplinary Committee and Deputy Chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee; over the years, he has acquired valuable contacts within AFC, FIFA and the international football family.

Elections will be held on 8th May 2009, at an AFC Extra-Ordinary Congress


In November 2005, the Football Association of Malaysia, with the assistance of FIFA Development Officer Windsor John Paul held a FIFA Com-Unity Seminar in Kuala Lumpur. It was the first time that the corporate sector and the media were allowed to present views on the ills that plagued Malaysian football and various suggestions were offered.

Four years down the line, FAM seem to be on the verge of seeking the assistance of the Government to help overcome the standard of football in the country. Former FAM General Secretary Dato Seri Dr. Ibrahim Saad, who in 2005 was quoted as saying that Malaysian football was in stone age, (and received a royal rebuke then) has openly stated his case now for foreign players to be brought back into the M-League. Will his views be be given some thought at the Exco meeting, I doubt so.

Malaysia is fortunate that it has the FIFA Development Office situated a stone throw away from Wisma FAM with the likes of Windsor, former FAM Research & Development Officer Jeysing Mutiah and former national skipper Dato M. Chandran manning it. I suggest that Tuanku Sultan invites Windsor for a cup of tea before the Exco meets to get a true picture of what is wrong in Malaysian football. I am no expert, never claimed to be one, but when we have the likes of Windsor, Jeysing and Chandran with tons of experience, need we look any further. After all a shout over the fence will suffice to get the much needed advice.

On another aspect, the meeting between FAM and the Minister of Youth & sports on February 4th is of peculiar interest to me. Will seeking assistance from the government be akin to interference from them, thus running foul of of FIFA statutes?

May I be allowed to quote excerpts of an article presented by Dr. Julio Cesar Maglione (President Olympic Council of Uruguay), The paper, Governmental Influence on NOC’s which was presented at the ANOC meeting in Seoul in 1996.

We should keep in mind the state and governmental politics are conceived and put into practice by societies, which in turn are made up of men and women, all with their own dreams, goals and ambitions, which may or may not coincide.

In each one of our countries, we are all part of the government in a certain way; we are the people who vote and elect our politicians, or we ourselves are elected by the people to govern them ; in most cases, it is the choice of the people themselves – and we may or may not agree with them – which bestows the power to govern their countrymen for a period of 4, 5 or more years.

It often happens that governments forget about their responsibilities like, for example, the development of sports activities and programs for everybody or the introduction of sports and physical education in all schools – something of essential importance for the people and society, because that is where values like the principles of non violence, fair play, solidarity and team work are forged – all of them are values capable of preventing serious social problems later on.

I would like to recall the words of Lord Killanin, who said it was impossible to separate sports and politics, but mandatory that sports be protected from political exploitation.

We have to fight, although we do not always achieve our objectives, because at least we will gain respect for our efforts, and maintain our integrity, unity and independence.

On many occasions, sports leaders are looked down upon or devalued in an attempt to create a negative ambiance against the system. And often, sports executives are accused of a lack of ability and capability; moreover, it is often believed that they manage sums by the millions, when in reality our organizations maintain themselves thanks to a careful and fully transparent administration of resources. Another frequent cause of criticism the long duration of some of our executives in their positions, without taking into account that they are subject to open, public and secret elections held periodically under total respect of universal democratic rules.

My sincere opinion is that often it is not so much a problem of Governments, NOCs, authorities or politics, but rather of persons, ambitions and personal interest.