Tuesday, February 24, 2009


We were told that the club side from Brunei could not participate in the MSL as Brunei FA had been de-registered. Hence FAM had to abide by the regulations set by FIFA. Ever notice the tendency to use FIFA as a scapegoat when it suits certain officials in FAM.
But the story below paints a different picture, and it is obvious some officials hid the truth and used FIFA as an excuse. Has it got to do with the fact that Brunei do not support the calls for changes in AFC? Why have we opted to leave Brunei out in the cold when we could have played good neighbours and helped them out. A friend in need is a friend indeed, the saying goes. But here it was obvious some were glad to get rid of Brunei as they had fumbled by including kelantan and the PDRM made a U turn.

Bafa Reinstatement Must For Brunei To Compete, Says AFC Boss

By Jason Thomas

Bandar Seri Begawan - Asian football confederation (AFC) president Mohamed bin Hammam yesterday made it very clear that if the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (Bafa) is not reinstated, Brunei would face international isolation.
In the country for less than a day, Bin Hammam left yesterday evening after taking a tour of Bafa's headquarters, which is currently under construction, in a strong show of support for the defunct association.
But the pressing issue on everyone's minds was the fate of the facility when it is finished, since Bafa was deregistered from the Registrar of Societies (RoS) on November 15 last year for failing to submit its activity and financial reports as requested, leading to the formation of the Football Federation of Brunei Darussalam (FFBD).
However, Bafa is still recognised by Fifa and AFC as the sole governing body for football in the country, and Bin Hammam was adamant that it would stay that way.
"For the past 50 years there has only been one governing body for Brunei registered with Fifa, and nothing has changed," said Bin Hammam in an exclusive interview with The brunei Times.
Any changes in this regaid must take place during Bafa's congress.
"If they are not reinstated they cannot organise domestic leagues or compete in international tournaments," he warned, making it crystal clear as to where the future of Brunei football lies unless some changes are made soon.
Undoubtedly, the club most affected by Bafa being disbanded was DP MM FC, who were supposed to play in the Malaysian Super League but were barred from playing by the Football Association of Malaysia once it heard the news about Bafa.
But the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) saved their season on February 10 when it unveiled Brunei's premier club as the
Singapore League's 12th team for the 2009 season, a decision Bin Hammam was crucial in securing.
"The International Federation of Association Football (Fifa) gave it (FAS) the authority to include DPMM FC in the Singapore League based on the recommendation and approval of AFC," explained Bin Hammam.'As for how long they can compete, on a personal level, I guaranteed their participation until the end of the season.
"I am not sure what will happen after that," he added.
Despite providing the relevant documents to get reinstated on December 22, Bafa's appeal to the Ministry of Home Affairs was deemed unsuccessful two days later.
It is understood that Bin Hammam met Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Md Yusof after visiting Bafa's new headquarters.
However, he was tightlipped about the meeting, only saying "that is not for the Press to know".
Dubbed Bafa House and located half a kilometre from the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas over 12 acres of government allocated land, the construction of the multi-purpose headquarters is part of International Federation of Association Football's (Fifa's) Goal Project - which is headed by Bin Hammam.
Taking a tour around the building with architect Frank Chin of consultants Perunding Alamreka Sdn Bhd, Bin Hammam said that he was pleased with the progress of the construction which he said is scheduled to be completed in June.
"This is one of Fifa's projects to develop football and I am happy to see that construction is almost complete," said Bin Hammam.
"Hopefully when it is done in June or so, Fifa president Sepp Blatter and myself will come here to inaugurate it," added the Qatari.
Comments from FFBD were unavailable as calls to the association went unanswered. --

Courtesy of The Brunei Times

Friday, February 20, 2009


Well, what do that two have in common? Read the story that appeared in The Malay Mail today, Feb 20, 2009.

But while on the story of food and MHF, perhaps TM will want to check on the non payment to the caterer who supplies food to MHF for meetings. I bumped into that poor guy and he is now driving a taxi as a means to support his family. Perhaps he could supply the murtabak, if the payment for the mee hoon is settled fast.

Murtabak from Kuantan, anyone?

February 20, 2009
Categories: Hockey

SUCH is the financial crisis in the Malaysian Hockey Federat ion (MHF) that the president had to bring murtabak from Kuantan for a meeting of the Standing Committee in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“We are on such a tight leash and running everything on a tight budget. Even the murtabak that we served during the meeting I brought from my kampung,” said MHF president Tengku Abdullah Shah.

“And you should try it before you go back to do your work. It is really good.”

Well, it was said tongue-incheek but two facts remain — that Tengku Abdullah did indeed bring the murtabak and that MHF are in dire financial straits.

Tengku Abdullah said there was a huge debt, about RM900,000, owed to a long list of creditors but
assured the problem would be resolved by mid year.

“Many things were discussed today, especially about our financial status and training programmes
for the national senior and junior teams. It is not really our fault because this was inherited from the previous
management,” said Tengku Abdullah.

“However, we are taking every measure possible to make sure that all parties will receive what is due to

He also said the current economic crunch was not doing any favour as companies have not been
forthcoming and it has been difficult to get sponsors.

“We are trying our best to entice sponsorships. There are ongoing negotations but nothing has been agreed.
Once everything is concluded, then everything will be paid out including to MHL teams and officials.

“We were offered to host the Asian Games qualifiers but rejected it,” he added.

Other matters discussed: Senior team: They will play play three matches against Korea in Seoul and four
matches against clubs on Feb 28-Mar 10. The Genting four-nation Invitational in Johor Baru on Mar 11-15
will involve Malaysia, India, Pakistan and Singapore.

For the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup on Apr 6-12, the confirmed teams are Malaysia, India, New Zealand and Pakistan. Junior team: The fournat ions tournament i n Spain on Apr 8-12 will involve Malaysia, England,
Germany and Spain.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Problems in physical education and sports have been highlighted at many workshops and seminars by concerned professionals and parents. Many schools just do not implement the physical education requirement.

The only activity children get at the co-curricular sports programme is to sign the attendance book. The Ministry of Education has to implement a better system of monitoring and assisting schools, so that children receive the kind of balanced education that is so strongly emphasized in our philosophy of education.

The Ministry of Education has to seriously think over the issue of ‘time’ given to physical education. The amount of time they give to physical education is related to their value and priorities in their educational philosophy for Malaysia.

Our primary school children, especially during the first 3 to 4 years, need daily physical activity/physical education. This is so essential for their physical, mental and emotional growth. For the rest of our school-going children and youths, they need a minimum of 3 sessions a week of aerobic activity for 20 – 40 minutes per session. Our schools must make a serious effort to provide this.

Since Merdeka, sedentary lifestyles have increased and this situation is getting worse. Malaysians were told about the youths in the out-of-school situation, and the many ill effects of our economic success was having on them. This was the rationale of the Rakan Muda Programme.

Often heard these days are the emphasis of computers and information technology in schools, leading them to be more sedentary. Young people are getting more sedentary, putting on more weight, unfit, less active and having less energy to achieve individual and national goals. They are neglecting the most basic and essential foundation for life and active living.

Measures to expand on the vital role of physical education and sports in schools need to be taken by the Education Ministry: Some of the measures are :

- increasing the number of physical education periods per week to 3 times.

- ensuring that physical education is taught by suitably qualified teachers or sportsmasters.

- integrating physical education within the core curriculum as a subject for examination at the secondary level.

- continuing to promote competitive sports while developing opportunities for physical recreational pursuits
forming effective links with local sports clubs/associations for sporting opportunities to bridge the gap and increasing the participation by school levers.
- ensuring 2 mandatory sports be compelled on each primary and secondary student consisting of either running and swimming or any other Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) endorsed sport.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Everyone’s trying to be politically correct at all times. All that lying loses the slightest appearance of being honest anymore.

But I guess that’s what people want. With all these attempts at being nice to everyone at all times, are we trying to make the sports world a better place? Or are we simply supporting a faƇade of being nice?

Sports are brutal. People want to beat each other. In the end, I think being pure to one’s sport is the best thing to do. Play to the best of your ability, and treat sports as what it really is: a battle of excellent talents.

It’s like Nike says, “Just Do It.” Just go out and play for crying out loud. Leave the long, dull speeches to the real politicians.

Why am I saying this? Cos thats the stark reality of our sports these days. Just look at what happened at the Malaysian Open Golf. Our DPM announced a RM1 million grant for development of golf. So you want money, invite the DPM to your event, easy isn't it. Forget about NSC or KBS, they are merely pawns in a chess game.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Sport is dead when citius, altius, fortius is replaced by fixius, drugius, corruptius. We have reached the logical end of sport. Everywhere you look, you find stories of people who have taken the sport out of sport.

We expect to hear the decisions on football and hockey match-fixing scandals. The football itself is a sham, going through the motions. The real action takes place on the telephone in the weeks before the game.

That winning is not the most important thing, but the only thing. If you sincerely believe that winning is everything, all the rest follows. If the only ethic is victory, then these things are not options. They are demanded: the least you can do... The essential fact about sport is that you don’t know what happens next. No one does.

We watch sport not for the victory, but for the struggle. In other words, those that seek victory at all costs are destroying sport. They are creating a spectacle in which we, the punters, have no interest. People are far less interested in track and field athletics than they once were because there has been too much drugging... Professionalism will be the death of sport; or it will, if we carry on believing in it. But at last, we are beginning to see the price of winning at all costs.

- Simon Barnes, with a foreboding warning, "The Times"

Learning from past experiences is crucial and one would have expected that everyone in Malaysian sports would have learned something from the past few years. But it all boils down to money and the nation to becoming borderless to a certain extent.

Take for example the decision by the Sports Minister to adopt the Harimau Muda. That is not something new, not thinking out of the box one could say. For this approach was adopted in 2006 and the only reason it was discontinued was because FAM did not keep the team together. Rajagobal had the team together for two years, 2005/2006 and after they failed in Banglore, the team was disbanded instead of being kept together to mount a challenge for gold in the 2009 Laos Sea Games.

Now if the Sports Minister was serious about wanting to help football, he should adopt the Under 16 team, something that our neighbours Indonesia have done, and build the team towards the next Under 20 Asia Cup challenge, followed by the Sea Games in 2011/2013. That my Hon. Sports Minister is development, not taking a team that is unbeaten in the Premier League as it has stamped its mark. In the kingdom of the blind, the man with one eye rules, but when it is the blind leading the blind, then this is the end result, zilch.
Football in this country is all about money, there is a lack of desire to excel, be it by the players or officials. And this rot is now spreading to other sports as well. Hockey has failed, and if one takes away Nicol David and Lee Chong wei, the squash and badminton too have failed but we just will not accept that fact.
To quote the legendary boxer Muhamad Ali, Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them -- a desire, a dream, a vision. Just how many of our athletes, bar Nicol and Chong Wei have that?
The athletes too must realize that sudden wealth can be dangerous in many walks of life and as so far as sports is concerned it is no different. There's no doubt that some athletes were living beyond their means and when there's a sudden change in circumstances the financial pressures become very severe indeed.

Sport is now a complex and pressurised business so there will be disagreements and difficulties sometimes, hence the dispute with national associations. The key to this issue is communication, trust and respect for each other's position - in other words, good relationships.

What we need to do right away is to wipe away the endless, acrimonious mentality that has been embedded in sports since the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Just too many experts have appeared overnight, and disappeared as soon as their political masters bow out of the system.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


An interesting read from Goal.Com. Tells you what we are missing out at times. But then again it is a pity that others have low opinions about our way of managing football.

It was inevitable. A month after a disappointing first round exit at South-east Asia’s regional championship, you don’t lose 5-0 at home to UAE, blame the local football league for the result and expect to keep your job – no matter what the mitigating circumstances may be.

And sure enough, B. Sathianathan was fired as Malaysian national team coach last weekend.Coming into the job after the debacle of the 2007 Asian Cup when Malaysia, as co-host, lost all three games with an aggregate of 12-1, the only positive thing was that at least expectations were low. On the other hand it showed that there were major problems.

Sathia was never really in a position to be able to solve any of them – the serious ones anyway. Not long ago I wrote an article asking if it could get any worse for Malaysia. That 5-0 defeat was worse. It almost seemed to be the end. It was certainly the end of the coach’s patience.

After the game he blasted the local competition. “The M-league is not football,” he said, telling how just three of his players passed an independent fitness test. “If I have to go, I’ll go,” he thundered. Despite the scoreline and the outburst, or because of it, Sathia got a good deal of sympathy from fans, media and professionals. Much of the ire has been focused in the direction of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

In response to the question from local journalists as to whether he was fired for results or his commenhts, FAM deputy president Datuk Redzuan Tan Sri Sheikh Ahmad said, “It was overall. There are conditions in the clause to terminate the coach’s contract if the performance of the national team is not up to the mark.”

“Well, what can I do ... I accept the decision but it does not solve anything,” said Sathianathan.

Newspapers such as The Star, a rational voice in domestic football matters, believe that Sathia is paying the price for the failings of those above him. Both coach and paper are probably right. Following the Asian Cup disaster, the powers-that-be in Kuala Lumpur decided to "go back to the drawing board" and ban clubs from hiring foreign players from 2009.

In one fell swoop, the league lost many of its best players, continental competiveness and credibility.It wasn’t always this way. Malaysia used to be a power in the seventies. As often happens, stars players that retired- such as Mokhtar Dahari and Santokh Singh - haven’t been replaced on the pitch.

But it is off the pitch were the real problems can be found. Cronyism and politicians using the game for their own ends are common complaints among fans. Some fans also beleive that race can be a factor in team selection.

If that wasn't complicated enough, corruption is perceived to be rife.The inefficiency of the Malaysian system, with state FAs often more concerned about their own power and interests rather than the good of the game, doesn’t help and neither does the national FA’s past propensity to fire coaches who were actually pretty good – the sight of Claude Le Roy lifting the Gulf Cup with Oman in January should be a lesson to those in KL who fired him in 1995.

The Frenchman is in the past, as now is Sathia.The future starts now. There is much work to be done at the grassroots, local, regional and national levels. The appointment of a new coach is important but is just one of a number of necessary steps.

It is also the easiest, though far from easy to get right. FAM have already said that they want the new guy in place quickly. Debate has started as to whether he should be local or foreign. Perhaps he could be a combination of both.

Peter Butler is currently coaching in the Malaysian Super League with Kelantan and has in the past been at the helm of Sabah. The former West Ham United midfielder has also managed in England, Australia, Singapore and Indonesia. I should also say here that I know the 42 year-old and like him as a person. However, that also means I know that he is passionate about the country, speaks the language (conducting training in Malay), is forward-thinking and could hit the ground running.Butler is not the only choice by any means but he ticks many boxes. Whatever happens, in this respect and others, Malaysian football can’t keep making mistakes.

John Duerden Asia Editor


The article below appeared in THE MALAY MAIL on February 3 and I reproduce it for the benefit of those who missed reading it in print or online.

'I was the manager'

By Haresh Deol February 03, 2009 Categories: Soccer

I was the manager

Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday took a brave and often unseen stance yesterday. He said the FA of Malaysia should have sacked him as well, as he was the designated national team manager.

He said this in response to the removal of Datuk Soh Chin Aun as "team manager" and B. Satianathan as national coach two days ago.

Khairy, who is also FAM deputy president, said he had passed on the role to Chin Aun but effectively remained the national team supremo.

"The responsibility was with both of us actually. It wasn’t fair to zero in on Chin Aun alone," said Khairy, who did not attend the FAM Exco meeting on Sunday.

"Perhaps, they (FAM) were trying to be polite. I was appointed team manager but was on the bench only once — when Malaysia played Chelsea. That time, too, I sat alongside Chin Aun.

"I passed my duties to Chin Aun and he was always registered as team manager. He even played that role at the Sea Games (Korat 2007), until the match against UAE recently."

It was apparently a private arrangement between Khairy and Chin Aun.

At the FAM meeting, chaired by president Sultan Ahmad Shah, Satianathan and Chin Aun were sacked. This came about after Malaysia’s 5-0 defeat to UAE in the 2011 Asian Cup qualifying match at the KL Stadium in Cheras last month.

The national team also produced lethargic performances during the AFF tournament in Phuket last December which saw the Malaysian Tigers suffer a premature exit after losing to Vietnam and Thailand in the group stage.

The FAM move raised eye-brows as Khairy was the appointed team manager and Chin Aun was merely the assistant. Vice-president Datuk Gulzar Mohammad is the surprise new team manager.

When asked if Gulzar was the right candidate for the job, Khairy added: "I was not at the meeting. So it is best for me not to comment. However, we will continue to support the new officials."

Khairy is now tasked to lead a seven-man team to meet Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob tomorrow. The meeting is to discuss how the ministry can assist FAM’s development programmes.

FAM also hope to get an update on the RM12 million supposedly promised to them during Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said’s tenure as Sports Minister.


Received a call this morning from a fellow blogger, asking me if I remembered when FAM had signed a 4 year MOU with NSC on the funding of the Malaysian Under 20 Team, recently known as Harimau Muda. I was puzzled, why you asking me that, I retorted. He said did you not follow the news last night, seems that KBS is taking over the Harimau Muda team from FAM, and that is an attempt to improve Malaysian football. Well my anmswer to that lies in the story that appeared in Berita Harian in 2006. The rest I will touch on latter.

"KALI ini kita ada proses yang betul," kata Ketua Pengarah Majlis Sukan Negara (MSN), Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz, mengenai perbelanjaan sebanyak RM3.5 juta yang dikeluarkan kerajaan bagi menaja skuad bawah 20 tahun negara.

Proses yang betul seperti dinyatakan Dr Ramlan itu boleh dilihat dalam konteks melahirkan satu pasukan kebangsaan lebih mantap untuk bersaing di peringkat antarabangsa.

Ini berikutan perbelanjaan besar tidak berbaloi ke atas skuad Olimpik Barcelona yang gagal menghasilkan kejayaan seperti diharapkan.

Langkah itu boleh dikira tepat sekiranya pemain skuad kendalian K Rajagobal itu menyerlah dalam Kejohanan Piala Remaja Asia di Kolkata, India, Oktober depan.

Tetapi berlawanan pula dengan pendirian Persatuan Bolasepak Malaysia (FAM), apabila Setiausaha Agungnya, Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad, hanya mensasarkan kemaraan ke pusingan kedua sebagai sesuatu yang boleh dibanggakan.

"Kita tidak mempunyai sebarang sasaran. Jika mereka mampu mara ke pusingan kedua, kita gembira," katanya selepas Majlis Menandatangani Perjanjian Bersama dengan MSN bagi Penajaan Skuad Bawah 20 Tahun negara di Wisma FAM, Kelana Jaya, semalam.

Perjanjian empat tahun itu membolehkan setiap pemain memperolehi elaun bulanan RM2,500 seorang.

Alasan Dr Ibrahim mudah, iaitu skuad bawah 20 tahun negara itu mampu berkhidmat dalam beberapa kejohanan antarabangsa selepas ini seperti dua Sukan Sea, kelayakan Olimpik dan Sukan Asia.

Beliau berkata, tajaan berjumlah RM3.5 juta itu bukan satu jumlah besar.

"Saya tahu peruntukan bagi setiap sukan dan jumlah RM3.5 juta ini adalah bagi 30 pemain pasukan ini. Jumlahnya paling sedikit selepas sukan angkat berat, kerana terdapat sukan lain yang menerima peruntukan sama bagi dua atau tiga atlit mereka," katanya.

Selepas menandatangani kontrak dengan FAM, katanya, setiap pemain tetap berpeluang mewakili pasukan negeri masing-masing.

Bagi pemain yang memperolehi gaji bersama pasukan negeri melebihi elaun yang ditawarkan itu, Dr Ibrahim berkata, FAM membayar lebihan gaji yang mereka perolehi itu.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Those words, spoken by Aeschylus, the Greek tragic dramatist, best describes the situation of the two football officials shown the exit by the FAM on Sunday.

What goes up must inevitably come down, although none of us likes to believe that truism when we're up in the clouds.

That was the fate of former national Under 23 team manager Dato Soh Chin Aun and former national coach B. Sathianathan. While Chin Aun was told over the phone that his services was no longer needed, Sathia exit was communicated via SMS, meaning he is worth 10 cents at the most, maybe lower if the telcos are the same.

That I believe is creativity, to tell someone that your time is up, that you are no longer needed. But till today Sathia awaits his termination letter, and like a humble servant he was, Sathia continues to make his way to Wisma FAM.

And believe it or not, creativity is one of the most defining qualities an entrepreneur, be it in football or business that one needs to have. The essence of entrepreneurship centers on creativity, whether it is a new idea, a new business or approach to overcoming a situation.

As a coach and manager, you are bound to face hurdles along the way. Yet, it is your passion for what you believe in that helps you persevere. And when the going gets tough, the creative get going.

Often, it is the struggle to survive that inspires most coaches and managers to explore and experiment with radical and unconventional concepts. Setting a precedent that to be a coach or manager with FAM, you need to have that something 'special' to succeed.

What is it that distinguishes these dynamic folk from the rest of us?It is how you manage to play politics and survive it.

I shall leave the readers with a quote from Ghandiji to ponder on the fate of Malaysian football.