Monday, August 03, 2009


Berikkazy Seksenbayev may not be a familiar name to the current era of Malaysian hockey fans, but he was one of those who set alight the Malaysian Hockey League in the early 1990's.

And that was not all, for Berik, then playing for Russia in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, scored two goals in Malaysia's 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Russians.

He represented Detas in the 1991/92 season of the MHL and moved on to play for MBF until 1996, and in the process won the best player award for a record five times. Berik is in Ipoh for the AGF Indoor Championships, heading the Kazakhstan team.

And though this my come as a surprise of many, Berik is now the First Vice President of the Kazakhstan Hockey Federation, a position he assumed last year.

"I wanted to help hockey in my country and what better way but to get involved with the hockey federation," said Berik who is attached to the Kazakhstan Natural Resources Ministry.

"There is much potential in terms of talent but we lack the necessary exposure and believe it or not we do not even have a single artificial pitch in the country.

"Maybe my friends from Malaysia can help us secure a pitch as we have the infrastructure in place but lack the funding for a pitch."

Berik represented Russia from 1984 to 1992 before the split of the CCCP and played for Kazakhstan in the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima. Although he was shortlisted to play in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, his youth, for he was only 18 then, worked against his favour.

Tha father of two girls and a boy is a staunch muslim and in memory of his father, Berik built and named a mosque in Almaty after his late father Tomobek Kazu. Infact the complex surrounding the mosque has a number of halal food outlets.

Berik is all for the promotion of club hockey as Dynamo Almaty, the club Berik played for in the CCCP league won the Russian title for 19 times, with Berik having played in 7 of those wins. The club also won the European Club Championship twice in the early 80's.

"Coming to Malaysia is like coming home for me as there are so many fond memories of this country for me," said Berik who has two books published in Kazakhstan about his exploits in international hockey.

"Some of my best hockey moments were in Malaysia and I do hope Malaysian hockey will rise again as it has the potential to do well.