Thursday, January 28, 2010


Not jumping for joy

The Everton Proposal Cover

I have no intention of standing for elections Mr. Minister, if that is what your reaction to this piece will get. All I ask for is the truth and accountability as there are eagles out there who intend to devour the RM10 million your Ministry will spend on football. Let us not be taken for a ride, for I know that the prophet is never believed on his own land, but do we want to be continued to be colonised?

My apology to readers for failing to post with regards to my interview with the right honourable Sports Minister Datuk Shabery Cheek the other day on the Everton FC tie up. Now that the dust has settled, somewhat lukewarm reception from the main stream media, I am intrigued by what has been posted by fellow blogger Jaiho on this issue.

Together with two journalists from the mainstream media, I had the privilage of meeting up with the Sports Minister at the Bukit Kiara Club on Monday. I must go on record to say that this was only the second time I have cross swords with the Minister since his appointment as Sports Minister.

Right from the onset I could sense that he was reserved in his answers as he had met us before taking to the court and was already told that we intended to ask him about the tie up with Everton FC.

The Minister's initial reaction:

"I met with officials from Everton FC and we are working on a proposal. There are some technical matters and I have briefed the FAM President who is receptive of the idea. All parties, KBS, FAM and the Education Ministry will form a committee to look into this plan and I am impressed with what I saw there with regards to developing football."

The Minister was then asked on the attachment of the Under 23 players and what this so-called development initiative with Everton had to do with it.

"It will be part of the deal, our players will join the reserves team in everton FC. Let's not talk about adaptability, not getting nasi lemak and so forth."

Next came the question with regards to what the tie up will cost to the Malaysian public, and this is where the Minister started getting defesive especially when told there were several similiar proposals this decade.

When I raised the question that there had been proposal in the past provided to both the Ministry and the NSC, the Minister denied any knowledge of it.

But NSC Director General Dato Zolpkles Embong who was seated on the floor intervened and said, " yes we received a proposal a few years ago from a former athlete but we did not have the money then. Now it is different as we have the money."

And that is when I offered the Minister info on the past proposals as I made it clear that I was not against the idea but merely wanting him to be careful of people who were about to cash in on the situation. This was the Minister's rebuke.

"I know what I am doing. Just because some of you are against it, shall I drop the whole idea? If this is the case then why should I bother. You know I went to London at my own expense, not utilising government money."

When I replied that "good for you" for flying to London at his own expense, little did I expect him to continue harping on the issue. It came about when I asked the Minister wat the deal was worth and was it true that attachment of our Under 23 was inclusive of the deal.

"We were invited to Everton and held discussions with them. And there are other offers too and it has nothing to do with CYC. We are negotiating the figure. The asking price is around 1.3 million pounds per yer but that is not finalised yet.

When told that past proposal were much lower then what had been quoted, the Minister once again went on the defensive.

"That maybe the case in the past, I do not know. What were the proposals, I am not aware of them and really if you feel that it is not a good idea, shall I drop it just because you are questioning it. You people are against it right from the begining."

I clarified that it was die to the fact that he maybe taken for a ride and that he should open up the old files to see if the deal was marked up, the Minister would have none of it, not even when told that copies of past proposals could be made available to him for comparision purposes.

"I will do what I need to and no I do not intend to take any copies from you."

When asked what were the other clubs/teams that opened their doors, once again the Minister refused to reveal details and walked off.

Note: The proposal above, the cover copy is worth RM2.9 million per year and the Minister is welcomed to view the copy, should he want to act in the interests of the people.


The Badminton Association of Malaysia are seeking supporting cast for a tear jerker that they are producing, outlining the Malaysian badminton scenario of late.

Pre-requirement is that you must be able to cook up a storm, plead your case with real tears and above all know how to manipulate situations in order to bring down personalities.

The supporting cast must be naive enough to take instructions without asking questions, no matter how bad the situation might look. But above all since there are loads of directors in this drama, you must be able to take instructions, no matter when and where.

And yes, the NSC will provide some key actors, so those positions are filled up, do not bother applying or turn up for casting as it is already taken up.


FAM have blundered with regards to the Harimau Muda team, and the sooner they accept that fact, there will be closure and we can all move forward.

No point in beating around the bush anymore as the decision to withdraw the team from the Super League and hand their place to Pahang was done to appease certain quarters. In the process, FAM has shot themselves in the foot.

Requesting a place in the S-League and being denied of the spot by the Singapore FA was not surprising as it was evident Singapore would have wanted a reciprocal invitation. If one were to recollect, Harimau Muda in 2006 played in the Singapore FA Cup as did their Under 23 team in our FA Cup. Something in line with that would have been acceptable with the Singaporean FA.

But how on earth did some personalities in FAM think that Singapore would welcome us with open arms?

So we have now a squad that has no where to go, with the Sports Minister completely off cuff when talking about exposure internationally through his brainchild attachment schemes. FAM employed Azrai Khor as coach, wasting tax payers money as he is left with a team that has nothing to look forward to.

Do not despair Azrai as there are means to ensure that the players get the desired exposure and help them excel in the future years.

In 2005 and 2006, K. Rajagobal was the coach of the original Harimau Muda, and my records show that in 18 months, the team played some 85 matches, both international and domestic. Right from the AFF Cup, training stint at Carrington which is the training ground of Manchester United, Slovakia to participation in a world class tournament in Belo Horizente, Brazil until they were accepted into the Premier League, thanks to the initiative of FAM deputy President YB Khairy Jamaluddin, the team benefitted.

In reality it is not so difficult to expose the team provided those people entrusted with the responsibility are sincere and not just form companies to be awarded FIFA Match Agent license so as to broaden their control over Malaysian football.

The key word here is sincerity and hard work, the same as it was when Rajagobal took some convncing to allow his team to be funded by the government in 2006. As stated earlier the target then was the 2009 Sea Games gold, something that Rajagobal made into a reality but others took credit, so much so that those in NSC have forgotten how they tend to laugh off targets set by people who know te sport inside out.

So Azrai, no point crying over something that you had no control of. Take the next bold step and tell them FAM Exco ( I doubt the 3rd floor people will let you into the room though) that you want to expose the players. Get a good team administrator, work out the schedule.

And yes, make sure your name is also in the list for the World Cup this June as many in FAM would have lobbied already.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Sports these days are being run by individuals seeking individual glory, rather then for the nation. Harsh but a true assessment of things, coming from one of the finest sons of the country, Tun Musa Hitam.

"Politicians jump onto the bandwagon to get publicity rather then contribute effectively towards the sport," said Musa in his speech during the ceremony to sign the partnership between Malaysian National Cycling Federation and Yayasan Sime Darby yesterday.

When met after the event, Musa offered some clarification with regards to his statement.

"I am not saying that all politicians behave as such for there are many that have contributed towards certain sports. They must have genuine intent to serve a sport and not just because they want to be popular with the voters" said Musa.

"However more often then not you find some of them tending to wield their power when it comes to decision making process and this is not good for sports bodies.

"Whether it is good to have a politician as the Sports Minister is not for me to say as I have no influence over the matter. Suffice to say that there are pro and cons to this issue and I am not afraid to speak my mind."

Musa speaks from experience having served as President of the Malaysian Equesterian Federation. And during his time, there was less politicking in sports.

"I still remember when I was Chairman of the first World championship and we returned RM6 million to the government after staging the event," said the former Deputy Prime Minister.

"We cannot just depend on the government for funding but have to source for funds to host events."

The Sime Darby Foundation of which Musa is the Chairman, has invested in lawn Bowls, literlly taking the sport from being a past time to one where Malaysia excels in world events.

But Sime Darby opted to stay out of football, and Musa attributes it to wanting it to put its house in order before getting support from Sime Darby.

"We supported football for a year and wanted them to do better, but first they must get their house in order," said Musa, with elaborating further.

Meanwhile the desire of the nation to win gold at the 2012 London Olympics was given a boost as Yayasan Sime Darby stepped in with a RM2 million boost for the sport.

Participation in world class events in 2010 and 2011 will be used to prepare the likes of Azizulhasni Awang and Josiah Ng to win gold in London.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I had the pleasure of meeting up with the Sports Minister Datuk Shabery Cheek after he tested the court that will be used for the WTA Malaysian Open next month at the Kiara Club.

Out of respect for the two journalists who were also present when the Minister lost his cool, I will not blog about what transpired until noon tomorrow. Suffice to say the man who faced the former Deputy Prime Minister on a debate live on TV could not withstand some simple questions with regards to public money from this blogger.

The Minister may have his reasons for his outburst, but suffice to say that I had to make a point to him and to be honest why lose your cool, unless you have something to hide. After all if you are right Mr. Minister, then why fear my line of questioning?

So readers, please wait till noon tomorrow for the update, it will be interesting. The story is with regards to the Minister's visit to Everton and the plan to tie up with the club that has been marketed by a few groups since the days of Azalina.

And the cost, a cool RM7 million per year, so there goes the bulk of the RM10 million that Prime Minister announced recently....


Maria Kirilenko is believed to have accepted an offer to play in the Malaysian Open next month.

It is believed that an offer was made to the star player during the ongoing Australian Open and she has accepted it.

And with Justine Henin being the other drawcard invited, the Malaysian Open could well outshine the numerous tennis events held in the country over the past few years.

The world no. 58, Kirilenko was unseeded at the 2010 Australian Open where in the first round she upset her friend, and former doubles partner, number 14 seed Maria Sharapova 7–6(4), 3–6, 6–4 in a 3 hour, 22 minute marathon.

In her second match, she made light work of Yvonne Meusburger, dispatching the Austrian qualifier 6-3, 6-1. She then won a close fought match against Roberta Vinci 7-5, 7-6(4).

Kirilenko had seven match points during the second set before finally winning her eighth in the tiebreak.

Kirilenko then defeated Dinara Safina in the fourth round when Safina had to retire whilst serving at 4-5 in the first set. Kirilenko will now play unseeded Zheng Jie in the quarter-finals.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


It what can ony be described as a bitter blow to the yet to be launched Astro Arena, FAM pulled the plug on them at the very last minute for the broadcast of the Malaysian Super League matches.

And the key player it is said was RTM, which holds the "rights" albeit limited to free to air TV only.

This is how the story goes. Astro made an offer to FAM to be the broadcast partner for cable ( pay TV) and FAM accepted the deal via MSL Sdn Bhd, its marketing arm.

So Astro went ahead and employed some 13 staff and even bought two OB vans to transmit the matches live to the Malaysian public, a fact that was even publicised by FAM in some of the main stream media news reports.

Such a deal was on the cards when OCM via Peninsular Digital approached MSL some two years ago and the then asking price by MSL was RM2 million. Though it never eventually took off as the sports station never made its debut, RTM at that time did not object to this arrangement as Astro was to telecast matches in id-week, something that RTM could not do due to their tight airtime scheduling.

Anyway this time around it seems that FAM went on and gave the go ahead to Astro and agreed on a figure much lower then the RM2 million that was the figure agreed upon in 2008.

But RTM sent FAM a strongly worded letter, even to the extent of telling FAM that RTM will not make the payment of RM6 million annually for the agreement signed in 2008, thanks to the good offices of YB Khairy and the then RTM DG. For those unaware, the initial TV deal prior to that was RM4 million annually and FAM got an increase of 50% in 2008, for a three season contract.

On Monday, Astro were prevented from entering the stadium as FAM pulled the plug on that deal, hence Astro were now saddled with equipment and staff that they had already invested in.

There are some unanswered questions here though.

Why did FAM go ahead and agree with Astro if they had not consulted with RTM in the first place or had not informed RTM initially?

Why is RTM objecting and have they no intention of honouring the contract signed as they only have rights for free to air TV?

Why is FAM fearful or be willing to be held at ransom by RTM as the deal with RTM ends at the end of this season hence it will be an open market for next season so FAM can benefit by selling it to the highest bidder?

Why are the top officials of FAM keeping quiet on the constant foul ups, bleeps and blunders done by the administration?

Why, why and why can be something we ask but the answers will never be forthcoming as honest competitors like Astro will continue to be given a raw deal by those with vested interest or lack of knowledge on how to read contracts.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


World No. 3 men’s doubles pair Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan have left the country’s badminton training camp to embark on a professional quest, but have promised to play their part in the biennial Thomas Cup.

“[The resignation] is final, so we’ll start looking for sponsors soon,” Markis told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

He was speaking after a meeting with Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) deputy chairman I Gusti Made Oka, secretary-general Jacob Rusdianto and athlete development head Lius Pongoh.

“The PBSI has OK’d our resignation,” he added.

“However, we’ve agreed to help out the squad at the Thomas Cup.”

The PBSI’s Jacob, however, told the Post that the association had not made any decision on the former world No. 1 duo.

“Today’s meeting was fruitless, in terms of getting them to renew their contracts at the national training camp, but [PBSI chairman] Djoko [Santoso] hasn’t made a final decision,” he said.

“We’re still open for the possibility that [Markis’] club [Jayaraya] or his parents will help us bridge the gap.”

The PBSI has not set a deadline to bring the top players back to the camp, but will in March officially name shuttlers to be promoted to the camp and those dropping out.

Markis and Hendra submitted their resignations days before winning gold at the recent Southeast Asian Games in Laos.

“I want to enjoy playing, and the pressure in the national training camp is too much,” said Markis, whose cited his high blood pressure and nagging knee injury as factors for quitting the camp.

He added the PBSI had offered him training privileges on medical grounds.

“I declined the offer. I really want to play independently,” said Markis, 25, who at the start of 2009 also threatened to resign after a disagreement over the value of his contract.

Markis has played with Hendra since they were 13, and said, “We won’t part company.”

Both will return to Jayaraya to train and spar with other shuttlers who went pro, including Alvent Yulianto Chandra, Hendra Aprida Gunawan, Vita Marissa, Taufik Hidayat and Flandy Limpele.

“Back when I resigned from the squad, it took us two months to get a sponsor, but the world No. 3 won’t face this problem,” Alvent said upon arriving in Kuala Lumpur for the season-opening Malaysia Super Series that runs from Jan. 19-24.


David Sullivan and David Gold look set to take over at West Ham United after the Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes said last night that he had failed in his efforts to buy the Premier League club.

Sullivan and Gold, the former Birmingham City co-owners, are expected to be confirmed as the owners at Upton Park today. The investment group Intermarket was last night attempting to persuade West Ham's owners that it has a more compelling case to be handed control but the Sullivan-Gold bid appeared to have won after a drawn-out process.

Fernandes said on Twitter that his efforts to buy the club had not succeeded. "Deal lost on west ham," the chief executive of Air Asia wrote. "Hopefully new owners protect what's good. We gave awesome deal and new ideas to rejuvenate a club and bring excitment [sic]."

Sullivan and Gold had hoped to have taken charge of West Ham by now. One of their offers to Rothschild, the bank appointed in October to find new owners, proposed buying 100% of the club but they are understood to have succeeded with an arrangement under which they will take a 50% stake but have authority over the running of affairs.

CB Holdings – the company formed by creditors and headed by the Icelandic bank Straumur which runs West Ham – is expected to have a 50% share.

Sullivan and Gold have said that they will service the short-term debt and make money available for signings this month in an effort to ensure that the team, managed by Gianfranco Zola, stay in the Premier League. Zola's job is not believed to be under immediate threat.

There is likely to be a role in a Sullivan-Gold set-up at West Ham for Karren Brady, who worked as their managing director at Birmingham. She is being tipped to take a job as vice-chairman.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Working under the radar till recently, French side Etoile FC have pipped Yishun Super Reds and Chinese side Beijing Guoan to claim the first of two available S-League slots for the 2010 season.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) told R Sasikumar, a consultant for Etoile FC, the good news on Friday and the former Lion was delighted. "It's fantastic, especially considering that we managed to put this together in such a short time, it'll be the first time ever that a European team plays in an Asian league," Sasikumar told MediaCorp last night.

"The players are still in Lyon, but they will arrive in Singapore on Jan 24. They are going through their medical and working out final contract details, important issues that we want to sort out before they get on the plane," added Sasikumar.

Their name means star in French, and Etoile FC the first European team to ply their trade in Singapore's professional league, look to bring star quality with them.

Former Cameroon international Lucien Mettomo will bring his experience from Manchester City, Southampton and Kaiserslautern, if he does agree terms.

Former Newcastle United and French star David Ginola will also add to the draw of the French side, in his role as club ambassador.

"Hopefully, we can bring Ginola here for Etoile's first game of the season," added Sasikumar.

Etoile become the eighth foreign team to compete in the S-League after Sinchi FC (2003), Albirex Niigata (2004), Sporting Afrique (2006), Liaoning Guangyuan and Super Reds (both 2007), Dalian Shide (2008) and DPMM (2009).

The FAS will decide between Yishun Super Reds and Beijing Guoan for the final league spot in the next few days.


From: Brunei Times

Bandar Seri Begawan

TWO national hockey players left for Kuala Lumpur yesterday to play in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

The duo of Fauzi Hj Awang and Ahmad Radhey Johor have been signed by the Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) team to boost their chances of making it to the league final.

“This is a great opportunity for me … to be able to compete in a foreign league. I hope it will help me improve on my game,” said 26-year-old Fauzi, who plays in midfield, at an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas.

Ahmad Radhey, 18, also hopes to gain as much experience as he can from his Malaysian teammates as he prepares for the upcoming Malaysia Games (Sukma), to be held in Melaka in June.

“There are a lot of experienced players in the team and I want to learn as much as I can while I’m there,” said the forward.

UiTM, who play in Division One of the MHL, are preparing for their quarter-final match to be held on Jan 29

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Talks over the future ownership of West Ham United were on a knife-edge on Friday night with Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes and former Birmingham City co-owner David Sullivan vying for control of the Premier League club.

Sources close to the banks conducting the deal suggested that Fernandes, who was in intensive talks all day with lawyers and financiers, was "90 per cent there" in terms of concluding the sale and taking over.

Talks continued late into the night and an announcement may come on Saturday or Monday. It will be that extra 10 per cent that will, however, concern West Ham supporters who have agonised over their club's future.

Fernandes, the owner and chief executive of Air Asia and a lifelong West Ham supporter, is not the only bidder, of course, and detailed negotiations have continued with Sullivan who, according to sources, was also close. Both parties completed due diligence and had the necessary paperwork to support their bids ratified, having made their presentations at the start of the week.

Telegraph Sport also understands that it is not just the future of West Ham that is being decided but also that of manager Gianfranco Zola. If Sullivan gains control it is believed that he will seek to replace the Italian with Mark Hughes, who was sacked by Manchester City just before Christmas. Fernandes, the favourite, is fully supportive of Zola, who is deeply concerned about his future.

Beyond Fernandes and Sullivan – the two front-runners – there are other parties with Massimo Cellino, the president of the Italian club Cagliari, continuing to assert that he has made the best offer to CB Holding, the company that owns West Ham.

However, it is understood that further talks will take place with Cellino only if a deal cannot be agreed with Fernandes or Sullivan. It is also believed that Cellino would sack Zola, even though he finished his playing career at Cagliari. There are concerns as to whether Cellino would pass the Premier League's fit and proper person test after his involvement in a fraud case.

The Intermarket Group, a finance company which has sought investors, retains an interest and, at one stage this week, claimed it was the preferred bidder but this has been dismissed by sources at CB Holding and West Ham, although they do not rule them out should other offers fail and they provide proof of funds.

Key to Fernandes's plan, it is understood, is having full control so he can proved a stronger platform for the future of the club. There have been concerns about the level of debt – £38 million plus the £20 million due to Sheffield United over the Carlos Tévez affair – and, more pressingly, the terms under which the debt has been negotiated. None of these problems though are insurmountable.

Nevertheless, all bidders have been frustrated by over the stance taken by CB Holding and the five banks who are owed money by the club – Straumur, Glitner, Standard Bank, Lloyds-TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland – who are trying to drive as hard a bargain as possible before they transfer ownership.

Sullivan has proposed taking an initial 51 per cent stake, with a controlling interest and an option to buy out Straumur and the other creditors who are owed money following the collapse of the business empire of former owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson.

Fernandes made a similar proposal with, it is believed, slightly better financial terms but, according to sources involved, it has since been suggested he wants to conduct a full buy-out now to give West Ham a better footing.

There has been a rising sense of desperation at West Ham over the ownership issue with Zola unable to strengthen his squad until fresh investment is found or who is in control is decided. Hopefully that is now reaching its endgame.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


A prominent journalist cum blogger is expected to assume the position of Sports Editor of the soon to be launched Arena Sports Channel on Astro.

The channel is expected to go on air in either March or April and the personality is expected to assume his position by next month according to industry sources.

It is a move up the ladder for him and it irks well for all the hard work he has put in to be rewarded with such a position. His knowledge of sports is vast and I can olny offer him my congratulations.

And before anyone asks, that person is not Loose Cannon for he has been earmarked for a position in his old paper come May, a fact that he has repeatedly denied I must say.

Nonetheless it is heartening to note the progress achieved by the soon to be Sports Editor of Malaysia's first local sports channel.

All the best to you.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek bore a startled look when this blogger asked him about the proposed attachment stint for the footballers.

The question posed to the Minister was, " is there any link between the organisors of the CYC and the proposed attachment stint for footballers initiated by you"?

His response was startling to say the least as he neither confirmed nor denied the link.

"This is something I cannot talk about right now as I am meeting up with the FAM President in London this week. I am not saying anything about the people who are helping me out.

When posed with a second question " are you sure that this stint has nothing to do with the CYC organisors and is part of the settlement deal for aborting the event two years ago", this was the response:

" I cannot reveal much at this stage but am in the midst of negotiating with some parties. The settlement deal is history but I am not saying that we are not getting some help from certain personalities. What makes you think that it is the CYC organisers that are assisting me?

When told that his statement that not only was England the destination but other European clubs as well, and this got us thinking, this was the retort-

" How come no one posed this question to me before. Yes Europe will be a destination for some players, but you will have to wait for the deal to come through before we announce the details. As I said I need to check and brief HRH Sultan of Pahang first and seek his consent.''

For the record, the CYC was cancelled after its first edition that cost the Malaysian government RM17 million during Dato Azalina Othman tenure as Sports Minister. It was then cancelled when Dato Ismail Sabri assumed office and half of the RM17 million organisation fee was paid.

The orgnisors threatened a suit and were seeking RM35 million as breach of contract and god knows what happened as the case has gone cold ever since.

It is an open secret that there is more then what meets the eye with regards to this attachment scheme as it is not easy to open doors of the clubs in England,let alone in Europe.

But what was most worrying was for the stint in Slovakia, the Minister went on record on Astro Awani on Sunday to say tha he was seeking the assistance of FAM physical trainer.

If that is the case Minister, then why are you not seeking the opinion of personalities like Lim Teong Kim, Windsor John Paul and Dato Paul Mony to help open some doors in Germany, urope and Asian countries?

Why the different approach towards things and the change of tone when confronted with the facts on dealing with an organisation that had walked away with Malaysian tax payers money.

It would have been easier if you had denied the suggestion right away but the fact that you remained evasive tells us that there is some truth to the matter, as the saying goes, no smoke without fire.

What are the unseen hands hard at work to ensure that this stint happens and why the obsession with it? Has it to do with the fact that you want to be one up against detractors, as you told some within your fraternity, that you want to shut the media and bloggers who are opposed to the in the first place.

And it could well re-open if the evasiveness of the Minister has anything to do with it. It is believed that the Minister is going to London at his own cost, together with Dato Seri Tony Fernandes and Dato Mukhriz Mahathir.


If things go according to plan, Malaysian tennis fans will be in for a treat next month as former world number 1 and seven times Grand Slam winner, Justine Henin could well make an appearance in the USD250,00 event to be held at the Bukit Kiara Club.

The organisors, Carbon Media are in the midst of negotiating with the Belgian star to make an appearance and an answer could well be forthcoming soon.

In May 2008, Henin had retired from tennis as world No1 at the age of 25, looking depleted as she spoke wearily of needing "to breathe again".

Henin returned to the suffocating grind of the women's tour , last week in Australiabut she lingers over the moment which sparked her unexpected comeback.

Henin's tangled life is wrapped around the fact that she lost her mother, Françoise, to cancer, when she was only 12. In her subsequent misery she gradually became alienated from her father and her two brothers and younger sister – and fell out with them entirely when marrying Pierre-Yves Hardenne in 2002. Henin did not speak to her family until, after she separated from Hardenne early in 2007, she was reunited with them when her eldest brother was involved in a serious car accident.

Russian star Elena Dementieva leads the pack of world ranked players for the event scheduled to take place at Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort from Feb 22-28.

Dementieva, the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medalist, ranked fifth in the world, will have for company other stars like China's Li Na (ranked 17) and Jie Zheng (35), Germany's Sabine Liscki (22), Hungary's Melinda Czink (37), Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova (44), Australia's Jelana Dokic (58), India's Sania Mirza (56), Japan's Kimiko Date Krumm (64) and Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn (99).

Saturday, January 09, 2010


From MACC investigations, allegations of high handed officials, lack of development plans and boycott by journalists.

What else can go wrong for MAAU? They were in the limelight last decade and have continued to hog the limelight, all for the wrong reasons yet again.

While I would not want to touch on the MACC investigations ( to be honest I know nothing about that), the other three matters do interest me. For those are everyday affairs of several other national sports associations in the country.

MAAU are being heckled, most likely due to the fact that their president has not much political clout, so much so that even the NSC Media Officer has made statements while the Directors and DG of NSC are relatively quiet.

The attacks started right after the SEA Games, where one paper even went on to say that there was a shouting match between the NSC DG and the MAAU President at the lobby of a hotel. If this has happened as reported, then the right Honourable Minister ought to haul up the duo for a chat and look into the matter seriously as we cannot and ought to not take our petty fights out of the country, as of Malaysia's image is not shed enough by some politicians.

Right or wrong, the correct personalities in NSC should make the statements with regards to MAAU. If they have no staff manning the office, then as owners of the building, NSC should evict them, period.

And here is what is more interesting, seems that (according to NSC Media Officer), MAAU want NSC to seek the services of a General Manager. So what's wrong with that? It is obvious that NSC want to have a say in who is the GM, be it for any sport, so what's the big deal here mate?

Thus before the circus gets out of hand with more clowns joining the fray, Dato Zolkples Embong and Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, get onto the table, discuss matters like perfect gentlemen and sort things out.

And if that is not possible, then NSC please stop the funding for atheletics, shut down the office and MAAU go fund yourselves and show NSC that you are capable of running the show without the handouts.

Until such time, please shut the _ _ _ _ up.

The Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) President Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim on Friday denied a news report that the union is facing problems as recently reported by a local newspaper.

"There is no problem in MAAU and everything is in order and I wish to caution all athletes and officials and other parties not to give negative reports which are damaging to the MAAU and the interests of the sponsors," said Shahidan in a statement.

Shahidan in his statement also referred to the report published by Harian Metro yesterday in which it pointed there were no staff in the office when they arrived at the MAAU office and said it was incorrect.

"I wish to remind the people behind the scenes to stop damaging the image of MAAU. For the record, our office hours are from 9am to 5pm. There are staff during this period which MAAU can substantially prove," he said.

On the athletes' performance at the Laos SEA Games, he noted that although the athletes did not meet the medal target they managed to set new national and SEA Games records.

At the 25th SEA Games, the MAAU athletes won six gold, six silver and four bronze medals.

"Though the eight gold medal target was not achieved, the athletes broke national and SEA Games records. In this context, we have had a moral achievement in the Laos SEA Games," said Shahidan.

In his statement, Shahidan also suggested that the National Sports Council (NSC) increase the amount of incentive money for SEA Games gold medalists from RM5,000 to RM20,000.

"The other countries are giving far more than Malaysia. Indonesia offers US$20,000, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore offer US$10,000 and even a small country like Laos offers US$1,800," he said.



In a funny mirror image of Italy's World Cup triumph in 2006 in the aftermath of their Calciopoli scandal, Malaysia, following their famous South East Games (SEA) Games victory, can also lay the same claim.

Domestically, 2009 was not a good time to be a Malaysian League follower. The no foreign player ruling introduced at the season's start, ripped out the wow factor from the teams early on. Not surprisingly, it resulted in the lowest total gate collection ever since the M-League went fully professional in 2003. The ones who did go also, well, they were not exactly saints either with a disturbing level of crowd trouble incidents recorded, especially those involving Kelantan, whose fans marred even the Malaysia Cup final showpiece with damages to the National Stadium amounting to a few hundred thousands Ringgit. The tale of the man in black, the referees, was another disappointing story, their inability to control proceedings resulting in yet another pitch invasion during the hotly contested Sultan's Gold Cup final between Kedah and Perlis, a recent pre-season tournament, which goes to show all is not well in the officiating of the game here.

The powers that be also continued to be tainted with the bad stench of favouritism, as Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) decided to reinstate the then already relegated blue-eyed boys of theirs, Pahang, who finished in the mandatory last two relegated spots, instead of a promised spot for U-21 Young Tigers, who were set to play in the Super League at Pahang's expense. The nadir was probably reached in January 2009, as Malaysia's Asian Cup qualifying adventure began with a 5-0 drubbing at home to United Arab Emirates (UAE) in another match where the referees as well as the UAE team were pelted with missiles by the unhappy fans. Then B.Sathianathan's parting words in his last press conference as a national coach, when pressed for reasons of the whitewash, was to simply state that “M-League is not football”.

However out of the dark of the night, came the first rays of dawn. A 20 year wait for the football SEA games gold medal ended in Laos, a record thrashing of Timor Leste opened Malaysia's proceedings before defending champions Thailand were dispatched in an injury time comeback win. In between Malaysia also managed to hammer Cambodia, but lost badly to Vietnam in a fixture that got tempers reaching boiling point. Hosts Laos were put to the sword by goals in the last 10 minutes during the semifinals, before another goal in the closing stages avenged the group defeat in the final against Vietnam.

In the midst of the euphoria surrounding that success, the Ministry of Sports immediately announced a RM50 million (USD$15 Million) National Football Development Fund, and is proposing for FAM to consider the idea of creating a full time squad out of the victorious Under-23's who triumphed in Laos, a suggestion that is being widely debated amongst those in the footballing circles.

A few days ago, coach K.Rajagopal continued his upward curve by bidding adieu to the Asian Cup qualifiers with a narrow 1-0 loss in the return leg against United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Dubai, the Tigers only conceding the goal in the 93rd minute of the game, a result that saw many sitting up to take notice of the potential in his side, despite fielding only one player above the age of 23.

And so, against this backdrop of a not before time optimism, the curtains open for the 2010 Malaysian Super League today (Saturday, January 9). This year's roster sees some notable absentees, the sad liquidation of clubsides Naza FC & MyTeam FC, seeing three new faces present at the Super League dining table.

GOAL.COM presents their outlook on the possible fortunes of the teams plying the new Super League season, below. Meanwhile, the second level, Premier League, kicks off of on January 11 with 12 teams competing and the third level, FAM Cup, is scheduled to begin in March 2010.
(in alphabetical order).

JOHOR : Back in the big boy's room after years of self searching, and with former legend Nasir Yusof at the helm, envious glances to local rivals Johor FC could soon be a thing of the past. First things first, their virgin Super League season has to be negotiated and surviving it will take The Professor, as he was known during his playing days, all of his chemistry skills to succeed, management and financial problems notwithstanding
Last season 2009 : 3rd place in the Premier League

JOHOR FC : The model of club management efficiency rumbles on to another Super League season, this time with 9 new purchases, most notably Zulhisyam Jamaludin from defunct Naza FC. Add that to the head spinning concoction readily promised in the form of Eddy Helmi and Nurul Azwan, there is plenty to look forward to for the Bees. Once they leave Pasir Gudang, however, there is still a lot to be learned by them about the art of playing away. Ramlan Rashid has been told by his bosses that last season was a disappointment after their exploits in 2008, and pressure will be on him to end their wait for some silverware.
Last season 2009 : 4th place

KEDAH : It will happen even to Manchester United one day, who is to say that it will not happen to the Canaries. The legendary Azraai Khor is no more, and inexperienced coach Ahmad Yusof, as if he needs to be told, has very big shoes to fill. Azmi Muslim and Azlan Ismail are added to the pot, but with even Fadly Baharom and Khyril Muhymeen in the equation, it looks like a complete end of the Northeners cycle as a powerhouse in Malaysian football.
Last season 2009 : 3rd place

PERLIS : To lose first four first-teamers, your top scorer and your head coach for the new season is enough to make anyone cringe, but it is the stark reality facing the Northern Lions. Oh, and there is also the not so inconsequential matter of unpaid wages to worry about. Greenhorn coach Nidzam Adha will have to ask a lot from Fauzie Nan, Amar Rohidan and Fakri Saarani on the rocky road up ahead.
Last season 2009 : 2nd place

KELANTAN: If losing two finals in a season is not enough motivation for the Red Warriors to finally succeed this season, not even coach B.Sathiananthan knows what will. The only team with celebrity status guaranteed for their players, and his red traveling army of fans, love them or hate them will have much to cheer this season. Sathiananthan came on deck following the shock resignation of Peter Butler just before the beginning of the Malaysia Cup campaign last season, but showed his prowess in lifting the morale of the players and moulding them into a destructive force. With Indra Putra, the 2009 Player Of The Year, given new playmates in shape of Norshahrul Idlan and Akmal Rizal among many others, they will be challenging for the title all the way to the finish line.
Last season 2009 : 6th place

KUALA LUMPUR : The Hawks will need to call upon all of the experience gathered by coach Razip Ismail during his playing days as they face a baptism of fire in their first year of Super League action. Notable additions to the squad include Raimi Nor from crosstown rivals PLUS FC and See Kok Luen from Johor FC, and their presence will paramount in steadying this young side through a long season.
Last season 2009 : 4th in Premier League

NEGERI SEMBILAN: The party is probably still going on after a 61 year wait for the Malaysia Cup finally ended last season, as the Deer's activity in the transfer market was limited to only a single acquisition, unproven striker Norizam Salaman from Johor. Why change a good thing?, Wan Jamak may argue with stars such as Aidil Zafuan, Zaquan Adha and S.Kunalan on board to provide the fireworks, but with an aging midfield, some hard questions could be heading his way in the Super League marathon. He though, will be gutted on their failure to sign Hairuddin Omar, who in his own words, gave Negeri a different dimension in their play during the striker’s successful loan period in their victorious Malaysia Cup outing.
Last season 2009 : 7th place

PAHANG: Not likely to make good on their second lease at the Super League life, and coach Dollah Salleh, into his second season with them, will have his hands full in whipping his Elephants into a respectable herd. No names to strike terror into the opponents hearts, let alone lead on the field, and with poor administration shackling them, this is going to be a long, hard year. Survival remains their only target, unless of course if FAM intervenes with yet another helping hand.
Last season 2009 : 13th place

PENANG: Nothing much looks to have changed for the Panthers, already hemorrhaged this season of captain Rafiuddin Roddin to the Harimau Muda and S.Chanturu to Kelantan, with only the acquisition of Perak's Chan Kung Hung in defence to answer their shortcomings. Even if the return of coach Mohammad Bakar gets it right on the field, the admistrative woes within the team dangles a heavy chain surely around their feet. As with Pahang, escaping the fall is their objective.
Last season 2009 : 12th place

PERAK: Political bickerings slammed the door shut on M. Karathu's tenure with the team, and Raja Azlan Shah, who was promoted from assistant coach, first task will be to stabilise a young team minus their international S.Subramaniam. K.Nanthakumar's return is a gamble that hopefully will turn the ship around for them, but aside from Razali Kandasamy, this looks a very ordinary team indeed that is bound to be stucked in the lower reaches of the standings week in and week out.
Last season 2009 : 10th place

PLUS FC : The busiest shopper in the transfer market with up to 11 new faces brought on deck, most notably last season's Golden Boot (Super League Top Scorer) winner, top scorer Nizaruddin Yusop and Azi Sharil from Perlis. Top it all off with a defence comprising of Norhafiz Zamani and Irwan Fadzli and with Sanjos Sundawat on board, 2010 could be a very special year for the Highway Warriors. Coach Mat Zan has to deliver this season.
Last Season 2009 : 8th place

SELANGOR : The treble winners (Charity Shield, League, FA Cup) only missed out on the Malaysia Cup last season and it would take a very brave man to say that it would not be rectified this year. Liew Kit Kong, Safiq Rahim, Bunyamin Omar and Faderin Kadir are balanced additions to what is already an impressive arsenal. As Malaysia’s sole representative in the AFC Cup (Note : Perlis declined due to lack of finances), the Red Giants face a mammoth 60 match schedule this season, but it does not look beyond coach K.Devan's ability to juggle his charges and retain the Super League title he won so handsomely in his first year in charge. The most successful team in Malaysian football is set for another year of dominance.
Last season 2009 : Champions

TERENGGANU : Old warhorses K.Rajan and Tengku Hasbullah are notable additions to the Turtles, whose biggest asset however, could be their new coach Irfan Bakti, who did so well at Perlis last season, despite the financial malaise that rocked his time there. Sparks will surely come from Ashaari Samsudin, Manaf Mamat and also Sharbinee Alawee, but their questionable defence will surely unravel them to match last season's fifth place finish.
Last season 2009 : 5th place

T-TEAM FC : No Hairudin Omar now for them as they try to translate the fluidity of their second place finish in the Premier League finish onto the Super League. A lot will inevitably depend on Che Ku Marzuki utilizing the senior figures in the team such as Haris Safwan and Syamsuri Mustafa to their maximum potential, but with a little luck, a respectable mid-table finish is not out of reach.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Mr. Minister, why are you heading for London to talk to clubs when there is a club owner in Malaysia?

Read my earlier postings on Cardiff City and you will find that there is a certain Dato from Johor Baru that has bought into Cardiff City and he might be able to help you land a few places for Malaysian players to train at the club.

And read further down and you will notice that West Ham too many have a Malaysian owner by the end of this week.

No doubt it will not be as big as the clubs your advisors would have put into your head Sir, the likes of United ( not Leeds), Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Man City, but truly if training or a break is what you are looking at then the likes of Cardiff, Hull, Wolves and west Ham will be the ones you should target Sir.

Oh yes, while you take the drive down south, stop over at LCCT and maybe yu can convince Dato Seri Tony Fernandes to buy over West Ham, thus giving you more options to place Malaysian players.

And another thing Sir, before I forget, there is this document that FAM presented to the Sports Advisory Panel in 2005. It says the formative years, between 8 to 12 are the best years to build footballers, so isn't 23 years old a wee bit too late?

Another thing Sir, maybe its time you sought the opinion of Windsor John Paul, truly Malaysian ambassador in footballing world, for he can open the doors for you, not those who are like jellyfish when they had coffeee with you.

I know you mean well Sir, but do those around you mean well too, or is there another agenda?

The battle for ownership of West Ham was hotting up following a big hint by millionaire Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes that he is ready to bid for the beleaguered Premier League club.

There were weekend reports that former Birmingham co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan were well advanced with their negotiations over a £46million bid for a 50 per cent stake for the Upton Park club.

However, Fernandes, who had intimated he would not be making a bid, made a strong indication he may have changed his mind with a Twitter post at half-time of West Ham's FA Cup third-round tie against Arsenal. The Hammers led 1-0 at the time before eventually losing 2-1 and the message read: "Great half for the young Hammers. Soon they will have an owner who will make a difference and care."

Fernandes, who owns Air Asia and is behind the formation of the new Lotus F1 team, was born in Malaysia but educated in England, at Epsom College between 1977-83, during which time he became a firm West Ham supporter.

The 45-year-old earned his reputation as a businessman when, after re-mortgaging his house and against expert advice, he bought the failing government-linked airline AirAsia and turned it around. He has subsequently had more success with the creation of no-frills chain Tune Hotels and his personal worth is estimated at around £300m.

West Ham supporters, who are worried the club will be forced to sell at least one of their big-name players this month, are keen for something to happen soon and a popularity poll on one fans' website put Fernandes at the top, just ahead of Sullivan and Gold.

Fernandes is due back in London ahead of West Ham's next match, at home against Wolves on Sunday, and while Icelandic bank Straumur, effectively the owner of West Ham, has repeatedly said it is in no hurry to sell, it looks likely there will be major developments in the next 10 days.

The Sullivan/Gold bid had the advantage of being the first submitted to Rothschild Bank, which has been engaged to deal with potential investors, and it has received a 50-page shareholders agreement document as part of the due diligence process.

With Fernandes now seemingly also seriously interested, the future ownership of West Ham now seems less cut and dried, while a third potential consortium, the city-based Intermarket Group, are also due to lodge a formal bid today.

Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola insisted after yesterday's third-round FA Cup defeat that he will not be forced to sell any players this month regardless of what happens with a possible takeover.

"Everybody knows the financial situation - I think we have stability and do not have big problems," said the Italian. "I don't expect anybody to leave. I hope the team remains the same because when everyone's back, it is going to be a different story."

Monday, January 04, 2010


Fickle minded is best to describe FAM as they agreed with the Ministers request on the national players to train fulltime and forgo the Malaysian Super League.

And I have opted to use a picture of a jellyfish to illustrate that FAM has no backbone for merely 24 hours earlier, as reported by most major mainstream media, the idea by the Sports Minister was shot down.

And this morning, in the interest of saving grace for the Minister, FAM officials backtracked.....

The Minister will go to London and talk to clubs to take in Maaysian players to train at their academies, ha ha ha, instead of ho, ho,ho as Christmas is over Sir.

Imagine the clubs will open their doors just because the Minister will be in London on our money (tax payers) and tell the clubs - look we have a team that won gold after 20 years, and since we the government of Malaysia know sports better, please open your doors to our players.

I will leave it to other bloggers and the mainstream media to remind the Minister on the failures of players that tried to train in foreign countries, the most recent being Titus James Palani who never returned to don national colours.

While its true that two wrongs do not make a right Mr. Minister, it is also wrong to build castles in air.

Since you are in London, do drop into Holland and sort out the hockey team coach appointment as well and talk to clubs in Germany, England, Spain and Holland to take in some of our hockey players as well. And for therecord hockey has done far better then football internationally though the administration is on par with FAM.

To the State FA's, the time has come to tell the administration that they cannot act against the interests of the RAKYAT.

It's time some people retire......

Read the Bernama take on the proposal by the Minister that was agreed upon by the FAM bigwigs over a cup of coffee. Told you that the FAM President has no powers since it took FAM a week to pay out the cash rewards for the gold when HRH Sultan Ahmad Shah said that it will be done by Monday, December 28, oh wait it took FAM administrators a whole year to figure out how much and who deserved to be paid, please declare if the Deputy President too collected the reward, while he was giving out, was he also receiving?

The Ministry of Youth and Sports plan to send the national Under-23 football team that won the gold medal in the Laos SEA Games, for overseas training stints, in the future.

Its minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said he would discuss the prospect with clubs in England during his visit next week.

"If the discussions with the clubs are successful, it will provide local players a very good opportunity to enhance their skills," he told reporters after discussing the matter with Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) deputy president Datuk Seri Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad here on Monday.

Ahmad Shabery said African countries had used a similar approach and placed their players in clubs from countries like France and England right from the academy level.

"The result has been good and when the time comes, they are called back to beef up their national team," he said.

Ahmad Shabery said discussions would also be held with teams that involve their players, to avoid any problems when they are identified for such stints.

"I feel the future of the national Under-23 players should not be sacrificed for the sake of representing their states or clubs. We are also ready to help FAM financially because it seems the main obstacle when carrying out such programmes," he said.

However, for the time being the U-23 players can represent their respective teams in the M-League when the new season starts on Saturday.

Ahmad Shabery had earlier suggested that the U-23 squad that ended a 20-year wait to win a gold from football in the SEA Games, be retained for centralised training instead of returning to their respective teams.

The proposal was however, shot down by FAM, claiming it was too late because most of the players had already signed up for their respective teams to play in the M-League which starts on Saturday.

Friday, January 01, 2010


The year twenty ten has not even been 24 hours old and we have a major blunder for Malaysian sports taking place already.

Read the story from Bernama below and it makes you wonder if there is any sense in making such statements.

To be honest I do not know who advices you on this matter Mr. Minister but surely such an idea would have even sounded offensive to a five year old kid.

There was a fear that winning the gold medal at the SEA Games would have done more harm then good and the statement by the Minister justifies my fears with regards to this matter.
KUALA LIPIS: The Youth and Sports Ministry is to propose to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to retain the Under-23 football team as a national squad instead of allowing the players to participate in the state and club teams in the Malaysia League this year.
Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said that only by doing so would the efforts to revive the glory days of Malaysian football be realised.

"Not all state teams and their coaches can provide the level of training, skills and stamina required of national players," he told reporters after opening the general meeting of the Pahang Youth Council here yesterday.

Ahmad Shabery said the Under-23 squad would have to be given greater exposure through training and matches with football clubs abroad.

He said it was hoped that all the players would be retained in the squad to foster close understanding on the pitch.

The Under-23 squad had beaten Vietnam 1-0 in the final to win the SEA Games gold medal in Laos last month to end a 20-year drought, and recently they beat Syria 4-1 in an international friendly. - BERNAMA


To all the readers of this blog and Malaysian Hockey, Merry Xmas and have a good one