Friday, May 28, 2010


A month ago this blogger had the opportunity to have breakfast with former FAM General Secretary Dato Dell Akhbar together with Jaiho, the occassion was Dell's birthday.

The conversation was Malaysian sports and eventually at the tailend it was on the World Cup.

It was then that Dell informed us that he was going to be part of the World Cup as Head if Security for the Durban venue. And the list of Malaysians did not just end with him and Subkiddin, who was by that time already appointed as a match official.

For Windsor John Paul was the Head of the General Coordinators for the World Cup and Dato Dr. Gurucharan Singh was appointed to head the medical teamin Pretoria.

Both me andJaiho could not wait to share this news with the rest of Malaysia but an hour after breakfast we received a call from Dell and Windsor asking us not to publish anything as there would be wolves in sheep clothing within the Malaysian football fraternity who may put a spanner in the works.

So out of respect to the duo we opted to withold the news but with the World Cup just two weeks away, and with Windsor ending his training of the officials of the Local Organising Commiitee the time is right for all to know that we have four fine Malaysian sports officials in the biggest stage in the world.

Malaysia is indeed proud of you Sirs.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010



Organizers for the Green Soccer Bowl confirmed this morning that the event has been canceled less than a week before it was to be held at the Silverdome.

Five international teams initially were scheduled to meet over the weekend of Feb. 12; then the matches were switched to May 21-23 with teams from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Malaysia and Puerto Rico slated to participate.

Then the event was downsized to a one-day event. Four area youth soccer teams were supposed to play exhibition games, followed by Kenya vs. Malaysia at 4 p.m. Sunday.

"We’ve canceled,” said Pius Oleh, a former defenseman for Nigeria’s senior national team who created the event. “All the teams didn’t get a visa."

The Football Association of Malaysia released a statement today saying it withdrew its team from the Green Soccer Bowl because "there were issues with Ghana’s and Puerto Rico’s visa application, hence their withdrawal."

Oleh said ticket buyers will be issued refunds. He said he didn’t know how many tickets had been sold. For more information, visit

When the event was announced in February, it was met with skepticism by those in the local soccer community.

Roger Faulkner, president of the 1994 FIFA World Cup Detroit host committee, wondered then about Ghana’s involvement.

“I’m surprised that Ghana would send their whole national squad over here to play a game on artificial turf a month before the (World Cup) games are played in South Africa, but apparently that’s the case,” Faulkner said at the time.

Faulkner said today he felt sorry for Oleh, but wasn’t surprised the event was canceled.

"I told him some months ago that I did not believe this was viable," Faulkner said. "I think it was a brave effort, but it just wasn’t going to happen."

Faulkner said Andreas Apostolopoulos, the Toronto real estate developer who recently bought the Silverdome in an auction for $583,000, is a soccer supporter.

Faulkner hopes that soccer eventually will return to the Silverdome.

The venue hosted first-round games in the 1994 World Cup and was home to the Detroit Express of the now-defunct North American Soccer League in 1978-80.

"Obviously our long-term goal is to have Major League Soccer here," Faulkner said. "I think had these games gone ahead, and with very small crowds at the Silverdome, it probably would not have enhanced our reputation as a soccer market. So this is a bit of a sense of relief, although I’m really sorry for Pius. His enthusiasm is infectious, but I thought it was an ill-conceived project."

Monday, May 24, 2010


Well I am merely echoing the words of National Sports Council Director General Dato' Zolkples Embong, the statement made in NST as reproduced below:

National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong views the problem seriously and has stated that stricter measures -- like appointing an army officer to be the camp commandant at the players hostel situated at Rakan Muda Complex in Bukit Kiara -- must be employed.

However, Zollkples felt that would probably be the last resort to curb the problem but firmly believes the onus is on the players to change their attitude, value the habit of sleeping early an also curtail their nightlife.

So going but what the DG says, discipline is a problem in the badminton squad. Might I remind you Sir, that there was this case of breach or rather indiscipline that happened on your door step almost a year ago when hockey players tropped into your hostel in the wee hours of the morning.

So how is it that at that time you opted not to ring in the army to put  stop to the indiscipline? Or its a case of a double standards, the national associations must always be blamed while the NSC gets away doing what they want?

If you have such opinion on the manner in which indiscipline is being handled by BAM, then I suggest, with your permission of course, that we send in the army to take over the running of Malaysian sports, and no disrespect to the men who defend our country, but would you vacate your position and let the army take over NSC as well.

Talking about the so called post mortem that BAM is conducting, of which NSC is silent on, mind I remind all that such an action was taken in 2004 after the Athens debacle. Infact there were three post-mortems held, one that was made public - the one conducted by Dato Seri Dr. Ibrahim Saad, the other by Muralee Menon - that did not see the light of day and the third by UPM Sports Academy, and this one was initiated to close the book on the BAM President.

So, lets see if anyone wants to expose what transpired in 2004 when some personalities ganged up to rid BAM of its President.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


V. Sivapathasundram, my hockey mentor from Tunku Besar Secondary School passed away this evening at UMCC.

His remains have been brought back to Tampin and the funeral will be held on Tuesday at 2.00pm.

Siva, who was the Hon Secretary of NSHA in the 90's and also served as Assistant Secretary to the late S. Satgunam in MHF was responsible towards the development and promotion of hockey in Tampin as well as the state of NS.

He will be sorely missed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


CARDIFF City are set for a ground-breaking pre-season tour to the Far East to prepare for what they hope will be a 2010-11 season in the Premier League.

The Echo understands a deal is being done for Dave Jones to take his Bluebirds to Malaysia for two matches in the summer. They will follow in the footsteps of Manchester United by playing a Malaysian XI at the 90,000-capacity Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

Ryan Giggs and the rest of Sir Alex Ferguson’s superstars played at the stadium on a Far East tour as they sold the brand name of Manchester United.

However, a proposed Malaysia versus Real Madrid match this summer has been called off, leaving local organisers free to pencil in a match against the Bluebirds.

The deal to go to Malaysia is part of the ambitious plans for Dato Chan Tien Ghee and his consortium to take over the club.

He is hoping to complete a £6m investment which would enable the Bluebirds to head off a winding up order over a £1.9m tax bill which is due to be heard in the High Court next week.

A second match is planned for Jones’ men on tour, as well as a game at home against a European side... and that will form the bulk of City’s pre-season preparations.

The proposal is for City to fly out in mid-July and return a couple of weeks after. But exact dates cannot be set until Cardiff know whether or not they are in the Premier League, which starts a week after the Championship.

Jones has already been assured by Dato Chan he will continue as City manager next season, in the event of a takeover. The Malaysian pledge comes whether City are promoted or not.

TG is hinting at more investment in resurgent City

CARDIFF CITY chairman-elect Dato Chan Tien Ghee has insisted his proposed £6m cash injection could be just the start for the Bluebirds as the club stand on the brink of the big time.

And, having made a flying visit last week to witness Dave Jones’ men move to within 90 minutes of 
the Premier League, he has vowed to give his full support to the club “for as long as they want”.

The Malaysian property magnate is set to takeover from Peter Ridsdale when his investment, counter-signed by millionaire Malay entrepreneur Vincent Tan, goes through at a shareholders meeting later this month.

The money is needed to secure the club’s financial future, with the latest adjournment on a winding up order dependent on a £1.9m tax bill being paid.

But, speaking for the first time since details of the deal were revealed, Dato Chan has hinted he and Tan could be ready to go further than their initial outlay.

“It is £6m for the moment,” said Dato Chan, known to fans as TG. “But you never know, we will help this club as long as they want us to.

“And we will support the club both in terms of moral support and financial support because this is a tremendous institution.”

The Malaysians have put £2m of their £6m into the club so far as an advance, the remainder of the funds to be released after a meeting of shareholders on May 27 that will formally approve the purchase of new shares – giving them 30.46 per cent of the club’s capital.

And when asked for reasons behind his desire to invest in the Bluebirds, Dato Chan replied: “There is a connection. It feels good to be here and there doesn’t have to be a reason if it feels good.”

Dato Chan was at the Cardiff City Stadium on Wednesday to witness the win over Leicester, Bluebirds boss Jones claiming he was in tears of joy at the final whistle.

He was also hugged by celebrating players after the penalty shoot-out victory that booked the club’s trip to Wembley to faceBlackpool and keep alive promotion dreams.

Of course, success in this Saturday’s Championship play-off final against Ian Holloway’s men would trigger an incredible financial windfall for Cardiff with the huge prize on offer for competing in the Premier League.

But the Malay involvement is still being seen as crucial with the deal set to be finalised five days after the Wembley clash.

That will open the door to further cash injections from Dato Chan or Tan, whose business empire sprawls Malaysia and takes in a myriad of interests including media, telecommunications and property development.

Tan has not yet visited the club but his son, Eugene, accompanied Dato Chan at the Leicester game and there is speculation he will make the trip from his Kuala Lumpur base for the all-or-nothing fixture with Blackpool.

Victory would mark an amazing turnaround in fortunes for Cardiff, supporters harbouring genuine fear for the future of the club before the Malaysians confirmed his investment.

But Dato Chan has played down the involvement, preferring to hail the effort of Jones and his players ahead of the biggest game in the club’s history.

“(Wednesday) was a absolutely great night and it was a tremendous credit to the fans and everybody who has made it possible,” he said. “It is not me who has made a difference, it is the club. There is a great, new buzz here and it is going to continue.

“We have been given an opportunity and the players have shown they can take it.”

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Malaysian Gems For A-League

Undiscovered gems can emerge from Malaysia’s rapidly improving football structure for A-League clubs hunting bargains, says Sabah Hawks’ Aussie coach Gary Phillips.

Phillips, a former Sydney Olympic and Brisbane Strikers midfielder, says football in Malaysia is also beginning to emerge from the doldrums after a disastrous Asian Cup 2007.

Phillips knows Asian football well and also knows what it takes to succeed in Australia. After almost 400 games in the former NSL and a championship as a coach with Sydney Olympic, Phillips coached in the W-League and in the Institute system.

In Asia, he's coached Vietnam V-League side Da Nang and was Manager of Project Future with the AFC. There he selected, managed and mentored young coaches around six Asian zones in 47 countries.

"Having watched Malaysia win the South-East Asian Games late last year, the country has enormous potential and a love for the game that is enormous," Phillips explained to

"Sabah captain Reithauddin Awang Emran and former national team player Mafry Balang can play A-League now. They are two solid defenders with exposure to better environment would take their game to another level."

Following some disastrous results as Malaysia dropped to 154 in the world rankings in 2007 - prompting calls by the government to disband FAM (Football Association of Malaysia) - the SEA success has seen the Malaysian government ramp up funding to the sport.

The National Sports School have a football program with a three-year live-in program for U19 players. This team competes in the Malaysian Premier League and won the title last season.

Meanwhile the current U21 Malaysian national team are living in Slovakia and playing friendly matches on a weekly basis.

It all bodes well for A-League clubs hunting out bargains.

"Sabri Sahar has the ability and attitude to become an outstanding player," said Phillips. "If he was given an opportunity in Australia with a season in the NYL to toughen him up he would not be far away from A-League level."

Sabah are flourishing under the Aussie's guidance too and are in striking distance of a top two spot and promotion from the Malaysian Premier League (second division) to the Super League.

After an offer from former Socceroo Scott Ollerenshaw - a former Sabah great now running the Borneo Cup ( -  to coach the Hawks, Phillips is enjoying being back on the track on a daily basis.

And in Phillips - who holds an AFC A licence - A-League clubs have an instant source of local knowledge.

Thai Surat Sukha was the first player from Southeast Asia to play at in the A-League and he was soon joined at Melbourne Victory by on-loan striker Sutee Suksomkit. Meanwhile Melbourne Heart will trial Indian player Gouramangi Singh this July.

Phillips believes Malaysia - a country that has seen a number of Australian players and coaches over the years - could be next on the list of less well-known AFC nations making in-roads into the A-League. 

 "I am enjoying being back in the coaching jungle, literally, on the Island of Borneo," added Phillips. "And for A-League clubs more importantly, even the second division here has players with potential to make an impact in the A-League."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


The Finance Ministry has issued a sports betting licence to Tan Sri Vincent Tan's Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd, Malaysia's first legalised sports betting operation.
According to a statement from Berjaya Corporation Bhd (BCorp), of which Tan is chairman and chief executive officer, Ascot Sports was first granted a sports betting license (also known as a "bookie" licence) in 1987 and had commenced operations offering off-course horse racing bets.

It had to shortly thereafter surrender the licence on condition that the Government grant Ascot Sports the “first-right-of-refusal” should the Government decide to issue sports betting license in the future.

Ascot Sport’s plan is to launch products based on internationally popular sporting events such as soccer, basketball, motor racing, tennis, and golf. For a start, Ascot Sports will offer their products via 220 selected Sports Toto outlets in West Malaysia.

"Ascot Sports will also offer telephone betting convenience and only adults above 21 years old and non-Muslims will be allowed to open a telephone betting account. Muslims are strictly prohibited from betting with Ascot Sports," the statement added.

In the statement, BCorp said it plans to buy a 70 per cent stake in Ascot Sports from Tan for RM525 million in cash, or RM9.375 per share.
"Ascot Sports has been re-issued the sports betting license by the Ministry of Finance which was first issued in 1987. Ascot Sports has the first-right-of-refusal in the event the Government decides to allow sports betting which it has now in view of the rampant illegal book making activities being conducted," BCorp said.

It said Tan has agreed to guarantee that the company will make a cumulative after tax profit of at least RM375 million for the first 3 years of operations.

To back this guarantee, he has offered to deposit RM81.25 million worth of listed securities and BCorp will withhold RM125 million cash from the total consideration of RM525 million which will be released annually upon achievement of profits proportionate to the guarantee. Hence, the initial consideration will be RM400 million.

BCorp has also announced its proposal to call a rights of 8.0 per cent ICULS on the basis of one RM1 nominal amount 8.0 per cent ICULS for every eight BCorp shares held on the entitlement date.

This rights issue could potentially raise more than RM0.5 billion.

A portion of the funds raised will be used to pay the initial consideration of RM400 million with the remaining to be deployed for working capital of the Group.

BCorp said Tan has undertaken to subscribe to his and his private companies’ entitlements in full which would amount to at least RM400 million.

"Tan Sri Vincent Tan will not net in any cash as he will reinvest the entire initial consideration to be received to honour his rights issue obligations," the statement added.

BCorp said Ascot Sports is set to become the next big money spinner for the group.

Comparing examples in Singapore and Hong Kong where legalized sports betting has been in operation for a number of years, the market is seeing consistent double digit compound growth rates, BCorp said.
The Hong Kong Jockey club for instance had revenues of about HK$35.0 billion (about RM15.0 billion) whilst Singapore Pools revenue is estimated at a few billion Singapore Dollars.

"By some estimates, the illegal sports betting market in Malaysia is thought to be as much as RM20 billion per annum. This represents a tremendous loss of tax revenue to the Government which Ascot Sports hopes to be able to mitigate.

"Based on the RM375 million profit guarantee, the net profit averages at about RM125 million per annum. At the implied value of RM750 million for 100 per cent of Ascot Sports, the acquisition PE multiple is about 6.0x, which is an exceptionally low multiple given the enormous potential for the industry.

"The Board of BCorp expressed its gratitude to Tan Sri Vincent Tan for having offered this remarkable 'Sweetheart' deal to the Company. The Board recognizes that typically, one would probably have to pay a high double digit PE multiple with no profit guarantee if such a business is sold with an established earnings track record," the company said.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


The 19th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup begins at 16:05 Malaysian time (08:05 GMT).

For the first time there is an official website for the tournament that can be found at where the action can be followed live.

Live commentary will be provided via Twitter and relayed onto the site. If you want to follow the commentary on Twitter, please follow the user Azlancup.

Monday, May 03, 2010


The National Sports Council (NSC) have admitted there is a problem with the drainage system.

Responding to Mailsport’s article "Water, water everywhere" on April 29, NSC quickly added the flood at the running tracks at the Mini Stadium last Tuesday subsided within 25 minutes.

The statement read: “The cause of the flash floods was following the heavy downpour whereas the water could not flow out properly.

“This is because the drains outside NSC’s premises, which are under the maintenance and supervision of the National Sports Complex, cannot hold a huge volume of water.”

The statement further added that 10 drains within NSC were directed to only one water outlet under the supervision of the National Sports Complex before the water is channelled to the nearby Kuyuh River.

“The water flow from NSC to Kuyuh River has become worse following the surrounding rapid development, including the construction of Arena Green condominium and a flyover.

“We have informed the National Sports Complex management in its last formal letter to the general manager Wan Nor Azinah Wan Hashim on March 16. The letter was signed by NSC’s engineer Raizal Muhamat Yaakop on behalf of the NSC director general.”

NSC claimed they have yet to hear from the National Sports Complex. NSC defended the contractor adding that their jobscope were only "related to the laying of the tracks" and not directly involved in the construction of a drainage system in NSC.”

NSC felt upgrading its drainage system would not solve the flooding woes if the drainage system of the surrounding areas were not upgraded as well.

As for the certification of the tracks by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF), NSC claimed it was still in process as it is carried out by the contractor laying the tracks. They expect the track to be certified in due time.


CARDIFF CITY fans have been warned not to think of the new Malaysian investors as ‘sugar-daddies’, but were assured the days of financial turmoil threatening the club’s future are over.
The message comes from Paul Guy, the property developer who has returned to the Cardiff City board and whose company, PMG, was involved in the construction of the new stadium.
Guy’s firm is the club’s major creditor, owed £9m by the Bluebirds, with a portion of that sum having been converted into shares as part of the takeover deal involving Malaysian businessmen Dato Chan Tien Ghee and Vincent Tan.
And as well as urging a commonsense level of expectation among the club’s supporters, Guy also warned that after the exits of two high-profile chairmen in Peter Ridsdale and Sam Hammam, that Cardiff City’s business side would now be looking to operate in a far lower key manner.
Guy, speaking to Wales on Sunday from Spain, did stress that while the Malaysians will mix ambition with prudence, they have saved the club in the short term.
He said: “If TG (Dato Chan) and the Malaysians had not put their loans into the bank last month or this month, then the club would not have been able to pay the wages, or for that matter the pending tax bill.
“They have been absolutely fundamental in securing the club’s future. But this is a long-term plan and people must understand however much money these people have, it doesn’t buy you success. TG has a very good expression, he often says, ‘Let us get our house in order before we invite our guests in.’ And that is a very good way of putting it.
“There is a lot of hard work to be done and we need to re-build our business reputation out there.
“That is not going to be an overnight issue. But these are football people (the Malaysians) who love the game.
“They have invested in their own country at grassroots level and also at university level. They see Cardiff City as a growing club and the club will take part in many things over there in the Far East in the future.
“I think the club now has the best future it has ever had in its history.
“We have sorted out a huge backlog of problems by these investors coming on board and the future for this club looks very bright.”
However, Guy was at pains to stress the Malaysians will not entertain the kind of reckless spending that is seen in so many parts of the modern football world.
“These people are very successful business people and active investors, but they will be sensible and will not be throwing away stupid amounts of money buying players that we can’t afford to keep,” added Guy.
“We will live within our means because in the past it’s been absolute madness.
“Of course we will take some risks, but football is about two years behind the rest of the country in respect of the credit crunch and that is going to hit football in the next year or two.
“But whatever happens, this club will be run as a proper business from now on and not be led by figureheads.
“We have had two very high-profile chairmen at this club and I can assure you that TG is the exact opposite in terms of having a profile like the last two people in charge.
“The club is in desperate need of some tighter financial control.
“That is our number one priority – to get things sorted out and done in an orderly fashion.”
Many supporters fear that an asset-stripping exercise could take place at the club when the new investors take control with key players such as Michael Chopra and home-grown player Joe Ledley being sold.
But Guy is adamant that will not be the case.
“I have never had any such conversation with TG or any of the new board,” he stressed. “It is the last thing they want to do, it’s a million miles off the mark, not even on the agenda. “The running of the team is totally down to Dave Jones, who he keeps is up to him. It’s his call, nobody else’s.
“All I can say is that there is no doubt that I, the Malaysians and the rest of the board want Premiership football at this club. It may happen this season, it may happen next season or the season after that, there is no guarantee, however much money is spent.
“But come what may this club will have a sound financial footing, a viable financial income, and we will not go from one catastrophe to another.
“The club hasn’t known whether it is coming or going. Well, those days are over.”
Guy said that the returning of Cardiff City to an even financial keel cannot be done overnight.
“The first thing we have to do is stabilise the company and that will take time,” he continued. “We know what we are doing and we will get there in the end.
“There are very exciting times ahead for this club and these people are major players in the business world who will want this club to be successful. Year on year this club will get stronger in all departments both on and off the field.
“We have been straddled with a huge debt from the Hammam years and it’s been around the neck of this club for years. Now we can say it’s all been sorted out.
“Its been a very long journey, there are a lot of bridges to repair and even rebuild.
“We know the reputation of the club needs to be rebuilt and we know that will not be done overnight. But it will be done.”


Earlier last month it was this....

Companies have been reported to be enthusiastic to sponsor the Malaysian leagues, following the national squad’s gold medal success at the Laos SEA Games last year. The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general, Mr Azzuddin Ahmad, told Bernama recently that the teams success has stirred the interest of companies in associating themselves to the sport.

Azzuddin was reported to have said that FAM would set the sponsorship criteria based on the amount pledged and the background of the companies. However, he explained that FAM would not “sideline our friend, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, who have been very generous in sponsoring Malaysian leagues all this while.”

 Funny thing though...

The fixtures have been drawn up, but the cross-causeway tournament involving S-League sides and Malaysian clubs, set to kick off next month, could be derailed by financial difficulties.

Both the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) had expressed their keen interest in kicking off the FAS-FAM tourney this year.

The competition, contested by three club sides from each country, was scheduled to take place during the World Cup to keep players sharp and rekindle some of the old Malaysia Cup excitement.

The competition is likely to feature both the two leagues' top two sides of 2009 (SAFFC and Tampines Rovers from Singapore; Selangor and Perlis from Malaysia) and the cup winners of the domestic cup competition (Geylang United and Negri Sembilan).

But, while the dates have been set aside, neither federation has confirmed which teams will be competing.

"We are still looking for sponsors for this event, and if we can't find parties to finance it, then it won't happen this year, but next year instead," said FAM secretary-general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad.

"We have set ourselves a June deadline to work on this."

Added FAS general secretary Winston Lee: "This is a prestigious competition, and on our end we have interested sponsors lined up, but we have to work in tandem with FAM for this tournament to be a success.

"This will be a permanent fixture for the long run. All the necessary infrastructure is in place and both sides want this to happen. Even if it doesn't start this year, we will do it next year."

MediaCorp understands that the two associations will meet again in a couple of weeks before making a final decision.