Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Malaysia Cup champion Kelantan has appointed coach B. Sathianathan as the Kelantan Football Association's (KAFA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for coaching.

The move by KAFA is seen as a slap in the face for the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) that had earlier suspended Sathianathan for six months and later rejected his appeal.

Through the appointment announced by KAFA president Tan Sri Annuar Musa, Sathianathan would be in charge of the technical aspects of coaching and responsible for guiding and grooming talented players.

"Although we have lost him as the head coach at a time when the team needed him most due to our preparations for the M-League season-opening Charity Shield, we still need Sathinathan's services.

"Today we appointed him (Sathianathan) as the CEO for coaching and responsible for all coaching aspects that does not come under FAM's jurisdiction.

"We accept FAM's decision but taking proactive measures to ensure that he can continue to offer his services KAFA," he said.

He added that since Sathianathan would not be able to coach Kelantan, KAFA would look out for another coach to fill his place.

Meanwhile, Sathianathan said he would use whatever avenue available to make another appeal on his six-month ban by FAM.

Sathianathan was suspended for speaking against the association's policy as the coach was quoted as saying that it was unfair to allow T'Team to play their away game against Perlis in Kuala Terengganu.

Monday, January 24, 2011


It is a season of debates, with the Prime Minister being challenged to a debate by the Prime Minister wanna be.

Since I have been pushed to the wall by the Sports Minister and his cronies, I too am challenging the current Sports Minister to a debate. No point hiding the facts and running down people like me who have no political agenda nor personal agenda towards the development and promotion of sport, Mr. Minister.

I have had it up to here... (read this SMS I received this morning :  I was actually thinkin about you all the time. But you know lah the stickiness of your involvement when it comes to the ministry. They said no when i suggested to cut it short.)

So why not you be man enough and debate with me. Let's start with what happened to the RM10 million allocated for football which has not been used for a year, about why hockey coaches are being constantly left out of incentive schemes, why your personal intervention in badminton and not other sports such as athletics, karate, sepak takraw and so forth, about what you have done positively for sports, about the so called improvement towards the incentive scheme, about how you talk about sports in the country when really you listen to certain personalities who have hidden agenda's.
Tell me, why are you so scared of me till you resort to sunch underhand tactics to prevent me from putting food on the table for my parents? Simply put, you are just too scrared to face me despite my challenge last February when you belittled me in Bukit Kiara when I was not in the country to defend myself.

And to your officials in the NSC, I have this to say, you are in the firing line from the Ex Director General simply because you are busy playing politics then doing what is expected of you.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Well, I would not want to blow my trumpet by saying I told you so, and that was sometime in September last year, and yes some main stream media people said that I was imagining things. Well Mohd Hafiz Hashim has said it, and he said the same thing to me on the bus in Paris in August, and he carried out what he said. And yes he is not leaving because of Dato Misbun Sidek, for the two stop seeing eye to eye a long time ago.

So will Dato Lee Chong Wei leave or has the Minister weaved his magic wand, by telling BAM that Misbun must have his way, hence something that some Exco members feared, that their president will bow down and allow the Sports Minister to dictate terms.

But more interestingly, two more, or rather three more players will be soon leaving.

And I shall listen to the song Imagine...,.

Friday, January 14, 2011


The headline is not about the threat by some members of the Coaching and Training Committee to resign should changes be made to the structure, but rather on players who will leave BAM.

Not wanting to reveal the names, this blog has been informed by some players that they too will leave BAM, and are merely awaiting Datuk Lee Chong Wei to take the first step. And like domino tiles, the rest will follow suit.

Let that happen when it happens but what is more interesting is the fact that Datuk Misbun Sidek has NOT resigned as coach. For Misbun had two contracts employing him as coach, one with the National Sports Council and the other with BAM.
His two contracts expired on December 31 and neither Misbun nor the other 15 coaches that received approval for renewal of their contracts have received their new contracts. So in line with procedure and contract law, Misbun cannot be considered to have resigned.

And even if some were to argue Misbun indeed has resigned, then he has only done so with regards to his contract with BAM as his letter was only addressed to BAM and no where in the letter or in the copies to was NSC mentioned or informed.

Checks with NSC and BAM reveal that indeed Misbun had two contracts and the letter was only addressed to BAM.

So what was the outcome of the BAM Exco Meeting of Wednesday and its impact on Misbun. Many cannot grasp the decision though it was crystal clear - " we hope Misbun will re-consider, our decisions of the CNT stand as the Exco cannot change decisions made by the Council and it was Misbun who quit-we never asked him to go."

Taking those statements into context, the threat by these committee members holds no water as the Exco never said they were changing decisions made by the Council. So if you feel insecure, then maybe you ought to quit.

Holding associations at ransom seem to be the in-thing, as evident by the Takraw President (who said he will quit if they failed to win gold but is still around), the MAAU Vice President ( who quit just two weeks before his terms ends) and now these state BA officials as well as Misbun.

If BAM give in to Misbun, and here we are only talking about letting his son train under him, then be prepared to employ the father of Zulfadli, for that is his demand for his son to join the BAM stable. Now will BAM be prepared to do that as well? 

There is something more then just this as so far as the exodus is concerned, nothing to do with who trains where and with who. The writing is on the wall Dato Nadzmi, thread carefully for friends are foes now.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


HE'S THE man credited with resurrecting the roar of the Malaysian Tigers, a tranquillised footballing animal that hadn't had a sniff of a major trophy for two decades prior to his arrival.

Eight months after he was appointed national team coach in April 2009, K Rajagopal, 54, had a SEA Games gold medal slung around his neck.

Then last month, he became the first Malaysia coach to hold the AFF Suzuki Cup aloft - his side becoming the youngest champions in the tournament's history with an average age of 22.9 years.

A few days after that, on Dec 31, he officially became his nation's most popular person after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak declared the New Year's eve a public holiday to commemorate the historic Suzuki Cup triumph.

In his own words, just like Jose Mourinho's self-declaration seven years ago, "King Raja" is now Malaysia's Special One.

"I will always cherish our fairytale Suzuki Cup win," he told The New Paper.

"It was done in a special way and I think it took a Special One to do it, even though I'm not Mourinho."


Asked if he had indeed just dubbed himself the Special One, he responded in the affirmative, paused and joked, "Actually I'm probably better than Mourinho. Because he had better resources at his disposal than me."

That confidence and belief have typified Rajagopal's transformation of Malaysia's national team.

A side that has seen its support dwindle since the match-fixing scandal of the 1990s, a situation not helped by poor results including a group stage exit in the 2008 Suzuki Cup and humiliating thrashings on home turf in the 2007 Asian Cup.

But when Rajagopal took over the reins from B Sathianathan, he took the radical step of revamping the national team with a distinctly youthful flavour.

Gone were the established players with caps and experience by the bundle, and in their place came the young players he knew intimately from his time coaching Malaysia's youth teams.

But not everyone subscribed to Rajagopal's revolution.

Eric Samuel, 48, senior writer for The Star newspaper, explained that much of the nation's press, including himself, were sceptical about the wholesale changes and felt that there remained a need for at least some old heads in the Malaysian set-up.

"His (Rajagopal's) reply was: 'If you don't give them the chance now, when will you?'," said the journalist who has been covering the national football scene for 20 years.

"He wanted us to believe in the players like he did. He was very brave to have taken such a bold step and it's paid off. You can see now that the team has that same confidence he has.

"They might not be the most talented Malaysian team but the players have amazing belief and fighting qualities, and I think that's down to him."

Explaining his philosophy, Rajagopal, a former Malaysian striker, said: "I don't believe in old players. 

"Sure, if an older player is an icon or can set an example and impart his experience, I'll pick him.

"But I don't want players who make smoke (cause problems), I want players who make fire, and the young players have proved they can do that.

"When I took over, I told FAM (Football Association of Malaysia) we needed to focus on youth and continuity, and they backed me."

For many, his approach seemed risky, but "King Raja", as he has been dubbed by the press across the Causeway, knew he wasn't just putting blind faith in Malaysia's youth.

He was at the helm when Malaysia won the 2005 Lion City Cup and raved about the potential of the Under-19s when they beat a Manchester United academy side 4-0 in 2007.

Two years later, he unleashed Malaysia's young Tigers on the national consciousness, winning Malaysia's second-tier league competition with Harimau Muda - the national Under-19 team.

Providing the conveyor belt of talent for Rajagopal has been the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), which opened in Kuala Lumpur in 1996.

Nine of the Suzuki Cup winning squad are alumni of Malaysia's first sports school, among them tournament stars - goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat and striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha.

And according to the coach, the number of BJSS graduates would have been even higher had his team not been decimated by injuries ahead of the Asean region's premier football tournament.

More than silverware and the fact that the prize was won in spite of an injury crisis and over two years ahead of the coach's own stipulated target, it is the manner in which success has been achieved that has been most impressive.

Tactically disciplined and fearlessly positive in equal measure, Rajagopal's Tigers have, according to Samuel, "made heads turn for the first time since 1989 (when Malaysia won the SEA Games gold on home soil)".

It's a sentiment shared by ex-Malaysian international and ESPN Star Sports football pundit Shebby Singh.

He said: "I'd like to think I know something about football. And when I watched them at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, even though the results weren't great, I got excited about the national team for the first time in 10 to 15 years.

"I thought, hang on, I'm enjoying watching them play.

"There was no more of the long ball stuff which has been an unfortunate legacy of (ex-national coach) Allan Harris.


"They played attractive, positive football and did it with such confidence. At the same time they were tactically disciplined and flexible enough to switch from 4-4-2 to 4-4-1-1 to 4-2-3-1 with ease.

"It shows great maturity for a young side and I think Rajagopal deserves all the credit."

In fact, the Suzuki Cup champions have an illustrious fan from further afield.

After their final win, Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand conveyed his congratulations through his twitter account @rioferdy5.

He tweeted: "Congratulations to Malaysia who beat Indonesia in the Suzuki Cup final. I played against the Malaysian under-23 team 18 months ago. Quite a good team."

The Red Devils had played Malaysia twice during their pre-season tour of Asia in July 2009 winning 3-2 and 2-0.

The matches were among the early ones of Rajagopal's tenure and the impressive displays had fans taking notice of the players.

The resurgence of Malaysian football after decades in the doldrums might be long awaited in the nation, but it's left regional rivals worried.

"They have definitely pulled away from us," remarked former Lion and ex-national youth coach R Suriamurthi.

"They look like they have a golden generation on their hands and if they can keep the team together it's an ominous sign for the region.

"With the Suzuki Cup and SEA Games gold, it's proven that they are the next dominant team in South-east Asia."

But despite the return of verve, titles, fans and momentum to Malaysian football, some feel that there is still some work to do.

"The success is not the result of some grand blueprint from the FAM which has come good," said Shebby Singh.

"It's accidental - the combination of a very good coach and a talented generation of players, many of which have come out of Bukit Jalil (Sports School).

"I have my ear to the ground and at the grassroots level it's rubbish, there is no proper organisation at all.

"How can we have just two sports schools for the whole country?

"The problem is that development is a dirty word in Malaysian football, which is run by royalty and politicians who all want short cuts and instant success.

"Hopefully, Rajagopal has shown them the importance of continuity and development and that you need to build the foundation of the house before you build the roof."

Despite his gripes, Shebby still sees cause for optimism for his country's football scene.

"The deal Astro (pay TV operator) signed with FAM for RM120 million ($50.6m) this month is the best thing to happen to Malaysian football. And it happened at the right time.

"We have a talented bunch of players who play attractive football, not the kick and rush of old, and after the Suzuki Cup, fans will want to watch them regularly.

"Personally, I would want to watch the Suzuki Cup stars live if I had the time. I expect attendances to go up by 20-30 per cent.

"The exposure and coverage can only be good for the domestic game."

With the local league receiving a shot in the arm and fans' support for the national team flooding back, it is a special time for Malaysian football.

And the catalyst for this special time is undoubtedly the nation's very own Special One.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


UPDATED - Thursday, Jan 13

FAM Competitions Committee rejects the request from TV rights holder to move match from Saturday to Friday. So what will happen next?


Now that the FAM have a new broadcaster, they seem to have gone into a problem right from the first day of the footballing season.

For the Charity Shield match scheduled for January 29, which is a Saturday, has now been brought forward to Friday, January 28, because the MHL matches on Saturday are scheduled to be telecast live.

And this problem of matches live on Saturday will carry on right till mid March when the MHL ends. Wonder how the football fans react to this..

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I agree with Haresh Deol, on his blog, that people who next to nothing are weighing in on the badminton issue. Well, they think that they are the know al of Malaysian Sports, that they have the solution, that they have the knowledge, that they are the best, that only what they say is the truth.

But in reality these are the very people who are the biggest conmen on the face of the earth as they hoodwink others with their brazen talk, offering solutions that are not their ideas in the first place, and above all use race and religion as an excuse to justify their arguments.

Sitting behind desks, living in the past, thinking that the past crowning glory was only theirs, is just some of their traits as they destroy others with bad mouthing, claiming that others have vested interests when it is they that are the fakes, like the goods in Petaling Street.

If Misbun Sidek wants to go, its his choice, purely his. He should not hold BAM at ransom, period. And after all he has served the country well, and has been rewarded well. Let's leave BAM to make their decisions for either way they will get the brickbats.

An elaborate plan to get of the President is well under way. And maybe Misbun is being used by a certain someone as others weigh in. Let's not go back to 2004 please, as I know enough what transpired then to write a book on badminton.

Saturday, January 08, 2011


This refers to www.tnbmhl.com.my

Having started this website with a hope and a prayer, life has been tough as it has been a journey riddled with roadblocks and sabotage. With virtually no funding, and the last minute pullout by the title sponsors of the MHL - Tenaga Nasional Berhad, due to the fact that the MHF Deputy President had instructed them not to award the website to this administrator.

Efforts were then made to secure other sponsors for the website and we were fortunate that UniKL-TRC and KL Hockey Club agreed to come abroad as partners for this website. And the efforts continued to seek another sponsor and one of the teams agreed initially, on December 18. But on December 31, we were informed by that said club that a key MHF official (not the Deputy President) had told them not to support this website.

So in order to be fair to UniKL-TRC and KLHC, we took the sacrifice to terminate our arrangement with them, hence their banner adverts will be removed so as to signify the end of the working relationship. We would like to make it clear that the termination of the agreement was done not by the clubs, but by the administrators of the website, so as to prevent the key MHF official to take advantage of the situation and punish the teams.

So where now from here? Well without financial support, it is difficult to run the website as it has been run over the past month. We will in no uncertain terms close this website, but things like post match stories (which my dear friends from the media have picked up without even giving us the due credit) will cease. We will update on an irregular basis as it is not viable to do it on a daily basis.

Putting sand in the rice bowl of others seems to be a stand adopted by this key MHF official. But one thing is certain - it is not greed that made us put up this website in the first place. We did it because we love hockey. We did it because we can do things better then you. We did it because putting it simply, you are not able to do it.

So, we will move along, though not on a pace that many of you will like, but stick with us for it is here that you will get some decent coverage and information (if made available) to us. Thanks for your support readers, for without you we are nothing.

Thursday, January 06, 2011


There is no need for the Sports Minister to play the role of a Bollywood hero in trying to resolve the issue of Datuk Misbun Sidek's resignation from the coaching set-up of the Badminton Association of Malaysia. The Minister has far more important issues to look at, if he sticks to his role as the Sports Minister. And besides is he the right person to handle the impasse given the fact that he was once closely associated with Nusa Mahsuri?

Now lets look at the whole perspective objectively, not the way some have made it out to be, by misquoting the BAM President, by coming up with conspiracy theories, by implying that poor management within BAM are the cause, and even getting Misbun's family involved.

Misbun and Dato Lee Chong Wei had confided in me that they wanted to leave BAM some three months ago. So there is really nothing to stop them from doing so as their minds were made up then. There was some talk on the problems they faced within BAM, right from the training program for Chong Wei, administrative matters, interference from a NSC official, right down to commercial issues.

The bottom line is Misbun and Chong Wei had bounced the idea of turning professional a few months ago and maybe they have finalised all the commercial aspects of things and hence though it was the right time to go. So Misbun took the first step and Chong Wei will follow suit, and so will some other players.

Now the question that begged to be asked is, will Misbun and Chong Wei be any less Malaysian should they leave the BAM stable? Nope as they will still have the Malaysian flag on their attire and for all intent and purpose, they will enter as Malaysians for any competitions and are subject to representing the nation in inter team events, when called upon to do so.

Now lets take a look at the commercial aspects, for no doubt Chong Wei commands top dollar in terms for sponsorship. So who gains if Chong Wei opts to leave? Surely attire and equipment sponsors ad BAM were entrapped into signing for their current sponsors through no mistake of the current administration. So why blame BAM for the commercial aspects?

No doubt Chong Wei has to think of his future, and so does Misbun, hence them leaning towards something more financially beneficial is to be expected. That is why I wrote in September that players opting to leave should be given their blessings, and that stand seems to have been adopted by NSC and the Minister and most probably BAM, but not some quarters who want to make a mountain out of a molehill.

If Misbun wants to stay, then he ought to have made it clear in his resignation letter when he had the opportunity. But take a look at the letter and you can see it was not written under duress. So my question now is, did he give sufficient notice as stated in his terms and condition of employment since his letter is dated 31 December 2010 and effective 3 Jan 2011?

Talking about conspiracy theories, it is said that a so called powerful lady is behind this sordid affair to undermine the leadership of BAM, that this lady is also now interfering in the deal with Maybank, thus the delay in announcing the deal. It is also said that a former official of BAM is the culprit behind this new so called fiasco.

In the conversations with Chong Wei and Misbun over their expected departure from the BAM stable in October during the Commonwealth Games, one couldn't but help notice their determination to leave but at the same time they wanted to tie up loose ends, like having the ability to stay afloat for the next couple of years, by planning for the next generation, by looking at how NSC deals with the issue of professionalism - taking the case of Dato Nicol David as an example.

So they ahve though about it and money was the key determining factor, and now Misbun has decided. Will Chong wei follow suit? I sure do hope so and at the same time I hope others to will leave, though not necessarily that the grass is always greener on the other side.

For BAM, I only have this to say, your core business is badminton, so get back to the core business that they have neglected> Leave the politics to the likes of the Minister, for he needs the votes thesedays, not you in BAM.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Absence of Malice

There has been much speculation with regards to the departure of Datuk Misbun Sidek from the Badminton Association of Malaysia.

One tabloid even when on to the extent of stating that the reason was who Ramadan Misbun trains under as the root cause only to deny their own speculation today.

And some of the other dailies are quick to point the finger on Dato James Selvaraj, perhaps taking advantage of the cordial relationship James shares with Razif sidek, hence an opportunity to put two and two together.

But the real reason still remains a mystery to these journalists as they continue to hoodwink their readers and opt not to write the truth for the fear of hurting someone big, someone influential.

I was fortunate that Dato Misbun spent two hours with me on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Games, pouring out his grief and making it crystal clear as to what was wrong with BAM.

And that was followed up with a heart to heart talk with Dato Lee Chong Wei who stated his profound hatred for an individual within BAM.

Now we hear that there is that "special one" who is interfering with the sponsorship deal with Maybank, even to the extent of putting the whole deal into jeopardy.

Let's take a leaf out of the incident involving the current NSC Director General Dato Zolkples Embong and his infamous fight against the late Indra Gunawan leading up to the Busan Asian Games in 2002.
No one is bigger then the sport, it was then decided as BAM let Indra go, so this time around, lets not change reality. If Misbun wants to go, let him go, let Chong Wei go, and lets not read too much into the fine print.

Unless of course BAM blunder and want Chong Wei to repay what they invested in him, as was the case with Roslin Sidek in 2001.

Maybe a new fund can be set up then to raise money for Chong Wei to repay BAM...

Sunday, January 02, 2011


Rather then say I was the one to break this story three months ago, as rightly pointed out by Haresh Deol in his blog FOUL, all I have to say was that ample warning was given to BAM officials by me in September but obviously no one wants to believe someone, who some bloggers and journalist claim to be a has been. Well, read on what I wrote three months ago, and if you want to know what I chatted with Misbun Sidek and Lee Chong Wei at the sidelines of the Commonwealth Games, stay tuned on this blog.

My blog posting in September...


Word has it that several key players in the Malaysian national badminton team are set to leave BAM in the near future.

What is most shocking is that World number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei is said to be one of them and the exodus is expected to begin with Wong Mew Choo after the Asian Games this November.

BAM should not look at this development negatively as it will allow them to pool their resources and start developing new players in order to ensure Malaysia still has world class players.

One lesson can be learnt from Taufik Hidayat who is an independent player, yet he still manages to deliver as evident in the recent World Championships.

So if the likes of Chong Wei and company do part ways with BAM, it should not be looked at negatively as they still represent the country and it helps overcome the financial situation of the national body, who are beholden to the NSC.

Sometimes one wonders who actually runs badminton, or for the matters sports in the country. Time to read the NSC Act 1971, and yes in the words to Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah - you gave birth to a monster way back in the 70's by forming NSC.