Thursday, September 19, 2013


The expected exodus of coaches from the Badminton Association of Malaysia has begun with the resignation of singles Chief Coach Rashid Sidek today.

Rashid who has been with BAM for the past 10 years submitted his one month notice to BAM.

"The time has come for me to go. I am not one who likes to create or be involved in controversies', said Rashid.

"It is now the policy of BAM to disregard coaches and they have gone on record to say that coaches are not important.

"Thus there is no necessity for me to be in BAM as the new structure places more importance on players and Tan Aik Mong says that coaches are not vital in his plans."

It is learnt that Rashid is also peeved at the decisions taken by Aik Mong and Razif Sidek as they act without consultation and make arbitrary decisions without really understanding the situation.

More are expected to follow Rashid out of the door soon and BAM are expected to be left in the lurch looking for replacements.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Malaysia won the 41st edition of the Merdeka Tournament by defeating Myanmar 2—0 at the Darulmakmur Stadium tonight.

The scoreline was not a reflection of Malaysia’s dominance as they created many chances throught out the match but could not finish.

The win however was more satisfying given that the nation celebrates Malaysia Day on Monday. And the fans created a terrific atmosphere, refusing to budge from their seats despite the heavens opening up at halftime.

Malaysia last won the trophy in 2007. Despite making the final in 2008, the last time the Merdeka Tournament was staged, Malaysia lost 6-5 on penalties to Vietnam.

Some 25,000 fans thronged the stadium to provide the encouragement to the Malaysian team, with Ultras Malaya singing on the top of their voices throughout the match.

In somewhat a strange strategy, coach Ong kim Swee opted to play A. Tamil Arasu in a more defensive midfield role with Md Rozaimi Ab Rahman acting as a lone striker with Wan Zack Haikal aiding him as a back up striker.

That gave Myanmar the upper hand in midfield as Kyi Lin, Kyaw Zayar win and Kyaw ko Ko dominated the Malaysian central midfield of Junior Edstal and Mohd Irfan Fazail.

Malaysia had a great opportunity to go ahead in the second minute but A. Thamil Arasu somehow got the ball entangled in between his legs and the opportunity was squandered.

With Myanmar playing a high defence, Malaysia opted to catch them on the break and were nearly successful a couple of times. And off such and situation, the ball fell to Junior Edlstal who however muffed the chance, shooting wide from 15 meters with the Myanmar defence in disarray.

Malaysia made a tactical change, opting for a five-man midfield after 20 minutes and it paid dividends.

In the 28th minute Malaysia took the lead. Wan Zack Haikal broke through on the right and his attempt was only parried by Myanmar keeper Pyaye Phyo Aungonto the path of Md Rozaimi Rahman who had the simplest of tasks of tapping into goal, much to the joy of the fans.

Myanmar nearly drew level in the second minute of time added on as Kyi Lin created space and let fly a shot that sailed dangerously close at the far post.

Wan Zack could have doubled the lead in the 56th minute after being put through by Thamil but his shot found the side netting.

Myanmar came close in the 60th minute with Kyaw Ko ko shooting into the side netting after being put through by Kyi Lin.

Malaysia made their first substitution in the 63rd minute, replacing goal scorer Rozaimi with S. Sivanesan, thus pushing Thamil Arasu into a more attacking role.

And that gave Malaysia fresh impetus as they attacked relentlessly with Thamil Arasu forcing keeper Phyo Aung to use his legs to thwart an attempt in the 68th minute.

In the 75th minute, Irfan played a defence splitting pass to Wan Zack, whose attempt was deflected out by David Htan. From the ensuing corner Mohd Fadhli Shas rocked the bar with his header and Malaysia were denied yet again by the woodwork.

And when Junior was put through three minutes into stoppage time, he made sure that this time no woodwork will stand in between him as he sent a delightful shot into the far corner, thus sealing the tile for Malaysia.

And when the final whistle went, the nation rejoiced at Kim Swee’s boys showed that they have arrived on the big stage.

Friday, September 13, 2013



Former Nigeria, South Africa and Japan coachPhilippe Troussier is the leading candidate to assume the role as the Malaysian national coach should current coach Dato K. Rajagobal fails to meet the targets set by the Football Association of Malaysia.
But he is not the only top notch coach who is bidding to lead Harimau Malaysia as also in the race is former Singapore coach Radojko Avramović and Englishman BobHoughton who was most recently the head coach of India. His career has spanned over 30 years and 10 different countries


Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Jaafar seems to be getting one bad news to another for the past week.
First it was when squash lost its bid to be included into the 2020 Olympics, beaten into third spot by eventual winner Wrestling and Baseball/Softball who put in a joint bid.
Imran was a prime supporter for the inclusion of squash but ironically his Vice President at OCM, Dato Low Beng Choo presented the case for the inclusion of Baseball/Squash at the International Olympic Council General assembly.
The second blow for Tunku Imran came at the elections of the International Olympic Committee where he was defeated in the first round of voting for a seat in the Executive Board that was vacated by Singapore’s Ng Ser Miang whose eight-year tearm came to an end.
Imran was out-voted by Canada’s Dick Pound and 1976 Montreal Olympic rowing bronze medallist Anita DeFrantz of United States of America. She went on to beat Pound, former President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, by one just one, polling 41 to his 40.
Then news filtered in that the members of the Commonwealth Games Federation have initiated a campaign to call for an Extra Ordinary Meeting of the CGF to re-look the proposed shifting of the CGF Headquarters from London to Kuala Lumpur.
This comes in wake of the failed attempt at the CGF Assembly where members unanimously opposed the decision that was conveyed to them as a “fait accompli” prior to consulting the member states in General Assembly, which is the supreme policy-making organ of the CGF.
As such, this decision taken by the CGF was deemed not to be in keeping with the rules of procedures and modalities of functioning of the CGF and a stay of such decisions was unanimously voted by the General Assembly, until an Extra Ordinary General Assembly meeting is convened in the near future to further discuss the issue.
And such a move to convey an EGM will surely be news that Imran could well rue in a week where all has gone wrong. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Malaysia oozed class as they hammered Thailand 3-0 in their final preliminary round match at the Darulmakmur Stadium in Kuantan.

And with Myanmar defeating Singapore 2-0 in another match played at the Temerloh Stadium, they will take on Malaysia in what will be an intriguing clash between two teams who have stood out in the 41st Pestabola Merdeka.

Malaysia made several changes to their starting line but key players Wan Zack Haikal and A. Thamil Arasu were left out due to injury and suspension respectively. Both are however expected back for the final on Saturday.

Coach Ong Kim Swee opted to play mostly players who were with him in Europe with three exceptions in T.Reuben, S.Sivanesan and Mohd Zubir Mohd Azmi.

“It was a good performance and it has given me a selection headache ahead of Saturday’s final. But it is a welcomed headache and I was impressed by the determination of the players fielded for the first time who wanted to prove they were worthy of a place in the starting XI,” said Kim Swee.

“We moved the ball well and I must reiterate that I pick players on their overall contribution to the team and not just because they score goals or are big names”

The two teams started of slowly, feeling each other up, with play confined mostly to the midfield area. But as minutes ticked away, Malaysia started showing more cohesion despite making as much as seven changes to their starting line-up.

Malaysia took the lead in the 11th minute through Md Nasir Basharuddin whose shot from the edge of the box sailed through a sea of legs into goal catching Thailand keeper Arikhan Same unsighted.

Thailand had a golden chance to draw level in the 23rd minute when Pinyo Inpinit burst through on the right but Malaysian custodian Mohd Izham Tarmizi pulled off a fine save, diving full length to send the ball around the post.

S. Sivanesan burst through the middle in the 25th minute but with only the Thai keeper top beat, he balloned his shot over the bar.

Sivanesan atoned for his miss by setting up the second goal as he beat the offside trap and crossed to Md Rozaimi Ab Rahman who had the simplest of tasks to guide the ball into goal with Same beaten to give Malaysia a 2-0 lead in the 27th minute.

Though Thailand made several inroads in the second half, they only came close in the 65th minute when they were awarded a free kick at the edge of the penalty box. However the Malaysian wall stood firm to deny Kasidech Wattayawong.

Off a fast counter in the 80th minute, Rozaimi broke through and unleasshed a shot that had goal written all over it with Arikhan beaten all the way and Malaysia had a 3-0 lead, thus pulling Myanmar into the final with them.

The goals for Myanmar were scored by Kyaw Ko Ko in the 14th minute and 90th minutes. Though both Myanmar and Thailand finished with four points, Myanmar sneaked through on goal difference.

Monday, September 09, 2013


Malaysia booked a place in the final of the 41st Merdeka Tournament with a come from behind 2-1 win over Myanmar at the Darulmakmur Stadium in Kuantan.

The win gives Malaysia six points with their opponents on Wednesday, Thailand on four points, courtesy of their 1-0 win over Singapore in an earlier match.

It was a workmanlike performance by the Malaysian team as they fought tooth and nail against a Myanmar side that were guilty of niggling fouls troughtout the match. Malaysia could have won more confortably had they taken the chances they created.

“It was the fighting spirit of the players that made the difference. To be honest after missing so many chances in the first 45 minutes, I too started having doubts that we could claw our way back into the game,” said coach ong Kim swee.

“But if one takes a look at our statitics, it is obvious that we create some 20 odd chances but only manage to score one or two goals.

“It was a hard fought match and now that we are in the final, I will make several changes to the line-up for the match against Thailand. There are a lot of tired legs out there and they need a break.”

Malaysia made two changes to their starting line up, preferring to field Mohammad Nazmi Faiz and Mohd Azrif Nasrulhaq instead of S.Sivanesan and T.Reuben respectively.

The inclusion of Nazmi instead of Sivanesan was expected as the former had given a good account of himself when fielded in the last 20 minutes of the match against Singapore.

As for Reuben, he looked jaded and was slow on the turn in the same match, thus the decision by Kim Swee to play Azrif.

It was Myanmar that almost drew first blood in the 15th minute as a free kick taken by Kyaw Zayar Win was heading into the top lefthand corner but was turned around the post by Malaysian keeper Mohd Izham Tarmizi for a fruitless corner.

Malaysian had a glorious chance to go ahead two minutes later as Md Fadhli Shas met a downward header from Irfan Fazail but skied his shot with only Myanmar keeper Pyaye Phyo Aung to beat.

In the 19th minute Myanmar were saved by the woodwork as Wan Zack Haikal’s thunderous free kick from 35 meters out rocked the crossbar with Phyo Aung completely beaten.

Wan Zack beat the offside trap in the 23rd minute and burst through the middle but Phyo Aung pulled of a brilliant save to turn the ball around the post, a golden chance squandered.

Myanmar punished Malaysia and took a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute as Nay Lin Tun’s header sailed into goal off a corner taken by Zayar Win. The header crept into goal as Izhmam could only palm it into goal as Mohd Zubir Mohd azmi stood watch.

Barely two minutes later, Zayar Win, the playmaker for Myanmar limped off with a calf strain and was replaced by David Htan but Myanmar held on till halftime for a 1-0 lead.

Malaysia made a double substitution within the space of a minute, bringing on Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim and Saiful Ridhuwan Selamat in place of Nazmi Faiz and D. Saarvindran respectively.

And that changed the game as in the 64th minute Wan Zack floated in a free kick that Junior Eldstal headed across the goal, giving skipper Mohd Irfan Fazail the easiest of task of guiding the ball into an unguarded goal with Phyo Aung caught in no man’s land.

Malaysia then dominated play for the next ten minutes as Wan Zack tested Phyo Aung with another of his trademark freekicks that the Myanmar custodian could only parry away. Junior Eldstal then hit the upright in the 75th minute, denied by the woodwork for the second successive match.

Wan Zack made no mistake from a freekick from the edge of the box, awarded after Thamil Arasu was fouled, the ball sailing into the top left hand corner, giving Malaysia a well deserved lead in the 78th minute.

And Myanmar suffered further agony as Kyi Lin was sent off deep into injury time, for a second bookable offence.

Sunday, September 08, 2013


Revenge is least on the mind of Harimau Muda A coach Ong Kim Swee as his team prepares to take on Myanmar in their second match of the 41st Merdeka Tournament the Darulmakmur Stadium in Kuantan tomorrow night.
For all Kim Swee wants is a decent performance from his charges and three points that will move them closer to a place in Saturday’s final.
The soft spoken coach was responding to questions from the Media who wanted to know if revenge was the key word since Myanmar had defeated Malaysia 2-1 last year in the AFC Under 22 Asian Cup
“Revenge to me is a bad word. We should not be to focused on that but in turn play well to get a positive result,” said Kim Swee at a pre match press conference.
“We need to take positives from the defeat and learn from it. Let us not get worked up in gaining revenge for we must also look ahead as we will also face Myanmar in the Sea Games this December.
“This Myanmar team is far better then the side we faced last year so I expect a closer match. They have the advantage of having trained together as a team while we are in a transition period as we only have been together for a week.”
Kim Swee was particularly impressed by the performances of Kyaw Zayar Win, Kyi Lin and Kyaw Ko Ko whom he deemed as potential match winners and the players who are likely to give the most problems to the Malaysian team.
“Zayar Win has good vision and is their playmaker while Kyi Lin has good dribbling skills and eliminates opposing defenders well. As for Ko Ko, he is fast with the ball and can cause damage if left unchecked,” said Kim Swee.
He added that changes are likely in his team line-up against Myanmar and did not discount the possibility of even playing a different tactical game.
“What we have to realise is that we need to be mentally strong in this clash and not make mistakes in defence that will not go unpunished,” said Kim Swee.
“While I am happy with the overall performance of the players against Singapore, that is not a true reflection of our ability as we can play better. The important thing is that the players too realise this and I am confident they will raise their level of play.”
While the coach sounded optimistic, Wan Zack Haikal, who missed a penalty against Singapore, was not too happy with his performance in the match.
“I am sorry for missing the penalty but that did not affect my performance. I felt that overall I did not play as well as I am capable off and vow to put up a better performance against Myanmar,” said Wan Zack.
“ We must be wary of the tactical approach of the Myanmar side as they play a tight game both in midfield and defence.”
Meanwhile Junior Eldstal who made his Harimau Muda A debut in the match against Singapore is looking forward to strutting his stuff against Myanmar.
“ Myanmar are a good side from what I saw against Thailand and I believe they will come out with guns blazing against us,” said Eldstal who was denied a goal by the bar in the match against Singapore.
“Football is a team sport and we need to work together to achieve results. I am capable of playing better and hopefully with a dry pitch we can hold our own against Myanmar.”

Saturday, September 07, 2013


Malaysia opened the campaign in the 41stMerdeka Tournament by carving out a 1-0 win over traditional rivals Singapore at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan.
Despite a clinical display, Malaysia failed to make use of the chances they created against a side they had defeated 3-1 in the 2007 Merdeka Tournament.
The Malaysia squad received a boost when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak spared time to meet the players in the dressing room before the match.
But once on the pitch, the team showed the were all business and they dominated the match but were guilty of squandering the chances, even to the extent of missing a penalty and taking advantage of the fact that Singapore played with a player less for most of the second half.
The match was played in a steady drizzle and both teams found it difficult to adapt to the heavy pitch conditions.
Singapore adapted well to the conditions as Quak Jun Yi forced Malaysian keeper Md Izham Tarmizi into a diving save as early as the second minute. And in the 7th minute, Quak ghosted past T.Reuben but failed to connect much to the relief of the Malaysian defence.
That awoke Malaysia from their slumber as they moved the ball onto both flanks and pumped in crosses. Skipper Mohd Irfan Fazail then Singapore custodian Muhammd Syazwan Buhairi with a free kick from 30 meters out which was punched to safety in the 14th minute.
Singapore nearly took the lead a minute into injury time as Muhammad Khairul Nizam burst through the middle but Izham was equal to the task as he palmed the ball out for a fruitless corner.
Malaysia came out looking refreshed and took a minute to go 1-0 ahead as Thamil Arasu burst through the left and coolly slotted the ball past an onrushing Syazwan in the 46thminute.
Malaysia was awarded a penalty in the 55th minute and Singapore reduced to 10 men, as Muhammad Afiq Yunos was red carded for handball. But Wan Zack Haikal’s attempt was a tame one and easily saved by Syazwan.
Malaysia were denied yet again in the 83rd minute as a good buildup involving Thamil Arasu, Wan Zack and Fadhli Shas saw the ball played to Putera Nadher Amarahan whose shot bounced off the upright with Syazwan beaten all the way.
Though Malaysia tried to add a second, they were thwarted with poor finishing and superb goalkeeping by Syazwan.