Aftermath of a disastrous failure – “Imminent need for new blood in Malaysian Hockey”!!!

By; V M Chandran

In London on the 2nd and 3rd of November, our hockey boys and officials had to put “their tails between their legs” and walk ashamed as they were thrashed 9-3 aggregate over 2 legs for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic hockey qualifiers. Sayonara! 2020 Tokyo. Just too far for Malaysian hockey.

In the words of former Malaysian hockey vice-captain, Maninderjit Singh, popularly known as Mike, who is a regular commentator of World Hockey and in particular Malaysian hockey, we have missed the Olympic for 20 years. Yes! At least one generation of players have completely missed out and this can be dubbed as ” the missing Malaysian hockey Olympic generation”.

MHC is an alagamate of the former MHF and MWHF. Today the world body FIH want a single body so that there is no gender discrimination in governing field hockey. This is a positive thing but endeavouring to get ladies’ involvement for overall administration is not an easy task barring a few exceptions. This scenario is a common bureaucratic aspect in most Asian countries. The administration of hockey is riddled with bias or rather just fitting a candidate for window dressing irrespective of whether the person can do the job.

Doing the job? This is the key question that arises with regards to current Office Bearers and the Executive Board. How to you measure their success? Obviously there are Objective and Subjective yardsticks including taking account of the targets that they themselves have set.

On an Objective level, lets search for outcomes:

1. Men and women failed to qualify for 2016 and 2020 Olympics.

2. Men 2nd last in 2018 Workd Cup when target was to be top 8 of the 16 teams

3. Men at 2018 Commonwealth Games, placed 5th when target was top 3.

4. Men at 2018 Asian Games, a commendable Silver when target was Gold

5.Did not qualify for 2016 Junior World Cup.

6.Participated in 2016 Junior World Cup as a ” backdoor” entry. Placed 11th when target was top 8.

7. Home grown annual international tournaments ie Raja Azlan Shah Trophy and Sultan Johor Cup for Juniors, in the last 4 years we were unable to engrave our name as Champions.

8. Women failed to enter the final in 2017 SEA Games Indoor hockey.

9. Women failed to enter semi finals in 2018 Asian Games, which was the target.

10. National hockey league has deteriorated to only 8 teams participating.

11. National Junior league has also deteriorated to 14 teams when it used to have 30 teams. The Division 2 has been cancelled.

12. Mounting debts where funds are being circulated from their original purpose to fulfill urgent needs.

The unachievable targets in results and the falling numbers in Competition and even in attendance with mounting debts seem to reflect the “decaying” nature of MHC. This is a reflection that the state of affairs in Malaysian hockey is in a crictical diabolical stage.

Now lets look at the other areas which are more subjective in nature.

1. The 1MAS Development programme which was financed by the PMO came to an abrupt end with the exhaustion of funds. No concrete efforts were taken to find other sources of funding the programme.

There was no sustainability in the Development programme.

2. The Coaching Committee seem to have gone into “hibernation”. They lack the enthusiasm to upgrade standards of coaching among the locals and have not taken advantage of sending them to FIH courses.

3. MHC Competition Committee has lost the shine to organise scintillating tournaments for the National League and Tun Razak. Its being done because it was done in the past. Its not marketed to draw the crowd to support the game. The shine of these tournaments are completely jaded. Hockey support at the “terraces” is of the past.

Similarly most of the other Committees seem to face the same fate. The full time employed staff seem to give some resemblance that some forms of activities are going on in MHC.

It would be very difficult to accuse the Office Bearers that they are not doing their job. However what is symptomatic is the lack of passionate commitment for the overall management of hockey in the country. Things do not seem to represent a vibrant purposeful mood, as comments made were taken to be negative and commentators were threatened with legal actions. Sponsors and media were whispered to, not to bring certain people on board. Such “backbiting” is a common feature and the focus for proper management has been compromised. Equally there is great concern for unnecessary protocol that bears unwarranted hassle to organising events.

The list can continue but it serves no purpose in “flogging a death horse”. The Affiliates have to recognize that the administration of Malaysian Hockey needs the “Right person with the Right qualification to undertake the Right job”. There are a number of good personalities who can transform Malaysian hockey. However the Affiliates need to give such people the room to bring a working team to get a proper roadmap to glorify Malaysian hockey. If pettiness and self glorification exercise prevails among Affiliates then the Affiliates must realise they are placing the last few nails in the coffin for the demise of Malaysian hockey.

The Affiliates must give a chance for fresh blood to rejuvenate Malaysian hockey. The upcoming elections gives the opportunity and they “must not miss the boat”.

Nov.2019

Acknowledgment.

Some aspects of this article has been extracted from Maninderjit Singh’s article ” Failure is not an option”.