Perak Hockey: Changes will be good but the road treacherous

Putting things in the correct perspective should be the priority for newly elected President of Perak Hockey Association Ahmad Sayuti.

The former international that goes on high powered bike rides after retirement from TNB and his duties from keeping goal for his state Perak and Malaysia knows a tough task awaits him ahead.

But the soft spoken yet firm “ Pak Haji” as he is called by friends, is well aware that resistance to change could well come within in his own set up and those he might chose to leave out.

However Sayuti has to be firm and decisive in his drive to make sure Perak Hockey returns to its glory days.

Winning a trophy or two with a collection of players from Klang valley should be a thing of the past for Perak.

The state is blessed with having 7 artificial pitches in various districts, and Sayuti and his team need to expand their wings.

Firstly a domestic calendar needs to be drawn up, with several tournaments to be organised to generate interest in all districts.

For starters Sayuti could initiate the following if not yet in place;

1. Inter District Tournaments for Senior, Under 21, Under 16 and Under 14 ( both men and women)

2. A league in each district with the champions and runners up could then compete in a Perak Champion’s Club Tournament ( with the final being played on the rest day of the Azlan Shah Cup)

3. An Under 18 league for Perak to encourage schools to play Hockey for a longer duration.

Development is key to the success of any state Hockey body.

And as such to standardise the passing on information and skills to the young, several courses, from coaching, umpiring. technical must be held at each district.

And this is where Sayuti could start a revolution by introducing age group development programs ranging from U6, U8, U10, U12,U14,U16.

With say 20 players in each age group, Perak could soon have 1200 players from each of its 10 districts in 6 different age groups.

That will open up coaching positions for at least 120 coaches just at age group alone.

But sorting out the organisation of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the Raja Zara Indoor Tournament is something Sayuti ought you look at in detail.

For starters no one else, but the Perak Hockey Association, should be entrusted to organise the 2 tournaments.

All this talk that the Raja Ashman Academy is to organise the 2 tournaments should be a thing of the past.

The sole responsibility and accountability towards organising these two tournaments lies with Sayuti and his team.

And this is where Sayuti could and should make a difference in accountability, transparency and good governance.

Sayuti needs to appoint professionals to assist him in running the events, Ex international from Perak who are knowledgable and experts in certain fields will surely step forward to help the ex team mate and the state.

Another issue that Sayuti needs to carefully thread is the appointment of the Secretary and respective Chairperson of Sub Committees.

Perak has a unique tradition, for better or worse, to appoint the Secretary.

And Sayuti needs to make the right choice, putting aside sentiments and pick someone who will walk alongside him and not a back stabber.

I will be failing in my duty to acknowledge the sacrifice and honesty of Dato Abdul Rahim Mat Arif,

Rahim was being pitted by certain individuals to take on Sayuti at the very last minute.

But Rahim, the ever gentleman he has been since my acquaintance with him dating to 1987, stood firm and withdrew, putting his faith in Sayuti.

And Rahim can now play the role of an elder statesman, allowing changes to take place, preventing manipulators from creating a ruckus.

Rahim s passionate about the sport, but he often allows others to dictate things, thus many things went awry under him.

But he is clean, dedicated and above all lives the sport, and that is what matters.

All the best Sayuti, the ride will be hard and treacherous and Rahim has to ride shotgun alongside him.

If not Perak Hockey will only go one way – to its lowest .