Remember Knapp?

Many may not recall him but he was the most the most successful foreign Hockey coach in Malaysia.
Volker Knapp who coached Malaysia from 1995 to 1998 is in Malaysia for a 3 week holiday with his Wife and 3 kids.

Knapp took Malaysia to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and later to the 1998 Utrecht World Cup.

Malaysia had not qualified for the World Cup since 1982 and Knapp was successful through the qualifiers held in Bukit Jalil in 1997.

The German was a soft spoken personality who often was chided by the media then, one even calling him a turkey during the Azlan Shah Cup as there were doubts in his coaching ability.

But Knapp, said to be the understudy of Paul Lissek was a brilliant motivator as against odds he managed to take Malaysia to top events like the Olympics and World Cup.

” I enjoyed my stint here in Malaysia but realised that a job as a coach did not suit me,” said Knapp who returned to Germany in 1999 and coached a club for a year before giving up Hockey altogether.

” It’s funny that only the coach gets blamed or sacked when a team fails to do well, but that’s what sports is all about,

” Life was tough as a coach, the demands and expectations really high. A pressure cooker situation all the time.

” But I never had any regrets about my stint in Malaysia despite all the critics and honestly fell in love with this country.

” That is why I often come here for holidays, and my kids call this paradise.”

Knapp was somewhat surprised to find out that Malaysia still depended on foreign expertise in hockey.

” Even back then you had some good coaches and I could tell that some players under me will be good coaches in the future,” added Knapp.

” I think Stephen ( van Huizen) is a good choice to handle the team as he has good tactical knowledge and reads the game well.”

Knapp hopes to catch up with some of his former charges during his stay here.

The 54 year old however wants his family to explore the sandy beaches of Malaysia first.

Those wishing to get in touch with Knapp can contact this blogger.