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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

World class diving platforms???

Certainly not - but at least our national divers can jump off safer platforms from now on.

Pic taken from The Malay Mail

We have world class divers but it's a pity that for months they had to practice in dangerous conditions - one slip and they could have said goodbye to their careers...

Thankfully all that are now matters of the past but there remains one thing. The diving platforms do not meet the international standard for syncronised diving set by world aquatic body FINA.

pic taken from

Follow the series of stories carried by The Malay Mail here, here, and here.

Merdeka Board Stadium (MSB) chairman Wan Nor Azninah Zaniby Wan Hashim, who previously was ever willing to talk, doesn't want to talk. 

Among her lines which humoured me before were - "Our government has no money" and "If The Malay Mail gives us money, we'll start work immediately".... hmmmm....

Anyway here's the latest from this episode. 

I wonder when will our synchonised divers be able to practice on international standard platforms - locally!

Bare in mind with the current situation, yet, Pandalela Rinong and Leong Mun Yee are already world class acts. Maybe they can be better... Maybe. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Air Asia dumbfounded (full version)

Here's what never made print.

IT is not the national team that will represent Malaysia at the FHE Cup in Perth later this week. Hence there is nothing wrong in entering a team as ‘Malaysia Air Asia’.

Those were the words of 1 MAS Project Director Lim Chiow Chuan when asked why such a team was entered.

“We are sending a development team and I don’t see any issue with this. We arranged participation for this tournament by ourselves (1 MAS),” said Chiow Chuan.

The matter was first brought to attention by former Mailsport reporter SS Dhaliwal in his blog. There it was revealed that the 1 MAS Programme still had to fork out approximately RM200 per ticket.

According to Chiow Chuan 1 MAS had wrote to Air Asia X, the long distance arm of low cost carrier Air Asia, requesting for sponsorship. The parties came to an understanding to enter a team as the above mentioned name in return for sponsorship of travel.

“They (Air Asia) wanted a return of investment and we agreed to use Air Asia in the team name. I don’t have to go into the details of the agreement,” added Chiow Chuan.

Entry into any foreign tournament comes under the purview of the Malaysian Hockey Federation. The Sports Development Act is clear on the usage of the wording Malaysia. One cannot commercialise the country’s name as they fit.

When pointed this fact, Chiow Chuan insisted that there is no issue with this and instead drew to the attention that such practice was common among club teams in Australia.

What he failed to realise is that such teams do not use the national flag of Australia. The team entered in the FHE Cup will use the Jalur Gemilang, as shown in the tournament’s official website.

This is not the first time such a situation had occurred. The national Under-18 team was entered as ‘Malaysia Air Asia’ for the Surjit Memorial Trophy in Punjab in 2009.

The ‘Malaysia Air Asia’ team will fly to Perth tonight (Tuesday) and will play a series of matches during the three-day tournament starting from Nov 25.

Air Asia’s response.

AIR Asia Commercial Director Jasmine Lee is in the dark over any deal to sponsor the 1 MAS Programme boys for the FHE Cup in Australia later this week.

When contacted, she was surprised that ‘Malaysia Air Asia’ been used for the tournament. She wasn’t aware that a deal with 1 MAS Programme had been struck.

“I can say officially that there is no such deal. This is the first time I’m hearing of it,” said Jasmine.

“All commercial matter involving sports have to go through my department. I’ve checked with the Air Asia X branch and Group CEO’s office. No one is in the know of any sponsorship with 1 MAS.”

Jasmine also added that it is not a norm for a company’s name to be used as the team name, more so one that is representing Malaysia.

“It is only when we (Air Asia) are title sponsors that our name appears, like the Air Asia Asean Basketball League (ABL). Otherwise it is usually just the logo on the attire,” she added.

“I will have to call the Malaysian Hockey Federation and clarify the matter.”

Jasmine highlighted the fact that Air Asia sponsors the Philippines Patriots in ABL but Air Asia’s branding in not on the team name. According to her, such a move is not part of the airlines’ policy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Air Asia dumbfounded

How is it that Air Asia's commercial department know nothing about 'Malaysia Air Asia' being entered into a Under-16 hockey tournament in Australia?

Here's a story that will probably never make print. Why? - go do the maths yourself.

pics taken from

It was first reported by SS Dhaliwal here. I merely got response from the low cost carrier and spoke to 1 Mas project director Lim Chiow Chuan. 

(pls read the link above before proceeding)

Malaysia Air Asia has been entered for the FHE Cup in Perth this weekend. Chiow Chuan insists this is not a national team. Then why use the national flag and create a misconception?

Anyway what puzzled me is the response from Air Asia. I had a pleasant conversation with their Commercial Director Jasmine Lee, who was very accommodating to me.

“I can say officially that there is no such deal. This is the first time I’m hearing of it,” she said
“All commercial matters involving sports have to go through my department. I’ve checked with the Air Asia X branch and Group CEO’s office. No one is in the know of any sponsorship with 1 MAS.”

Jasmine also added that it is not a norm for a company’s name to be used as the team name, more so one that is representing Malaysia.

“It is only when we (Air Asia) are title sponsors that our name appears, like the Air Asia Asean Basketball League (ABL). Otherwise it is usually just the logo on the attire,” she added.

Anyone care to explain what's going on with 1 Mas here?

Anyway why bother, we live in a world where money talks bullshit walks. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Malaysian 'fans' expect too much

pic taken from

So it's already well reported that Malaysia lost in the Olympic Qualifiers group match last night.

Read here and here for that. Simply put, fatigue played a role too.

However, some fans are just waiting to criticise the team for this and that - mind you these are fans who had just jumped onto the bandwagon, and before the SEA Games probably only knew Safee Sali and Khairul Fahmi Che Mat.

Had a conversation with one yesterday. One who watched the entire match, while I only saw bits of it due to other commitments.

Anyway this one is for you!

I was told Malaysia played badly, couldn't string passes together, couldn't hold the ball at all... in short a disappointment. All this I was told in comparison to how they played against Indonesia at the SEA Games final.

When i tried to explained things, there wasn't a healthy debate. Instead, I was told I couldn't talk because I didn't see the full game. Well now I have. Ready? - anyway my side remains unchanged.

Don't get me wrong please, I'm not defending Ong Kim Swee or Harimau Malaya. Just stating facts and opinion.

First of all we shouldn't be expecting instant success - to which i was told at least we should be able to pass the ball well. Granted Harimau Malaya do not have the best of passing.

Since Malaysia won the Asean Cup last year, interest in the national team has been peaking. Sadly, people want the Tigers to suddenly have fluid moves and be entertaining. Cannot la!

Against Indonesia, it was a regional battle. It is a much easier battle compared to Syria. We have moved from competing in SEA to the Asian stage. We cannot be expecting too much. Progress has to be step by step.

Btw FIFA World Rankings put Syria at 115 while Malaysia is at 151. Ok that's for senior sides but at least it can serve as an indicator.

The boys were tired. You can't play your best barely 48hours after playing a final that went into extra time and then penalties. Even European clubs and nations don't do that. But yet you expect Malaysia to play the same level in both matches, and against stronger opponents?

Okay one last thing. Since you at the very least expect the same type of passing? Think of this - when Manchested United played Chelsea they dominated the match with excellent passing. Yet when they played Barcelona in the Champions League final, I hate to admit this but they were totally outclassed, couldn't get their passes right, etc.

Same difference!

Yet, even with all the above said words I doubt it will be accepted by some. Well I'm not interested in a debate anymore. Have said what I wanted to say.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In the shadows

It seems that after Malaysia won the SEA Games football final - everything else during the Games didn't matter

No one cared about the other gold medals won. Why? The football medal was the mother of all gold medals.

While many 'worship' the team, it must be noted that the 11 men on the field was merely another contributor to Malaysia's gold medal tally. Btw anyone took interest in medals tally after 'that' gold medal? Nope! I for one didn't hear anyone talk about it.

 Here's the medal tally 

I feel for the other 58 medals contributor. Suddenly their achievement didn't matter to most outside their respective sports. 

One athlete contacted me asking if it was true the footballers were getting RM30,000 each for their effort, while the rest are only getting RM 10,000.

Yes, they are getting RM30,000 for each member of the team. However, it is from the FA of Malaysia itself and not the Government or National Sport Council (NSC). I hope the players don't get spoilt though.

I long for the day Malaysian football reach greater heights. The SEA Games to me is just a stepping stone - not goal itself. Being best in the region should be nothing great - considering we have more resources than most countries in South East Asia. 

Because our football has been in the dumps before 2009, this SEA Games is a big achievement. 

Because so the plight of our 4x400m relay team is quickly forgotten. I hope sincerely hope the culprits for their medal bungle are made known.

Pic taken from NST

Food for thought : Why is that winning the football gold medal in Olympics seen as just another gold medal and not much hype? but for the SEA Games it is everything.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Indonesia v Malaysia - the ugly truth

I'll have to admit I never gave Malaysia a chance of defending their SEA Games title. Not often am I glad to be proven wrong but this time I'm more than DELIGHTED...

However, this victory has been marred by the death of two Indonesian fans with several others injured. While our papers will be filled with the young Tigers' moments of glory, it must not be forgotten that as much as football is a beautiful game it can be an ugly game too. Those two did not have to lose their lives.

Read here on the death of Reno and an unidentified victim.

It's has been said that keys to the ambulance were lost. The Jakarta Globe reported the ambulance, carrying both the bodies, could not get out of the stadium due to the crowd and cars. I hope the Indonesian press highlight and get a response to this.

Read here for Mazidul Akmal Sidik's version of what's going on in Indonesia.

For the Malaysian team, all work begins from here. Where do we go next? 
We have proven that we are the best football side in the region at this level yet again. Now we need to build on this and dominate the region. The Tigers had won the Asean Cup last year but Singapore raised questions to our strength - Let's go and defend the Cup next year. 

Back to the match, it was largely disappointing, unlike what Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told TV3. Ong Kim Swee's boys did good to create chances but finishing was lacking.

They must forget about this victory and concentrate for the 2012 Olympic qualifying group match against Syria on Wednesday. While qualifying  may be an arduous task, a good performance is needed to move forward.

Dear Kim Swee, please drop Ahmad Fakri Saarani for he could have cost Malaysia the SEA Games gold medal. Not only did he miss several sitters but also missed a penalty that added nerves to us Malaysians. Certainly the leading candidate for the worst player of the match 'award'.

On a side note it was good seeing Malaysians from all walks of life cheering on the young Tigers on. My twitter timeline was filled with updates of the match. Even to the penalty kicks. It's 3.53am now and I still see tweets regarding the match. Who says we no longer care of our local sports scene?

Anyone noticed the empty stands at the Gelora Bung Karno after the final whistle? At least no uncivillised lot was booing the national anthem of another country - like the Indonesian fans had done to Malaysia in various sports during the Games.

eh stop scratching your balls la. Not in public at least

Food for thought : Why is it that the very same people who claim there is no interest in local sports taking interest of it on social sites? 

I'm dumbfounded on this. Anyone?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Malaysia v Indonesia (Nov 21)

oh no it's Paul at his best. Eh wait didn't Paul die already?

Anyway lets all hope the above is not how the SEA Games football final ends up.

It promises to be a cracker - both on and off the field - for both good and bad reasons.

So Gelora Bung Karno will be hostile as usual - boing the Negaraku, insulting our players and fans, showing vulgar signs and perhaps also threatening the safety of Malaysians. 

Unruly lot? Yes. Are we any better? Nope!

This brings me back to the Pre-World Cup qualifiers we had not too long ago where we played Singapore. The return leg was at Bukit Jalil. While Singapore's national anthem was being played, Malaysian fans, not all i must say, booed and insulted Singapore.

After Singapore had progressed on aggregate, Singapore fans were held back for more than an hour fearing their safety may be compromised had they been allowed to leave early. In fact there we a certain group of fans throwing all sorts of insults and threatening to burn them as they walk out of the stadium. 

So why is it that many are talking about our national anthem being booed? Malaysia does it too. 

Btw I'm curious as to how the players will be transported to the stadium tomorrow. Amoured tankers again? - ala the Asean Cup 2010 final.

One thing for sure should Malaysia win, we'll all have a story to tell.

Go get em' Tigers

Saturday, November 19, 2011

.....and it can only get Worst

I just received a text from Mazidul Akmal Sidik, referring me to his blog.

Some 1300 SEA Games volunteers were told by SMS that their services were no longer required despite having a contract till Nov 22. - some400 took matters into their own hands and gathered in front of the media centre.

Now the entire SEA knows - unless of course they've been living in timbuktu and have no access to what's happening around.

This called for the presence of security forces around Media Centre to prevent any unruly behaviour. 

They now demand to be paid in full and for the Games committee to be transparent.... or else they will gather in front of the media centre again.

Despite many wanting to forget this Games, it will be the most remembered - for all the wrong reasons that is. 
Besides basic facilities, the fundamentals as host is missing. 

1. A Malaysian photographer not allowed into athletes area for aquatics - when it has not been an issue previusly. Read it here - there's more to it.
2. Mix up of flag as seen here.
3. Fans disrespecting our Negaraku. - well honestly we deserved this. Malaysian fans booed Singapore's national anthem during the pre-World Cup qualifying match in Bukit Jalil not too long ago.
4. Stadium emcee taking the mic to cheer on Indonesia against Malaysia - now that's a first. No class!

*all this are based on what I heard from my fellow members of the Media who are in either Palembang or Jakarta, frustrated and shocked.

My guess is Indonesia can dream of hosting a sport bigger then the SEA Games as they have failed to showcase capability during this regional games.

On a side note, cheer Malaysia on later at 5pm when we play Myanmar for a place in the SEA Games football final.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blame Rajemah, NSC and OCM


So Karim Ibrahim says he and MAAU are not to be blamed for the S. Kannathasan, P. Yuvaaraj, Schzuan Ahmad Rosely, Mohd Yunus Lasaleh being unable to collect their 4x400m men's relay.

Read what Karim told The Malay Mail here. Read this and that too. 

Yea right!

It's always easier pointing fingers at others. How convenient!

Dear MAAU, please clean-up - everyone, athletes included, are fed up with how the association is being run.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A never ending story!

Noraseela after winning 400m hurldes at 2009 Laos Sea Games

The national athletic scene never fails to disappoint me. I enjoy covering athletics - the drama that unfolds between Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU), National Sports Council (NSC) and to a lesser extend the athletes.

It brought me no surprise when I saw The Star's back page minutes ago - but for the first time I felt disappointed not being able to cover the SEA Games. Click here to know what unfolded in Palembang.

Hats off to Noraseela Khalid for voicing out - most athletes are to afraid to speak up against MAAU for fear of a backlash. This includes several athletes who bring back honours for the country.

It was good for her to stand up for 4x400m gold medal winning team S. Kannathasan, P. Yuvaraaj, Schzuan Ahmad Rosely and Mohd Yunus Lasaleh. The quartet were not given a chance for a medal finish and was also a last minute inclusion to the Games. They had to return to Malaysia even before the prize giving ceremony as their flight was already booked.

What a shame MAAU! - why is it that athletes fly back earlier but officials stay on until the end?

MAAU and Noraseela are not in the best of terms. She was shouted at previously at the MAAU office when she went to ask about her welfare. All this because Karim Ibrahim sees her as the golden daughter of NSC director general Zolklpes Embong, oh he's no saint too.

I hope more athletes will come out of the shadows and reveal their dissatisfaction. Maybe then something can be done - only maybe.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

the subjective sabotage

There's something about subjective sports that settled my doubts but surprised me nevertheless. I was told that more often than not the medal distribution was pre-determined.

As much as i find this hard to believe, i recalled the 2001 KL SEA Games  - which Malaysia won 111 gold medals and emerged champions. I can recall seeing almost every other subjective sport gold medal going to Malaysia.

The Games before that, in Brunei in 1999 - Malaysia managed 57 Gold medals... in 2003, only 43.

We were exceptionally better on home soil? I would love to say that. However, I was looking at the medal standings for the SEA Games since 2001. Only during the last edition a host did not emerge overall winners with a 100plus gold medal return and emerge overall champions.

Is it already fixed? - i would love to see someone come out of the closet on this.

Meanwhile national karate coach P. Arivalagan believes his women's kumite team have been sabotaged by a Malaysian officials.

Read here for more on this.

After the saga involving the coach and Malaysian Karate Federation in January, this could be a way to get him out. Key word - 'COULD'

Read what transpired in January here, here and here.

And this is what Arivalagan told me last week.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hockey fans back?

pic taken from

One thing that surprised many at the Sultan of Johor Cup was the attendance. (pic above taken during Malaysia's 5-1 win over India on Friday)

It filled the stadium on several occasions and put the Malaysia Hockey League season total attendance to shame.

The Project 2013 boys kept to their side of the bargain, providing entertaining display and a fighting spirit to the delight of the fans...

There's more on this here and also what captain Faeez had to say of the fans.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Was Palembang ever ready for SEA?

Just got off the phone with Mazidul Akmal Sidik, who is in Palembang covering the SEA Games for TV3.

Our coversation lasted a while - mainly revolving around the incapability of the host.

In a nutshell, "This is probably the worst organised Games," he said.

While he doesn't expect much from the organisers, he believes that basic facilities should be present. Transportation is in a mess, Internet connection is in shambles and the International Broadcast Centre is a disappointment.

A Singapore TV channel and another country,  of which Mazidul is not too sure of the identity, suffered a drop in signal/coverage while live on air.

Also there is no coordination of the events and proper scheduling is almost non-existant. let's just not go on about the team sheet, match list, etc.

Word is that media organisations, initiated by Thailand, are planning to send a petition to the host stating their dissatisfaction towards the organisation of the Games.

My tongue is tied here - I can't say much as I'm not one of the foreign media covering the regional games. Hence you decide

pic taken from

oh wait, are those our reporters sitting on the floor due to lack of tables and chairs?

"Bapak lihat, Palembang sememangnya tidak bersedia menganjurkan acara sukan ini tetapi bak dipaksa supaya bersetuju. Saya tinggal di daerah ini, jalan menjadi kelam-kabut. Pihak pemerintah hanya sekadar inginkan acara ini berlangsung sukses tanpa mempunyai perancangan terbaik agar tidak menyusahkan penduduk tempatan," ujarnya

well that was a excerpt taken from Mazidul Akmal's website... read here and here for the full version...

While the above two links may be less on sports and more of the people in Palembang. The Star's Kng Zheng Guan gives his view on the Games and the opening ceremony. 

Read here and tell me if Palembang was ever ready to be co-host for the SEA Games. 
Weren't they initially supposed to be the sole host? hmmmm

A fairytale ending

pic taken from

Oh wait before I get to the hockey, just observe the picture.. why oh why are the officials hogging the limelight with players taking a back stage? 

That's something for your thoughts. 

No one really gave this Malaysia side a chance - not me either. Missing arguably two of their best players, Faisal Saari and Firhan Ashaari, the project 2013 boys had got off on the wrong footing - an opening loss to Australia and a disappointing draw to New Zealand.

Kudos to the boys for a complete turnaround that ended on a success note last night. Led by skipper Noor Faeez Ibrahim, the boys fought for each other to win the inaugural Sultan of Johor Cup.

They were within the brink of losing but for Faeez's penalty corner in the 69th minute to push the match into extra time. It was Faeez again who started the celebrations going.

The project 2013 boys are being molded for the next year's Junior World Cup qualifiers. They are surely on the right track.

Read the full match report here

Friday, November 11, 2011

Leave Khairul Fahmi alone!

The following two pictures surfaced a forth night ago... I don't see a big deal, but obviously some people do. Why? Some trying to appear holier than thou!

Khairul Fahmi or commonly known as Apek wants this issue to be put to bed. After all he had already come out saying he doesn't drink. Read here. Give him the benefit of the doubt.

The pictures do not show him having a drink or two - just a Black Label bottle on the table and there's a huge fuss. Since the said place is Werner's in Jalan Changkat, Bukit Bintang, why not those making noise go check out the place on a friday/saturday night.

pic taken from

Khairul is currently with the SEA Games squad in Indonesia - defending the title we won in Laos. He wants to concentrate on the task at hand and not battle his private life. Plus after the SEA Games, he will be with the Olympic qualifying squad.

Here are some snips from Twitter 

I'm sure if Khairul Fahmi fails to perform many will jump the gun and refer his form to his private life. Shallow!

Fact is Apek has been overworked this season. Let's see - Kelantan No.1, National senior squad No.1 - all friendlies and pre World Cup qualifying, National Under 23 No.1 - friendly matches,SEA Games, Olympic qualifiers.

Khairul Fahmi to suffer burnout? I hope not - to save him from unnecessary backlash.

Who are we to judge another? Let the One above decide.


Ramadan's dream

                          *pic taken from The Malay Mail

Project 2013 forward Ramadan Rosli wants to play Australia again - he hopes the national under-21 team will not slip against India today.

Australia are already in the final and await the identity of the opponents. It could be Malaysia, Korea or India - all three teams the Aussies have already beaten.

Read what Ramadan had to say here

Ramadan plies his trade at university side UniKL, despite being courted by big guns KL Hockey Club, Sapura and Tenaga Nasional Berhad. Read on it here

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Captain's calling

Pic taken from The Malay Mail. Pixmen - Razak Ghazali

Project 2013 skipper Noor Faeez Ibrahim called for a response from his team after just one point from two games in the on-going Sultan of Johor Cup.

Fittingly, doing what a captain should do, he inspired his teammates to wins over much fancied Korea and Pakistan - initiating proceedings in both the matches.

Read on Faeez's heroics here.

Now Malaysia has a chance to qualify for the final - beat India and we are in. Australia have already qualified after winning all four of matches thus far.

Will Faeez step up again? - Watch India v Malaysia @8.05pm tomorrow (Oct 11)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Malaysia 2 Thailand 1

Malaysia could have had only themselves to be blamed had they not won this.

No doubt our young tigers played a much better game compared to the lackluster performance against Singapore a couple of days back.

However, the scoreline failed to justify Malaysia's dominance in the match. It could and probably should have been a three or four goal margin win for Kim Swee's boys. 

The young boys, unsurprisingly, got either nervous in front of goal and/or just lack the finishing touches.

Thankfully a late goal by Izzaq Faris ensured we picked up 3 points. Baddrol Bakhtiar scored the other in the first half.

The quest to defend the SEA Games medal is on? too early to say

Next up - Cambodia @5pm on Nov 13

A great win over Korea for Project 2013 boys

NO WAY, JOSE : Malaysian goalkeeper Mohamad Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri (left) stops a shot from Korea's Seung Ho-im - pic taken from The Malay Mail

Skipper Noor Faeez Ibrahim had a day earlier insisted his team can rise to defeat the undefeated Koreans. This of course after Malaysia failing to win their first two matches...

Project 2013 responded in style and it was the captain who got the proceedings going...

Read the match report here and on the Sultan of Johor Cup site 

I hope to stay on

Karate coach had previous been given the boot.... but some splendid drama unfolded later on involving the exponents and Malaysia Karate Federation ensured that was not the end to it...

                                    Arivalagan with several exponents. Pic taken from

An agreement was struck for Arivalagan to stay on until the end of SEA Games. However, there has not been any talk about a replacement and Arivalagan is unsure of his future. But one thing clear he believes he'll be back as coach someday even if asked to leave after the regional games.

Read what Arivalagan had to say about his possible departure and the SEA Games here

If you have no clue what transpired some months ago read this, this and that....

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Step up Zulfadli!

A heir to Lee Chong Wei's crown may have been found - although it may take several years and may be too early to say but signs look promising.

Step up Zulfadli Zulkifi - first he won the Asian Junior Championship in July, being the first Malaysian to do so, and now the World Junior Championship.

                        Zulfadli after winning the Asian title

Coached by his dad Zulkifli Sidek - no connection to the Sidek brothers here though - the KLRC player can only scale greater heights. BA of Malaysia (BAM) have already offered him a place but the 18-year-old doesn't want to turn his back on the club who has been supporting him for the last four years, as he told The Malay Mail here.

Haresh Deol has the story on his world junior title here.

KLRC could have a gem in their hands..... All the best Zulfadli.

No white flag from Project 2013, yet

Skipper Noor Faeez Ibrahim believes that Malaysia can still end the Sultan of Johor Cup with a top two finish - but they have to work their socks off!

                       *pic courtesy of

Being denied the services of Faisal Saari and Firhan Ashaari, has only made it harder... but Faeez doesn't want to waste time crying over spilled milk

                                           *pic by Razak Ghazali, courtesy of The Malay Mail

Read what Faeez had to say here  - on today's match against leaders Korea (6.05pm)

Faeez plies his trade with university side UniKL - a side he believes can move forward as said in here

Monday, November 07, 2011

Truly inspiring!

If there ever was an athlete's story that inspired me, then its surely Henry Wanyoike's..... Carl Lewis is running closely behind.

                                     *pix by Razak Ghazali, courtesy of The Malay Mail

I had the opportunity to meet both athletes in the past one year....

While the Lewis's session was bogged down by restriction of questions, Wanyoike told a story that would inspire anyone - read it here

Wanyoike's life story tells how far friendship can take you and teaches one to never give up.

We were restricted of asking Lewis on his endorsement deals with Nike and Coca-Cola, his rivalry with Ben Johnson and drug issues. read what Lewis had to say here

but Lewis did say one thing that has stuck to me - for there to be success there must be a plan.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Umpires strike back

No it has to do with the following picture.

But it did play a role - only in the headlines title.

Read Umpire strike back here and the response in Who let the dogs out?

In short hockey match official very fed up with the Umpiring Committee, Technical Commitee and Disciplinary Board meted out light sentences.

Following in the letter, signed by all umpires, to the respective committees.

  1st October, 2011 The Chairman
Technical CommitteeTNB MHL 2011 And

 Reference is made to the above matter.

 We write to you, the above mentioned, to voice our dissatisfaction on the incidents that had taken place involving some of us, the umpires, during the ongoing TNB MHL League and also previously in other domestic tournaments organised by MHF and the way these issues had been addressed.

 As you all know, the umpires are always at the receiving end of all the faults that take place in the pitch. Never once the team officials and/ or players are blamed just because they spend hundreds of thousands of ringgit preparing for every tournament and when things are not favourable to them, we get the blame.

 Every year the same issue is raised that there is no consistency in umpiring, etc, etc…. We would like to ask, how consistent are the players?! Do they make the right passes everytime? NO! Do they score a goal everytime from every shot on goal? NO! Do they manage to make a correct tackle everytime to get the ball back? NO! Do the players execute all the instructions give to them by their coaches? NO!

 So what are they talking about consistency!!!!!

Yes! We have umpires of different grades umpiring and with the experience that they have, we run the show. Not all of them get the opportunity to umpire high level matches but we still manage to do it. As the saying goes, “there is no perfect umpire”.

We are highlighting below a few of these incidents that had taken place during the TNB MHL League and a few other tournaments before this involving players who verbally and physically abuse umpires and get off lightly as follows: 

1.      Razak Cup 2010 – Kuantan – Terengganu and current national player, Faisal Saari who ran from the opposition’s half and physically pulled umpire Ravinderpal Singh’s t-shirt after the umpire had awarded a penalty corner against his team. When he did that the umpire flashed him a yellow card and upon receiving the card, the player uttered foul word to the umpire, afterwhich he was shown the red card.
 This player was referred to the DB, without the umpire concerned being called. He apparently apologised and got off without any punishment meted out on him. Being the “blue- eyed boy” of the hockey team, the officials felt that they needed his services more than to instil discipline in him. He went on playing for the country and received the same treatment from international umpires for similar behaviour but our officials kept a blind eye. This matter was also brought up in the MHF council meeting and highlighted to the President. The DB head said that since there was no physical abuse (hitting and/ or bleeding) we could not take any action on the player. What rubbish!!!! Do they expect the umpire to be hit and only then action will be taken!! The President asked the UC to write to DB to re open the case but sadly this was never done. Faisal Saari now plays for TNB and is a hero for the national team. Bravo! But what about umpire Ravinderpal??? What did he get out of it? He followed procedures, made a report and at the end got nothing……..not even an apology. 

2.      TNB MHL Premier League 2010- Keevan Raj of Nur Insafi approached and pushed umpire Lingam when the umpire awarded a PC to Maybank. He sayed that the umpire had been bought over by Maybank. Lingam gave Keevan a Green Card to which the player abused using foul language repeatedly on him and then spat on the umpire.
 The umpire immediately showed him the Red Card. He too followed proper procedures by making a report and waited for the outcome. Action was only taken after 2 – 3 weeks wherby Keevan was banned for 21 months.  

3.      TNB MHL Premier League 2011  - Player No.2 from ATM came up to umpire Illango after the match, abused him, threatened him, pointed his stick towards him and called him out of the stadium for a fight. The said played had to be taken away by his fellow team mates.

Once again, a report was made and submitted to MHF but action was not taken immediately. This player played 2 more matches and in one of those 2 matches he again after the match approached umpire Anba and abused him.

 Another report was made against this player. This time he was suspended for 2 matches. These 2 matches were the last 2 matches before the completion of the preliminary round. It wouldn’t have mattered to the player because they were at the bottom of the table anyways and would not have made it to the knockout stages.

 Our question is “Why was he allowed to play for the next 2 matches and again continue to abuse the umpires after each match” ?

 4.      TNB MHL Premier League 2011 – Quarter final match between Sapura and Nur Insafi. Sapura captain Kuhan was red carded by umpire Anba for using foul words on him. After the match, the said played approached the technical bench and continued to hurling more foul words on the umpire in the presence of MHF officials and technical officer of the match. 

The umpire submitted his report, the technical officer submitted his report. We feel that this is a very serious offence by a former national captain. This incident took place on 12/10/11 (Wednesday).

 Having received a red card, the player is automatically suspended for 1 match pending the DB hearing. What baffles us is that, yes! He was automatically suspended for 1 match but to our astonishment, the technical committee did not meet to take further action and / or refer him to DB.

 The technical committee in a press statement said that the matter could not be deliberated because a certain person was not available and therefore it will be held on Monday, 17/10/11.

 We beg to differ to the excuses given. What would have happened if the umpire was hit and hospitalized and in a coma? Would the technical committee then sat immediately to deliberate on the mater???

 And yes! Sapura lost 1- 2 in the 1st leg. 

We strongly believe that this delay was to determine if Sapura were to qualify for the semi finals and to see the outcome of the 2nd leg match which was played on Sunday 16/10/11. True enough, Sapura won 2-0 and qualified.

Kuhan was given a mere 2 match suspension on Monday 17/10/11, which makes him eligible to play in the 2nd leg of the semi finals on Friday, 21/10/11.

For all that abuses and outburst Kuhan received only 2 matches. For the ATM player who did not receive any card, abused the umpires after the match was also suspended for 2 matches.  

For your information, the above incidents are only a tip of the iceberg. There are many umpires who have been subject to all this and have given up, retired due to frustration because their plight was never looked into.

 We would like to ask… 
Where is justice? 
Why are there double standards?
 Why is it that the players’ welfare is taken care of and not of the umpires? When are we going to be protected? When will the abuses stop? 


Send out the message loud and clear to them that you will no longer condone such behaviour. This has been going on for far too long 

Sadly but true to the every word that this has not happened and will not happen in the near future. Please prove us wrong!!

Some of us have been umpiring for more than 15 years. We get to see the same players and officials year in and year out. We have swallowed a lot of rubbish. We are still swallowing a lot of rubbish. We have new, younger umpires coming up the ranks and they too are facing the same problems. 

How do you expect the country to produce more umpires when the rot is still there?? 

We, the undersigned (attached list of umpires’ name and signature), together and collectively would like to inform you that we want this to stop. Take the required measures now.

 We do not want to have a situation where you will not have anymore umpire to officiate your tournaments.

Thanking you in advance for our future in umpiring.

The following is an email to my inbox

Hi Vijhay,

I got your email and phone number from (name withheld). Thanks for highlighting the plight of the Umpires last week. It has made an impact to rectify the situation. But now the blame game has started as to the mastermind of the letter and fingers pointed as to who leaked it out to the press.

Now at a panic situation, the Umpires Committee has called all the umpires who signed the letter to face them for a dialogue session instead of addressing and finding solutions on the queries. To make matters worse, this session is called on Sunday 6th November not taking into consideration it is on Hari Raya Haji and the long holidays. The rush is also because the MHF Council Meeting is on the 12th November in Johor Baru at the final day of the Sultan Of Johor Cup Hockey Tournament whereby the Umpires Committee has to explain the whole episode to HRH Tengku Abdullah and the rest of the delegates. There are 4 Muslim umpires and an Umpires Committee member who celebrate the Hari Raya and if they are going to particiapte in this dialogue is another question and rest to be seen. How effective is this dialogue session going to be then? Religious festivals how big or small are sensative previledges for the multiracial community in this country.The question then again arises, could meetings of such nature be held during Chinese New Year or Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa or Christmas? Is this an excepted norm in this country?

Vijhay, I wish to remain annonymous and if you need and clarification, please feel free to contact me.


(name withheld)  

When it all begins

A year back, to the date, i joined The Malay Mail. It has been an exciting journey with Mailsport thus far - learnt a lot during this time and still learning as the days go by. It's true what they say about life being a never ending learning process.

Anyway, to date I've had five back page leads, which I'm proud of but more of the same is needed, and one co-byline with my senior journalist Haresh Deol.

First it was a post Asean Cup story - Honeymooners, where Norshahrul Idlan Talaha spoke about a triumphant Year of the Tiger.

Patriotic Christian Liew was just a six-year-old tennis player who wants to play for Malaysia despite offers from Hong Kong

Then came the Confusion in FAM , where the football body's Vetting, Monitoring and Tranparency Committee was in a limbo.

The 2011 Sukma Games was a Confusing State as young athletes had to choose between the meet and the national schools meets.

Sudden Death was a piece I wish I never had to write - star youth bowler Khoo Beng Khai had suddenly passed on.

Finally, which was a week ago, Umpires strike back brought back memories of Star Wars. (more on story in next post)