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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sayonara 2011, Game On 2012

Happy New Year!

2011 was a year that went too fast with may memorable moment, both pleasant and unpleasant ones.

It was a year that had many good moments in sports. My favourites were Malaysia conquering Bung Karno twice at the Sea Games, Some 90,000 (or more) Malaysians rallying our Harimau Muda against Singapore, The Project 2013 squad wining the Sultan of Johor Cup, and of course seeing Manchester United win their record breaking 19th English Premier League title.

Anyway Sayonara 2011 - I certainly will remember you but won't miss you.

2012 will be an interesting year - The Thomas Cup, Euro 2012, and Olympics . And also not forgotten General Elections and finally the uncertainty if the Mayans had actually got it right. 

2012, I say bring it on!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Finally a proper format..... but

FA of Malaysia has released the format of the M-league for the 2013 - 2016. In short teams will not be left wondering whether they are relegated.

All seems good except one thing....see for yourself.

 M-League 2013-2016
- Super League and Premier League will comprise of 12 teams each.
- Super League : top nine teams, LionsXII, champion of Premier League while final spot will be decided in a play off between the Premier League runners-up and the remaining Super League teams.

At the expense of a local team, LionsXII cannot be relegated. So if they play badly and finish bottom, they will still have a spot in the Super League.

Of course perhaps our Harimau Muda A is getting the same treatment in the S-League but this is just not right. Teams have to play in the respective leagues on merit not some arrangement made between two FAs.

Many might disagree with me but well that should be the nature of a league.

Of course it is unlikely they'll finish bottom - even our Harimau Muda A finished fifth last season, that of course considering LionsXII is equallly strong.

Anyway format and arrangements have already been done. For the sake of being professional, let's all hope FAM does not move the goal post at some point of the season.

Check out Foul! for all the decisions made by the FAM Competitions Committee yesterday.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Leave me out of this, I've got my battle with injuries to focus on

Quite rightly national high jumper Lee Hup Wei refuses to be dragged into the ever on-going spat between the national athletic body (MAU) and National Sports Council (NSC)

pic taken from

Instead he wants to concentrate on staying injury free in 2012. This is after having bad luck - forced to sit in the sidelines for most of the year.

Yet he won the Sea Games gold in Indonesia last month but he does not want to get carried away...

He tells Mailsport that he will need at least another four to five months to be back in the business. Hopefully when London Olympics come, he'll be at his best. Not that a gold medal is expected but it's always good seeing our athletes do well.

Meanwhile please do read NST's MAU going nowhere fast! for a an understanding how the year has been for Malaysian athletics. 

In short, it falls short of the expectations.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Feliz Navidad!

Soak in the Christmas mood everyone. :)

Santa, where are you?.... Do you have my gift?

Here's a song for all....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's time to move... maybe

Safiq Rahim is a man on a mission - he wants one more season at Selangor before moving abroad.

However, it may not be Cardiff City, the club he had trials with last month.

The national skipper - who many got 'excited' of the prospect of him plying his trade in English football - never in fact had intentions of making a move to England. Instead he is eyeing a move to either Indonesia or Japan.

Scored this freekick when the Reds were down in KL

He needs to move abroad to improve. J- League would be the perfect platform. It is after all the best league in Asia. 

But lets not get carried away. Safiq still has a lot to do to warrant a move abroad but he certainly has the ablility to do so.. Help Selangor to a good season and continue his performance with the national team - and soon suitor will follow.

Read today's Mailsport for more.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lack of proper planning..... again!

What's new? - Nothing!

This year athletes had to choose between representing state at SUKMA or at the national schools meet (MSSM).

This didn't go too well with some parties as some opted for the MSSM instead. But of course there are two sides to a coin.

Read all about it here.

Things are unlikely to change but this time athletes will have to choose between representing state or country at school level.

Oh wait even NSC is not sure when SUKMA is going to be but the recently launched website states it will be July 5-14, 2012.

Even MoE is left in the dark over this.
If the two events clash, the ministry will enforce the ‘Students competing in tournaments organised by associations or national bodies’ circular dated Oct 11, 1995. Paragraph 3.2 of the circular states: “If a competition organised by an association or national body clashed with an MSSM competition, preference will be given for the MSSM as the student is required to represent his State at the MSSM and beyond (Asean, Asia etc),” said Education Ministry sports unit director Ee Hoong.
Haresh Deol has the story here.

Will there ever be proper planning?......

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No hope for Malaysian football

It seems Malaysia can dream about being a footballing nation. The standards of football here will not improve too.

Why? - simple, we lack the infrastructure.

Says who? - Lim Teong Kim (pic)

Some may ask who is this man?

He is arguably Malaysia's most accomplished man in football. Having played for Malacca, Selangor and KL in the M-League, he also enjoy a year stint at Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin. Today he is the assistant coach for Bayern Munich U-19.

Having been there and done that - who can better speak of the standards here than Teong Kim.

Understandably he is "sick and tired speaking of Malaysian football".

All this because "people here ask for advice but don't take whatever is given seriously". Sigh.

Teong Kim is every ready to lend a helping hand to our football scene but "no one seems to want it seriously"

Read what Teong Kim had to say in the Q&A session I had with him on Sunday where he laments lack of infrastructure - even the condition of the field at Victoria Institution was not spared.

Meanwhile it's interesting to note how times have changed.

Three decades ago, several Japan FA officials made a trip to Malaysia to learn more about our semi-pro league. 
Last weekend, three officials from FAM left for Japan to look at their professional league. 
Such is the irony.
Haresh Deol has the story on this here. Btw the way I love Karate Kid!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Put Emotions aside

Former karate exponent R. Puvaneswaran urges the current batch of athletes to put aside their emotions and concentrate on Karate for themselves and not their masters.

Exponents had previously threatened to walk out from the national stable if head coach P. Arivalagan was not retained. Puvanesvaran, ironically, was one of them.

But now, perhaps in the capacity of a coach, he wants the exponents to stay on.

"It is their career. They have to leave emotions of the picture. Coaches will come and go," he said.

Arivalagan and Puvaneswaran are unsure of their future as Makaf have yet to inform them anything. While Puvanesvaran looks likely to be retained, a huge question remains on Arivalagan's future....

Read what Puvanesvaran had to say here

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rewards, Incentives... but save up for the future!

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar believes that athletes are just given too much money as said here

Instead he wants athletes to save up for their future as said here.

While all the 'moolah' is being handed out for their success - what happens to them if they don't save up for their future? after all they have a short span at their earning peak before it all drops.

Then it'll depend on decisions taken during they heydays.

as Tunku Imran said.... "we certainly appreciate and value the dedication, sacrifice and hard work of our athletes but at the same time, we wish to inculcate in them the need to be thrifty and to save"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's all about the $$$?

Not according to Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak.

pic taken from The Malay Mail

Would Michael Owen, then poster boy of English football, move to a lower tier club if bogged by injury when at 24? Highly unlikely - unless it's impossible to play the way he used to play.

Would any national player do so in their respective countries? - I doubt so. 

But not in Malaysia - as the saying goes #onlyinMalaysia or Malaysia Boleh.

I'm not critising the move of the Abdul Razak twins. It could be just what they needed after a frustrating injury-filled year.

But I just don't see this happening much elsewhere. Aidil says It's not about the money but really?...

Armed Forces are said to have spent big bucks for the 2012 Premier League, FA Cup, and Malaysia Cup assault. They have signed eight players from Super League sides. 

Defence Minister  Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi did not help by refusing to comment on their budget - stopping short of a strong statement

"Let's leave out how much we have spent - it won't be nice on other teams... We don't have to go into their contract details," he said.

I just hope no public funds were used.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Armed to conquer

Armed Forces could win the Premier League, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup - they certainly have the players to do it. And even coach B. Satianathan.

Well that's just optimistically speaking.

pic taken from The Malay Mail

Malaysia Cup success would only mean more clubs would want to poach Hairuddin Omar - he has taken the Cup with him for the last three years. 

FA Cup - in England, this cup provides fairy-tale stories once in a while.... maybe Armed Forces will have a tale to tell too.

Premier League - no team will come close to them. They will march like how PKNS did this year. Anything besides Champions will be a disappointment. 

Satianathan has been given full mandate for their 2012 assault. He has signed several of 'his' players though the former Kelantan coach insists he will not favour any one of them.

Read what Satianathan has to say here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Surprise! Surprise!

The press conference held by Dr. Iskandar Abudllah did not go as expected.


I would love to pose the question to National Sport Council director general Datuk Zolkples Embong. It was he who spoke on Iskandar's behalf here and it certainly backfired.

Read the following story to enlightened yourself. Please enlighten me as well.



It has all the ingredients of a political game - only that the setting is the national athletic scene.

Yesterday, it was Malaysian Athletic Union's (MAU) out-going general manager Dr. Iskandar Abdullah's turn to jump into the arena. However, it did not go down as speculated to.

It was expected that Iskandar would reveal some insight information on the workings in MAU as National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolklpes Embong had told the press so a day earlier.

However, Iskandar denied the allegations by Zolkples and strongly stated that there is no office politics in his removal as general manager.

"Everthing was done is good faith and there is no bad blood between me and MAU deputy president Karim Ibrahim," said Iskandar.

Zolkples had told a Malay tabloid that Iskandar had called him regarding the matter and informed him that Karim had asked to cheat on several occasions and often took decisions against decision taken by the MAU council.

"Nothing of such happened. When I was asked to resign I was sad but accepted it with full gratitude. It was Karim who offered me this job as we had previously worked together," said the 55-year-old.

Iskandar begun work at MAU on August 1 this year after Karim convinced him to leave the government service.

However, there is suspicion as to his role in MAU despite being acknowledged as the new MAU  general manager by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).

Despite being appointed by MAU, many were not aware of this. Infact the supposedly former general manager M. Latchumanam was still around.

It was Latchumanan who sent Karim's press statement to the media last week - in the capacity of MAU general manager.

"He was supposed to leave but was always around. I don't know what's the situation with him," said Iskandar.

Monday, December 12, 2011

No disrespect... but errr... and who is Dr. Iskandar?

I mean no disrespect to anyone with this post. Just my take or rather how I see things to appear. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Okay now that the formalities have been done, let's start.

Let's all admit, our national athletics scene is in a pathetic state. Forget the never ending drama between National Sports Council (NSC) and Malaysian Athletics Union (MAU). Results produced has been deteriorating. Perhaps partly due to the the on-going feud.

One thing is that MAU president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim and deputy president Karim Ibrahim have always been on the same page and both command each other's respect - just that one is more aggressive than the other. No prize in guessing who.

Karim did send out an Press Statement announcing a proposal to severe ties with NSC while Shahidan said MAU can't ditch NSC for National Sports Institute (ISN). I don't think both are saying the total opposite.

Some have got the whole idea of the proposal wrong.

Of course ISN cannot fund MAU and only NSC can do that. But what it probably meant was that for MAU to work directly with ISN who then liaises with NSC for funding. NSC should merely facilitate the channeling of funds.

Since NSC director general Datuk Zolkples Embong can't work with Karim, who is elected, this proposal should be given a go. Anyway more on this in time to come I hope.

Meanwhile something else has started within MAU - I see it as just politics and probably instigated by a third party - no reason for Zolkples to speak on someone's behalf.

Read here.

Was having a conversation with a fellow journalist, whose main bid is athletics, and we both were questioning who Dr. Iskandar Abdullah was. The MAU general manager? but what is the position of Latchumanan Manickam? - it was he who sent the Karim's press statement on Thursday - in the capacity of GM as stated in the email.

We were confused!

Anyway Iskandar is having a press conference later at 11.30am at the Commonwealth Hall in NSC.

I'm so 'excited' to know more that I can't sleep :p

Friday, December 09, 2011

Let's have a debate (continuation)

pic taken from The Malay Mail

So the national athletic body (MAU) wants the Sports Ministry to do away with the National Sports Council (NSC) and only work with National Sports Institute (ISN) and Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).

Karim does have valid points that ISN know better of the athletes' need. But with task of conducting medical research and etc already on their hands, won't it an extra burden on their shoulders.

Anyway OCM can help out too perhaps - that's the opinion of MAU.

Read here to know more of what Karim told me on Tuesday and here for the Press Statement sent by MAU last night.

Press Statement - MAU wants to get rid of NSC

Date: 08.12.2011




It has been clearly indicated openly by YBhg Dato Zolkples Embong the Director General of National Sports Council of Malaysia that he cannot work with MAAU in particular with Mr. Karim Ibrahim the Deputy President, citing various reasons in the local electronic and written media continuously. 

Numerous forms of approaches had been made indirectly through the MAAU President YB Dato Seri’ Shahidan Kassim as well as sports enthusiast to amicably solve this ongoing fiasco, but unfortunately all the efforts turned futile.  Since it is realized that we are already at a dead end in seeking a solution on this matter, and that MAAU being the Association partly responsible for the development of athletics in this country, is committed to keep athletics alive.  On this perspective,

MAAU is seriously considering to joint venture with the more appropriate government agency i.e the National Sports Institute of Malaysia to ensure the implementation of a continuous development program without any unwarranted hindrance. 

One has to know that, this sort of unnecessary hindrance were not in existence before.  Way back in the late 70’s, where there was only a medical unit at the TPCA Kuala Lumpur, where NSA will use their expertise towards preparation for any major games.  During that time, there was not even a shadow of existence of the MSN until the early 80’s and ultimately providing financial assistance to NSA’s in the late 90’s.

Today athletics has grown far more advanced, with world records being shattered at almost every other major competition.  This is made possible through research and development in the field of Sports Science and Sports Medicine. Thus, today, it is globally accepted and proven after their respective countries achieved eye propping results in major competitions namely the Olympic Games. 

One has to realize that the following 3 major components that need to be linked to ensure the desired target or vision is achieved, namely:-

a.       Need to have the best potential athletes;
b.      Need to have the best knowledgeable an experienced coaches;
c.       Need to have the best sports medicine and sports science unit.

If all the above 3 components can unite and work hand in hand added with the government spending huge amount of money, be self assured that there is no way sports will fail in this country.

On this aspect, we have to admit that the National Sports Institute are well equipped with their technical and scientific knowledge, which will be of utmost assistance in terms of preparation to oversee the training program, treatment of injury, rehabilitation and immediate remedial measures towards the said preparation, which obviously the National Sports Council will certainly be unable to contribute.

Having said this, a proposal will be tabled to the MAAU Council, and MAAU will be the first Association to detach itself from the National Sports Council and adopt a new approach by working closely with the National Sports Institute Malaysia.  All proposals for the preparation of major games will be channeled through the NSI to the government.  To enhance more effective results, the Olympic Council of Malaysia will be appointed as a member of the committee to be set up by the NSI if it is agreeable by the Ministry of Sports Malaysia,

Thank you

Deputy President
Malaysia Amateur Athletic Union
Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.

c.c       i.          President MAAU

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Let's have a debate

When Malaysian Athletic Union (MAU) - yes they have taken out the 'Amateur' - and National Sports Council (NSC) go to 'war' they often talk about different matters.

Like MAU deputy president Karim Ibrahim once told me - "I'm talking about apple, he's talking about pineapple"

Anyway that aside - an SMS where sent out regarding a supposed 'live debate' between NSC director general Datuk Zolkples Embong and Karim on a radio channel. That didn't materialise and Karim wasn't too happy with what the DG told 'Kerusi Panas' on Radio 24. SMS' were then sent out attacking Zolkples.

Well shall we get to the bottom of this? - and put an end to all the drama.

Why not you two have a debate? - have a go at each other and then let a third party come and play the mediator role.

Because as my colleague Haresh Deol puts it on Foul!, It's not funny anymore.

I did have a conversation with Karim yesterday, he is welcoming a debate. Zolkples, the ball is your court.

Meanwhile MAU is considering endorsing a proposal on how sports should be run in the country. If it's for the better then why not?

Sorry I can't say anything more as I'm waiting for The Malay Mail to carry it. And/Or maybe it will be up on Bottom Line soon.

It has some connection with a column carried by Utusan today - "persatuan sukan dan MOM boleh hidup and berdiri secara sendiri tanpa MSN tetapi MSN tidak boleh hidup tanpa persatuan sukan dan MOM"

In the meantime I hope there is a debate between Karim and Zolkples. I'll go grab popcorn and hope to get the best seats for the drama. Care to join me?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Show us the hunger!

 pic taken from

"Local tennis players will have to act as professionals if they want to play in the professional circuit,' said national tennis body's (LTAM) president Tan Sri Abdul Razak Latiff.

After facing criticism for only using one qualifying wildcard at the 2011 WTA Malaysian Open - reason being only one player (S. Theiviya) came forward and requested to play.

Jawariah Noordin (pic), arguably Malaysia's best women tennis player, was no where to be seen. It's long established that Jawariah and LTAM don't see eye-to-eye but let's not dwell too much into that.

Abdul Razak insist the selection process will be the same for the 2012 edition, only that this time national coach Deen Heesham will be selecting the national representative.

However there is a catch, those not under the national stable - like Jawariah - will have to come forward and approach LTAM. If not Deen will pick as he sees fit - surely those under LTAM will get the nod.

Step up Jawariah - let's have two national reps and quality ones too.

While the intentions of LTAM may be good - this concept or rather mindset has not been instilled in local athletes. Perhaps it's time to stop spoon feeding athletes.

In a way I agree with Abdul Razak - players must show hunger to play. 

Read all about it here.

Monday, December 05, 2011

"Thank you Kim Swee!"

pic taken from The Malay Mail

Klang-born D. Saarvindran vows to make the most of his contract extension with Harimau Muda.

After going for stints with Kim Swee's boys in 2010, he was told to lead Harimau Muda B in the Premier League instead of the A team in Super League - much to his disappointment.

Having already been HMB's best player in 2011, it was rumoured he was on his way out of the Young Tigers stable. A loan spell at Felda United in the Malaysia Cup did him good and found his way back in the Harimau Muda set-up - with the A squad.

This time he is where he wants to be and thanks Ong Kim Swee here.

Read on the 19-year-old midfield cum attacker here and here

Note. before going to Felda on loan he had signed for Selangor but a goalkeeping crisis meant they had to cancel his loan to make way for a keeper. Personally I feel it was a blessing in disguise. 

Sunday, December 04, 2011

" i see fit"

pic taken from The Malay Mail

You can find as much fault with Khairul Fahmi Che Mat as you want but the national custodian is having none it. It doesn't bother him when he steps onto the field.

At least that's the impression he gave the other day.

Some jumped at him over this. Well he performed exceptionally well at the Sea Games and WC qualifiers. Black Label to be made an official drink by his critics? - or shall we open a Blue Label?

Anyhow some may worry that Fahmi may suffer a burnout after a hectic year - with Kelantan, Raja's boys and Kim Swee's boys. But the Kelantanese is having none of it here.

I hope he has had sufficient rest as he says. Malaysia needs Fahmi, easily the best Malaysian goalkeeper in recent years

Thursday, December 01, 2011

National Football Awards - a small affair.

pic taken using BlackBerry

There were more empty seats than people at Holiday Inn, Glenmarie yesterday. Why?

There were more media personnel than players and club/state officials put together.

I'm beginning to think if the event was for 100plus or the players. Only four of the five award winning players turned up. Same was the case for last year's awards at Hilton.

Even K. Rajagopal and Ong Kim Swee were not around.

FAM deputy president is understandably disappointed with this.

Read The Malay Mail for more on the shambolic awards and what Tan Sri Annuar Musa had to say.

Maybe for next year's awards it should 
1.  be Held at night
2. in a more accessible venue
3. Get all the nominees to attend.
4. Each state FA/clubs to send representatives

Re-branding is definitely needed but will those involved willing to do so?
Also we cannot keep re-branding but nothing really changes.

Haresh Deol has his views here while NST carried it here