Monday, August 10, 2009

The excellent sports leaders

There are many good and able leaders in Malaysia sports. Their leadership administrative skills have impacted sports and in some cases still doing so. These are the people who have earned the respects of many by their qualities - transparent, excellent skills and truthful.

They did not and do not need to use disgusting tactics to stay in power. Sports people just wanted them there.

These are people who served sports genuinely and did not let race, religion or others divisive matters influence their views. They served with humility.

Here are some of the excellent leaders, whom I call the Gentlemen of Sports. Its a list of the present times, because there surely would have been great men of sports 50 or 100 years ago.

The first leader which I have on my list is the Sultan of Pahang. I have followed his Highness leadership of Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) since the time he became the President in 1984. He had a vision for sucess and he got the right people to work towards the goals he set.

He managed to get football on the right track at national level but at state level, they just could not keep up with him and this caused developments programmes to face some problems.

Under Sultan Ahmad Shah's leadership, FAM began to have strong sponsorship support and football also moved from an amateur to semi-pro and now professional. I believe there is already a strong foundation for future growth.

The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah contributed strong leadership to Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF). There are those who felt that Tuanku only chairs meetings and was not hands-on in most matters.

But I know for sure it was His Highness strong leadership that kept MHF united because infightings in hockey can sometimes be terrible. Sultan Azlan continues to promote hockey through the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF).

Tan Sri Elyas Omar is another who left his mark in sports through his far sighted thinking and planning. He started the BAM House in Jalan Tun Razak (close to the Indonesian Embassy) where all national players were required.

He started the Thomas-Uber-Olimpik (TUO) Project in 1990 and it resulted in Malaysia winning the Thomas Cup. Under his presidency, badminton grew tremendously.

Cycling also benefitted from Elyas leadership. During that period, cycling was financially sound and road and track teams were given maximum exposures.

He also had great vision for KL FA, When he brough in Czech coach Josef Venglos some reporters asked him what plans he had for Venglos since KL was already a successful team at that time. He answered, " we are looking to win overseas also." He had the vision to lead.

Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad is another excellent leader who lead the Nasional Sports Council (NSC) through some tough times but managed to build the agency into a respected organization. He also planned and executed the Jaya'98 programme which saw Malaysian athletes doing well during the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

He is expected to play an interesting role in sports in the months to come.

Datuk Seri Paul Mony Samuel played an important and crucial role in FAM in the 1980s and 1990s. He practically revamped and reorganized an organization which was not functioning as it should.

He was a player, a coach and an excellent adminstrator. He wrote mannuals which were used by teachers in Kedah to coah their school sides. He is well known internationally.

One leader who many are hoping will play a prominent role in sports is Prof Datuk Zakaria Ahmad, the President of Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) and also Vice President of Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).

Zakaria (picture) was recently given an award by the International Gymnastics Federation (IGF) for his contribution in the promotion of the sport at different levels.

Another leader who is fast making a name for himself is Rosmanizam Abdullah, the secretary of Malay Cricket Association of Malaysia (MCAM). Right now, MCAM is of the few sports body who have a strong financial standing.

Malay Cricket also has a ground of its own and an academy. Rosmanizam has showed excellent skills in the area of development. He, like Zakaria, is expected to feature prominently in the national sports scene in the near future.

These are the officials who are excellent leaders, the Gentlemen of Malaysian Sports. We need more people like them and less of those who "talk through their nose" (empty talk) and "lie through their false teeths" (saying one thing in front, another behind and two other versions at the sides).

We also do not need officials or leaders who say the same thing every two or three years. Finally, we are tired of people who are in sports for their own benefit, thus unwilling to speak up when things are not right.

I hope and pray there are many more excellent leaders out there who should be considered for a list like this. Unfortunately, I have not met them,


  1. I would also like to remind that there were Women who played vital roles as Sports Leaders in Malaysia namely Dato' Azalina Othman and Ms. Low Beng Choo. Both these women are great leaders and should also give recognition.

  2. Anonymous, please clearly spell out Azalina Othman Said's contribution...even if you do, I would not be able to agree with you for Low Beng Choo, she is a volunteer at the OCM, a renowned leader of softball and proven success as the CDM in the Manila SEA Games. Not forgetting she was not parachuted into her position...