Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is this "Everton-gate" ?

Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Shabery Cheek has come under fire for his so called Everton deal. Here is a take by Jaiho Malaysia (

SO, tell us Mr Minister, what is the Everton deal going to cost the Sports Ministry,
viz-a- viz the taxpayers?Reliable sources say, it’s going to be a staggering 1.3 million pounds or the ringgit equivalent of RM7.15 million a year.

Is that true Sir? If it is, then let me tell you that it’s a marked-up fashioned to fill someone/ones’ coffers. I know what it costs as we had worked with Everton when I was in event and sports management.

Let me tell you Sir, that the whole development plan shouldn’t cost more than 700,000 pounds or RM3.8 million a year. If you don’t believe me, I can run it and manage it for you at this cost.

Not that I want the job, but I want to show my convictions here, that I am not merely firing from all barrels from my hips.Cheating the rakyat is already a mortal sin, but robbing them blind is cruel to the core.

By the way Mr Minister, I was told that you travelled by Air Asia on your own expense. But really Sir, I don’t see how relevant is that fact that was so eloquently explained by a prominent in my blog to the issue under the scope now.

Seriously, it doesn’t matter whether you travelled by Air Asia, MAS or even took the slow boat to the UK. It still doesn’t answer the question on how much is the Government spending on this project.What is there to hide if there is nothing to. As a taxpayer I deserve an answer. You politicians just can’t come beating our trail and knocking on our doors when you want our votes, and then when we voters demand transparency and answers, we get the cold shoulder.

Did you sit with Ray Hall who is the Academy Manager or did you meet Neil Dewship who is the Technical Manager for 9-19 years of age? Did they share with you their vision and mission of the academy in Malaysia? You said many clubs have approached you, read here who they are. What now, all of s sudden, clubs are approaching you because we have 20 players who are in the same rank with Wayne Rooney and Cesc Fabregas.

You mean everyone wants a Malaysian player. Mr Minister, you have RM10 million to help develop Malaysian football, and I bet you believe you have all the answers. But let me give you an idea on how you can spend part of that money.

Have you heard of the Piala Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah that goes on for 8 months, they play football every Saturday and Sunday. Do you know something that league has no money now, all they are asking for is RM 700,000. " It has 200 players playing every week without fail. Did your so-called experts at NSC inform you about this league? Why don’t you adopt the tournament?

So many other programs are held all over the country, they are starving or dying for the lack of money and funding, and find it hard to continue. Just like the Ken Barnes grassroots programme that was developing players from ages 12-17. NSC was supporting it for a few years, but has stopped now. And this programme had links with the top EPL clubs, having sent some 15 players for attachments in clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Birmingham, and Wigan."

Really Mr Minister, you need to speak with the real experts, not those who masquerading as one. Let’s do the math here Sir, if you are going to use up about RM7 million on Everton from your RM10 million grant from the Government, that will leave you with 3 million.Let me guess, the remaining RM3 million will be allocated to the expense account of the National Sports Council (NSC), whose so-called experts will use for travel to monitor our players. Honestly Sir, this whole thing smacks of a scam and a classic case for the Malaysian Anti Corruption Agency (MACC).

Sir, you can avoid the subject now, you can even pretend we don’t exist. But please don’t make the mistake of under-estimating the influence of blogosphere, please do not trivialise our impact on voters. Statistics will show that voters are turned in more to the web than to the mainstream media.So be a good public servant, and give us the figures. That’s all I am asking.

I have no intention of standing for elections Mr. Minister, if that is what your reaction to this piece will get. All I ask for is the truth and accountability as there are eagles out there who intend to devour the RM10 million your Ministry will spend on football. Let us not be taken for a ride, for I know that the prophet is never believed on his own land, but do we want to be continued to be colonised?

And here is a take by Malaysian Sports (ssdhaliwal.blogspot)

My apology to readers for failing to post with regards to my interview with the right honourable Sports Minister Datuk Shabery Cheek the other day on the Everton FC tie up. Now that the dust has settled, somewhat lukewarm reception from the main stream media, I am intrigued by what has been posted by fellow blogger Jaiho on this issue.

Together with two journalists from the mainstream media, I had the privilage of meeting up with the Sports Minister at the Bukit Kiara Club on Monday. I must go on record to say that this was only the second time I have cross swords with the Minister since his appointment as Sports Minister.

Right from the onset I could sense that he was reserved in his answers as he had met us before taking to the court and was already told that we intended to ask him about the tie up with Everton FC.

The Minister's initial reaction:

"I met with officials from Everton FC and we are working on a proposal. There are some technical matters and I have briefed the FAM President who is receptive of the idea. All parties, KBS, FAM and the Education Ministry will form a committee to look into this plan and I am impressed with what I saw there with regards to developing football."

The Minister was then asked on the attachment of the Under 23 players and what this so-called development initiative with Everton had to do with it.

"It will be part of the deal, our players will join the reserves team in everton FC. Let's not talk about adaptability, not getting nasi lemak and so forth."

Next came the question with regards to what the tie up will cost to the Malaysian public, and this is where the Minister started getting defesive especially when told there were several similiar proposals this decade.

When I raised the question that there had been proposal in the past provided to both the Ministry and the NSC, the Minister denied any knowledge of it.

But NSC Director General Dato Zolpkles Embong who was seated on the floor intervened and said, " yes we received a proposal a few years ago from a former athlete but we did not have the money then. Now it is different as we have the money."

And that is when I offered the Minister info on the past proposals as I made it clear that I was not against the idea but merely wanting him to be careful of people who were about to cash in on the situation. This was the Minister's rebuke.

"I know what I am doing. Just because some of you are against it, shall I drop the whole idea? If this is the case then why should I bother. You know I went to London at my own expense, not utilising government money."

When I replied that "good for you" for flying to London at his own expense, little did I expect him to continue harping on the issue. It came about when I asked the Minister wat the deal was worth and was it true that attachment of our Under 23 was inclusive of the deal.

"We were invited to Everton and held discussions with them. And there are other offers too and it has nothing to do with CYC. We are negotiating the figure. The asking price is around 1.3 million pounds per yer but that is not finalised yet.

When told that past proposal were much lower then what had been quoted, the Minister once again went on the defensive.

"That maybe the case in the past, I do not know. What were the proposals, I am not aware of them and really if you feel that it is not a good idea, shall I drop it just because you are questioning it. You people are against it right from the begining."

I clarified that it was die to the fact that he maybe taken for a ride and that he should open up the old files to see if the deal was marked up, the Minister would have none of it, not even when told that copies of past proposals could be made available to him for comparision purposes.

When asked what were the other clubs/teams that opened their doors, once again the Minister refused to reveal details and walked off.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Subkhiddin wants a tribute to "brother" Nazri

Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh (picture) wants to provide the perfect tribute to his late “brother” and mentor, Nazri Abdullah, by becoming the first Malaysian to referee in the FIFA World Cup.

Former AFC Director of Referees Nazri, who passed away in February last year, was an inspirational figure for all Malaysian referees, including Subkhiddin, who is a candidate for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

This is the last chance for Subkkiddin because, at 43, he is only two years away from enforced retirement for international referees.

“This is my last and only chance to officiate in the highest level. I want to go desperately,” said Subkhiddin, a teacher at the Vocational High School in Nibong Tebal, Penang.

Two Malaysians have officiated in the World Cup before, the late Halim Abdul Hamid in France 98 and Mat Lazim Awang Hamat in Korea/Japan 2002, both as assistant referees.

Subkhiddin was a candidate to officiate at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany but failed to clear the final hurdle. Other Asian referees vying for the South Africa finals are Matthew Breeze, from Australia, Saudi Khalil Al Ghamdi, Yuichi Nishimura, of Japan and Uzbekistan’s Ravshan Irmatov.

A place in the FIFA World Cup would also help Subkhiddin fulfil the wish of Nazri, who convinced him to take up refereeing in 1994.

“He will always live in my heart and soul, and is like never away from me,” Subkhiddin told

“I can’t help but always remember him, before, during and after the match for everything he has taught me and the guidance he has given, whether it is about movement on field or decision-making in a pressure-cooker situation.

“He is an inspiration to all of the referees in Asia. He has such a strong character and charisma. I became a referee because of him and I don’t want to disappoint him.

“I am not who I am without him.”

Subkhiddin was among the 38 referees who took part in the just-completed AFC Elite Referees Course, Batch 1.

The Cup is here

The FIFA World Cup, on a World Tour to 83 cities around the globe, arrived in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday.

The FIFA World Cup trophy tour which started its 134,017km tour of five continents, made stops in Calcutta, Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok and Jakarta before arriving at the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang on a special chartered flight Wednesday.

The authentic World Cup trophy, which is 36.8cm high and weighs 6.175kg is made of solid 18-carat gold with a base made from two layers of semi-precious malachite. It will be put on display for public viewing at the Mid Valley Convention Centre Thursday and Friday.

"We are extremely delighted with the response received thus far during the tour and we are expecting a rousing response from fans in Malaysia as well. During the trophy tour, fans will be given the chance to enjoy a rare close-up view of the authentic World Cup trophy," said FIFA spokesperson Lingling Liu after the trophy arrived at KLIA.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola General Manager for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, Antonio del Rosario said about 10,000 fans will get a life-time opportunity to view and have their pictures taken with the trophy.

The World Cup Trophy Tour, a joint effort by FIFA and Coca-Cola is being organized for the second consecutive World Cup and will cover more fans and a bigger number of cities and country throughout the journey before reaching South Africa in May, he said.

"Fans can obtain tickets with purchase of McDonald's Prosperity Burger Meal in restaurants in the Klang Valley from now while stocks last and alternatively fans can also visit the Coke booth set up at Mid Valley," he said.

The trophy which started its journey from the FIFA headquarters on Sept 21, 2009, will travel across 83 cities, covering a distance of 134,017km or more than three times the circumference of the earth before reaching South Africa on May 4, 2010 and later presented to the winner of the country that wins the world cup finals that involves 32 countries.

In 2006, the trophy had only visited 31 cities from 29 countries and covered a distance of 102,570km.

World Cup frenzy in Jakarta

Thousands of football fans came to see the actual FIFA World Cup trophy at the Jakarta Convention Centre. The picture shows a female fan kissing the glass in which the trophy is kept.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

World Cup trophy comes to Jakarta

Football fans may have to wait quite a few years to see Indonesia host a World Cup or watch their national team lift the trophy in victory.

Now, though, they can at least see the trophy in person.

As part of the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, the prize coveted by national teams across the globe will be on display Sunday at Assembly Hall in the Jakarta Convention Center from 9-11 a.m. It is the trophy’s second visit to Indonesia and fourth stop on its current tour after India, Vietnam and Thailand.

“It is part of our effort to promote football around the world. We know Indonesia has a big population, which is also football fans. We hope we can inspire more young people through the event,” tour spokeswoman Lingling Liu said on Monday.

Starting its world tour in Kolkata on Jan. 17, the trophy will visit 83 countries in 225 days and cover 138,902 kilometers before arriving in South Africa for the kickoff of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It is scheduled to visit Kuala Lumpur Wednesday once it leaves Jakarta.

After being displayed for media only at the Mulia Hotel, the trophy visited President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Presidential Palace.

“I hope this trophy can give inspiration and motivation for further football development in Indonesia. I believe that one day Indonesia will qualify for the World Cup,” Yudhoyono said.

Until that day, Indonesian football fans can at least content themselves by watching every World Cup match over the air.

Electronic City Entertainment, which owns the World Cup broadcasting license after securing the rights in 2007, announced in December 2009 that national broadcaster RCTI and Global TV were its television partners for the 2010 tournament. RCTI will air 29 group stage matches live, while Global TV will broadcast 18 matches.

“We’ll also broadcast the opening ceremony, semifinal, final and closing ceremony simultaneously on RCTI and Global TV,” said Yoyon Ukhrawinata, the World Cup project officer of Global TV.

That is in stark contrast to Southeast Asian neighbor Singapore, which is one of the few countries in the world yet to sort out its World Cup broadcast.

A report in the Straits Times newspaper on Jan. 20 said a joint bid between SingTel and StarHub had failed to secure the broadcast rights. If the impasse is not settled, fans will not even be able to see the four free-to-air matches — South Africa vs. Mexico in the opening match on June 11, the semifinals on July 6 and 7 and the final on July 11.

The report said 209 countries had secured broadcast rights, but not Singapore. FIFA reportedly wants $100 million for the rights after charging StarHub $10 million for the 2002 tournament and $15 million in 2006. -JG

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Karim sacks Sri Murigak

The General Manager of Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) Sri Murigak Madhavan was given a 24 hour notice and told to leave the organization earlier this month.

Sri Murigak (picture), when contacted, confirmed that he was asked to leave by Deputy President and de facto head of MAAU, Karim Ibrahim.

"I was given a 24 hour notice, the office locks were changed, the computer which I have been using was dismantled and all my files taken away. The staffs were told that I was not to be allowed into the office," said Sri Murigak.

He served MAAU for 13 months. His last day as GM of MAAU was 5 January 2010.

"Some people in MAAU drafted a letter on 30 Dec 2009, requesting National Sports Council to terminate my services and to appoint a new General Manager. The letter was backdated to 21 Dec, the day they came back from Laos. I should be given one month notice by MAAU or NSC.

"I was promised a salary of RM4,000. NSC to pay RM3,000 and MAAU RM1,000. I never got the payment from MAAU. I had no pay till May 2009 when NSC started paying my salary. MAAU paid my December 2008 salary in late January 2009," said Murigak, the third GM to leave MAAU.

When asked about his next move, Sri Murigak said that he will wait for directives from the NSC before making any decisions. As GM, Sri Murigak is on the payroll of NSC, who has the sole right to decide on his employment.

Karim could not be reached for comments.

Pesta Gim before Sukma

The Federal Territory Amateur Gymnastics Association (FTAGA) are expected to use the "Pesta Gim" to tune up their gymnasts for the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in June.

"We have planned the Pesta Gim, which is an inter-city gymnastics festival in March. We are expecting participation from every state and also from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand and Russia.

"It would be a good platform for our gymnasts to gauge the experience and to know their strength, especially in their preparation towards Sukma and other national and international competitions," said its president, M.P. Haridas Menon, at the association's appreciation and awards ceremony Friday night.

It was refreshing sight indeed when 150 gymnas put up a great show to make the dinner - the first for FTAGA - a memorable one. For many of the guests this was one dinner that was not boring like many others.

Haridas said gymnastics was among the top sporting events which won most medals for Federal Territory and hoped the gymnasts could gauge better result in Melaka.

For the record, the Federal Territory gymnastics team clinched six golds, two silvers and a bronze in rhythmic gymnastics and also a silver and a bronze from artistic gymnastics event at the Terengganu Sukma in 2008.

He also noted that FTAGA was considering to hold an inter-club competition among its affiliates.

During the awards ceremony, Mohd Azlan Shah (men's artistic), Raine Wong Jze Wei and Steff Chow Jia Yi (women's artistic) and Wan Siti Haniza Wan Izhar (rhythmic) received most oustanding awards for their achievements in 2008 and 2009.

Rhythmic gymnast Emy Farah Elena Mohd Johani was selected as the recipient of the Personality of the Year 2009 which was decided not only on gymnastics excellence but also strong academic results.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The funny world of football

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) may cancel this year's FAM Cup competition if there were not enough teams to participate.

"We need at least eight teams but so far only four have fulfil FAM's conditions to participate in this tournament," said FAM Vice President, Datuk Che Mat Jusoh, who is also chairman of its local competitions committee.

Eight other teams had indicated their interest to join but had yet meet the conditions, including paying a RM30,000 deposit. The deadline for entries is Feb 8.

Meanwhile, the possibility of failing to have enough teams for FAM Cup is not a problem, as far as FAM is concerned and they are planning to send the national under-23 squad to train at Everton Football Academy.

FAM secretary-general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad, who accompanied Youth and Sports Minister, Ahmad Shabery in his visit to Everton Youth Academy, said discussion were held with Everton FC on the possibility of getting their assistance in the national football development programme.

"We have also made a request for our under-23 squad to train with the club," said Azzuddin when met at Wisma FAM, Kelana Jaya.

On the Everton Youth Academy, he said it had a successful football development programme, starting at the tender age of eight.

"It has produced many top-notched players like Manchester United's Wayne Rooney," added Azzuddin.

Laureus Sports Awards in Abu Dhabi

The 2010 annual Laureus World Sports Awards is to be held in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday March 10.

The Laureus World Sports Awards is recognised as the premier honours event in the international sporting calendar and the Awards Ceremony provides a high profile focus as stars of the sporting world come together to salute the finest sportsmen and sportswomen of the year.

The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury - the 46 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the greatest athletes of today.

The 2010 Awards Ceremony, which will be broadcast to a worldwide TV audience, will be staged at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.

Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation which supports over 70 community sports projects around the world and has helped to improve the lives of more than one million young people.

Laureus Chairman and double Olympic gold medallist Edwin Moses said: “I am thrilled and delighted that the 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards is to be staged in Abu Dhabi. This is an important step for Laureus to move our Awards Ceremony to a new part of the world, and a wonderful way to start the second decade of our existence.

"The Gulf region has grown dramatically in sporting significance in the last decade and with its long and distinguished history, combined with its most modern facilities and its undoubted appeal as one of the world’s most fascinating and attractive cities, I am sure the Awards in Abu Dhabi will be an unforgettable experience.”

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said “We are proud of having co-founded this unique platform for top athletes from all over the world. Our company is closely connected with Abu Dhabi and we are very delighted that the Laureus World Sports Awards 2010 will take place in this fascinating city.”

H.E. Khadem Al Qubaisi, Chairman of Aabar Investments, host partner of the 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards, said: “We are delighted that Abu Dhabi has been chosen to host the 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards. Sport is close to the hearts of all our people. Abu Dhabi is a city that harmoniously combines historic traditions and modern values. I am confident that active construction of sport facilities and creation of well-developed infrastructure makes Abu Dhabi an ideal venue for sports events of global significance. I am confident that our partnership with the Laureus World Sports Awards will be enormously successful.

“Aabar Investments PJSC, as the host partner of the event, is honoured to bring this prestigious occasion to Abu Dhabi and to play a pivotal role in an event that touches the lives of so many globally. As a universal language, sports have no boundaries and create a positive impact on future generations. Aabar hopes to enhance awareness of the importance of sport to society and to develop its relationship with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.”

There is a two-part voting process to find the winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards. Firstly, a Selection Panel of the world’s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters from over 120 countries votes to create a shortlist of six nominations in various categories including Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year and Laureus World Comeback of the Year.

The 46 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy then vote by secret ballot to select the Award winners. The Laureus Academy members also vote for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability and the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year, the nominations for which are made by specialist panels.

The Patron of Laureus is Nelson Mandela. At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, President Mandela said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.” This has become the philosophy of Laureus; the driving force behind its work.

Laureus was founded by its Patrons Richemont and Daimler and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz, IWC Schaffhausen and Vodafone.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

King's Cup action

Thailand and Singapore both succumbed to heavy defeats in the King’s Cup in Nakhon Ratchasima, Wednesday as the 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualification rivals lost to Poland (3-1) and Denmark (5-1) respectively.

Thailand found themselves a goal down with three minutes of the first-half of the match at His Majesty the King's 80th Birthday Anniversary Stadium played with defender Kamil Glik breaking the deadlock.

Poland doubled their lead seven minutes after the interval through Patryk Malecki before striker Marcin Robak netted the third with his first international goal in the 85th minute, just 60 seconds after the Poles were reduced to ten men after midfielder Peszko Slawomir picked up his second booking of the match.

Veteran playmaker Therdsak Chaiman (pictured) grabbed a late consolation for Thailand with the inaugural AFC Champions League MVP successfully converting a stoppage-time penalty.

Meanwhile, Singapore suffered their heaviest defeat since losing 6-0 to Iran in an 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualifier a little over a year ago with reigning King’s Cup champions Denmark easing to a 5-1 win.

Five different players provided the goals for the Danes with Jim Larsen, Jakob Poulsen (penalty), Rajko Lekic, Mikkel Thygesen and Soren Rieks all on target, while Gombak United’s Fazrul Nawaz scored for the Lions.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First Myanmar League Champions

A 2-0 defeat at the hands of Yangon United in their last game of the season failed to prevent Yadanarbon FC from lifting their first Myanmar National League crown.

With the result being inconsequential following second-placed Delta United’s 1-0 loss at the hands of Okkthar United earlier in the week, the final match of the season really had no bearing on the final league standings.

By then, Yadanarbon had already been 29 points - three points adrift of Delta United. -AFF.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Football: Australia, Indonesia forge new ties

Football Federation Australia and the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) have signed an agreement committing to closer football ties, FFA said in a statement in Sydney.

The agreement covers a raft of exchange programs and an increased number of internationals between the two countries, FFA said.

Under the five-year agreement FFA will assist the PSSI in the development of coaches, players, referees, grassroots football and women’s football and host training visits for Indonesian players, coaches and officials, a statement said.

As a key part of the agreement the PSSI will assist the FFA to fully integrate into South East Asian football and the ASEAN Football Federation and provide competition for Australian teams at a range of age levels and formats.

FFA and PSSI have also agreed to encourage their respective national governments to consider football as a way to increase cooperation at political, social, economic and environmental levels, the statement said.

The memorandum was signed by FFA Chairman Frank Lowy and PSSI President Nurdin Halid.

"This is a landmark agreement with one of our closest neighbours that will see the game in both countries benefit enormously by the sharing of technical knowledge and experience," Lowy said.

"We also believe that football and our federations can be important vehicles to assist in the development of relations between our two countries and their governments."
Halid said in the statement that the agreement would be a major boost for the game in both countries and relations at all levels.

"We enjoy a close relationship with Australia and we are proud to be involved in this agreement which will bring us even closer together," Halid said.

Australia will host Indonesia in a crucial AFC Asian Cup 2011 qualification match in Brisbane on March 3. - JG.

Sorry Tigers, maybe next year

The Young Tigers, Malaysia's U-21 squad, has been denied a place in the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) 2010 S-League. But the door is not closed permanently on the squad's participation.

The FAS has given an assurance that future involvement for the Malaysian outfit was still possible.

"In fact, we did consider the Young Tigers' participation in the S-League but given a couple of technicalities which have yet to be sorted out and in view of time constraint, we could not accomodate the FA of Malaysia's request.

"Our 2010 league season kicks off on Feb 1 and we need to give other teams enough time to prepare for the competition," said FAS secretary-general Winston Lee after the announcement of the teams taking part in the 2010 S-League at the FAS headquarters in Singapore, Monday.

The three foreign teams in the 12-team S-League are the two newcomers, Beijing Guo'an from China and the France-based Etoile, with the Japanese team Albirex Niigata retaining their spot.

The Malaysian Young Tigers, under coach Azrrai Khor Abdullah, are hoping for a favourable response from the S-League, and even FA of Malaysia secretary-general Datuk Azuddin Ahmad was confident that the S-League would accomodate the Malaysian outfit.

"But we are not giving up hope. We still want the team to be in the S-League, maybe next year. I spoke to Winston (Lee) this morning and it's unfortunate that certain technical matters could not be resolved in time for participation in the 2010 season," said Azuddin.

And the FA of Singapore has also acknowledged that the participation of a Malaysian team in their S-League would be beneficial for both countries.

"Malaysian football is on the rise again after their national team won the gold medal in the recent Laos Sea Games...and we would love to have a Malaysian team in the S-League in the near future. - Agencies.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My heart goes out to you

Faridah Hashim, wife of former Sports Editor of Utusan Malaysia, Khalid Saad passed away early Sunday morning.
I feel sad for my friend Khalid, who was my assistant in Utusan. I have known both of them for a long time. May her soul rest in peace.
Khalid's address is: 37, Jalan 4/ 11 E, Bandar Baru Bangi.

Daniel is the choice

Top national swimmer Daniel Bego and the national women's badminton team were named the Best Male and Female Olympians of 2009, respectively, at the Olympian Night held at Wisma OCM, Saturday.

Daniel, 20, who hails from Kuching, was selected for having won five gold medals and having rewritten four records, in the 100m, 200m, 400m freestyle and 100m butterfly, at the 25th SEA Games in Laos last month.

He won the fifth gold in the 200m butterfly event but fell short of rewriting the record.

This is Daniel's second Olympian award. He won the first one in 2007 after having qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in three events and having bagged two golds, in the 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle, as well as having set new records at the Korat SEA Games in 2007.

"I am very happy with my achievement. After this, my focus is on winning medals at this year's Asian Games (in Guangzhao, China) and Commonwealth Games (in New Delhi, India)," he said after the awards presentation.

The women's badminton team won the gold medal after beating Indonesia in the final at the 25th SEA Games in Laos, thus ending a 34-year gold drought for the country in the event.

The 10-member team comprises singles players Wong Mew Choo, Lydia Cheah, Tee Jing Yi, Sannatasah Saniru and doubles players Chong Sook Chin, Woon Khe Wei, Goh Liu Ying, Ng Hui Lin, Chin Eei Hui and Wong Pei Tty.

Both Daniel and the women's badminton team received a trophy and RM10,000 cash each from Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar.

Meanwhile, OCM deputy president Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan was awarded the International Olympic Council (IOC) Trophy "Sport and the Fight against Doping".

Saturday, January 16, 2010

FIFA asking for too much

FOR months, SingTel and StarHub rejected repeated inquiries on their joint bid for football's 2010 World Cup broadcast rights, insisting any revelation could jeopardise negotiations with Fifa. On Friday, that wall of silence was shattered.

'We understand the importance of the World Cup to Singaporeans but Fifa has been asking for an unreasonable amount,' said SingTel Singapore CEO Allen Lew.

And if the impasse with football's world governing body continues, Mr Lew warned that Singaporeans will have to make do with just four live games on free-to-air television.

The irony is the telcos may be in this bind because of last year's bidding war for the English Premier League (EPL) TV rights.

It is believed to have cost StarHub just $10 million to show the 2002 World Cup, held in South Korea and Japan, and $15 million for the 2006 edition in Germany, for which viewers had to pay between $15.75 to $26.25.

Mr Lew insisted on Friday that SingTel will not be held to ransom. He said: 'SingTel is financially responsible to its shareholders. And we have doubts whether Singaporeans are willing to pay so much. We genuinely want to work with Fifa to get the World Cup rights. We still hope to close the deal with Fifa. Hopefully, sense will prevail.' - ST.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

NSA's should take over MSSM competitions

A lot has been said and written about the budget cut that has resulted in Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) cancelling 14 events at national level. All these events will only be held at district and state levels.

And, the RM10 million for developing football is another issue that needs to be handled properly by all concern.

From what I gather, the budget slash is not specificially at MSSM but an across the board thing that has affected many other ministries.

Are we supposed to cry about it? Well it is sad but this could also be the break needed for the National Sports Associations (NSAs) to take charge of the national level competitions because not having it will eventually affect their sport.

Also, this could also be an oppurtunity for NSAs who have been asking for their sport to be included in MSSM calender, to show their interest and work towards developing their sport from schools. Remember this cancellations is because of money and I am sure MSSM would have no problems working together to "re-organize" the 11 events, if they have a financial commitment from the NSAs.

The NSAs should start thingking out of the box and prepare for new challenges. If all these years they have left the schools part to the government, now they have to run their sport. For now it looks like the NSAs have no choice because the MSSM tournaments are the best to spot talents.

While looking into the various options, the NSAs should also approach Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) to finance the MSSM tournaments. OCM has almost RM25 million in cash and assets, and I believe they would more than willing to help.

The money for football is a different story. I had a chat with Datuk Azzudin Ahmad (FAM General Secretary) recently and I told him if this funds are going to be used for Academies, then it is the same as throwing the money into the sea.

The Academies is a failed system, simply because wrong people were appointed and the wrong people did the wrong selections. Many other factors caiused it to fail.

According to Azzuddin, FAM is aware of that and are now doing the necessary changes. Only time wil tell.

You are not invited

Many have been invited to attend the Annual Dinner of Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) this week. Many too have been struck of the list for reasons known only to the person who quitely carried out his the striking -off act.

The names struck off include those who have served in OCM and the list, I am told, got a bit longer this time. But, I am sure the President, Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar is not aware of this and would never get involved in such a thing.

I think two paragraph is enough because it is sickening. And, these are the people who want to plan a five year stratergy. Are you surprised that sports is going down the drains? Sheesh.

Soon....Taufik Hidayat Arena

Taufik Hidayat has proven that not all athletes and ex-athletes want to hold positions so that they can travel and talk for the rest of their lives. Some, like Taufik, are ready to invest and see their sport reach greater heights.

Athletes like Taufik deserves to be called icons and should be leaders. Less talk, more action.

Just because Taufik Hidayat (picture) resigned from the Indonesian national team training camp and turned professional last year does not mean that his life is any less hectic.

In fact, busy is just how the former world and Olympic champion wants to be.

Competition alone does not drive Taufik anymore. His plans to build the Taufik Hidayat Arena, a 6,600 square meter sports complex in Kelapa Dua, Ciracas, East Jakarta, are set to begin after three years of preparation.

The 28-year-old wants to realize his long-time dream of managing his own training camp for talented youngsters. However, he said the arena’s proposed location, a five-minute drive from the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) training camp in Cipayung, was only a coincidence.

“I don’t mean to be the PBSI’s competitor. Actually, I want to help the PBSI to boost the players’ regeneration by creating more talented players through my project,” the 2004 Athens Olympics gold medalist and 2005 world champion told the Jakarta Globe on Monday in an interview at his home in South Jakarta.

“As we all know, Indonesian badminton is going through a rough season. I grew up with badminton and live from it. I think it is time for me to dedicate myself to a better Indonesia.”

Designed by M. Ridwan Kamil of Urbane Indonesia, an architecture consulting company in Bandung, West Java, Taufik Hidayat Arena is scheduled to be an asymmetric building with eight badminton courts and two futsal courts. Construction is scheduled to begin in March or April.

The arena’s unusual look was intended to relect his personality, Taufik said.

"I love being different, and the building’s design is different from other badminton stadiums," he said.

When complete, the arena will also include 10 rooms which could be used to house as many as 20 shuttlers.

In order to realize his dream, Taufik and his supporters will need plenty of financial backing. While he refused to reveal the exact cost, he did offer a hint.

“If the land costs Rp 1 million per square meter, I need more than Rp 6 billion for the land alone,” Taufik said. “The money will come from my family, sponsors, donors and investors, as well as my pocket. It’s a big cost.”

Working with his long-time coach, Mulyo Handoyo, Taufik said he hopes to manage a team that is tasked with finding up-and-coming shuttlers in local and national competitions, in addition to those already in his badminton school.

"We will cooperate with sponsors, such as Milo, where I am trusted as its ambassador, to support them. We can offer them scholarships," he said.

Taufik is not about to forget his on-court commitments in the midst of giving back to the sport. In addition to the arena, his other two big projects are to win the All England and Indonesia Open Super Series titles.

Victory in the 2010 All England would end Indonesia’s title drought in that tournament since 2003, when Sigit Budiarto and Candra Wijaya on the men’s doubles championship. The country’s last men’s singles crown came when Heryanto Arbi won successive titles in 1993 and 1994, beating Joko Suprianto and Ardy Wiranata.

Taufik lost in the All England final in 1999 and 2000.

He also said he wants to beat Ardy’s record of seven Indonesia Open championships. Taufik won his home Super Series in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006.

While he left the national team in search of more flexibility with his schedule, Taufik said he would be play for Indonesia again — with one condition.

"I won't take a sudden call. They [the PBSI] have to tell me soon whenever they need me, so I can arrange my schedule and prepare myself better," he said. "I also have to discuss it with my family and ask for their permission to join the national team again.”

Demands on his time will be even greater later this year, though this burden may be his happiest of all. Taufik and his wife, Ami Dianti Gumelar, are expecting their first child in June.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New host for 2013 SEA Games

Singapore’s sports minister confirmed on Tuesday that the city-state wanted to pull out of hosting the 2013 Southeast Asian Games because of delays in construction of its Sports Hub.

Vivian Balakrishnan, the minister of community development, youth and sports, told Parliament that Singapore had informed the SEA Games Federation that it “would be ideal” to host the biennial event in 2015 when the facility was ready.

“The SEA Games is a significant event in Singapore’s sporting calendar,” he said, adding that Singapore would like the Games to be the first international event held in the Sports Hub.

“I therefore informed the president of the SEA Games Federation that it would be ideal for Singapore to host the 2015 SEA Games instead of 2013. He informed me that there are several other countries that are keen to host the 2013 Games,” he said.

Singapore’s decision to pull out of hosting the biennial regional games follows repeated delays to the 1.87 billion Singapore dollar ($1.34 billion) Sports Hub, originally scheduled to be completed this year.

The facility, including a 55,000-seater stadium with a retractable roof, would have staged major sports such as swimming, athletics and football. It could also potentially host top-level rugby after Japan included matches in Singapore and Hong Kong in its successful bid for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Balakrishnan said the project’s delays were due to high construction costs and the global economic downturn.

Laos hosted the 2009 SEA Games in December and Indonesia is set to host the 2011 edition. -JG.

RM10 million for football fund

The government agreed to raise the rates of the Sports Incentive Scheme rewards to encourage athletes to excel and make Malaysia a sports powerhouse.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the government also agreed to give RM10 million to the Football Development Plan fund set up this year to develop the sport from the grassroot level.

"These two incentives are based on the Malaysian contingent's success at the 25th SEA Games in Laos last December. The Cabinet is satisfied and proud of the performance where the 40 gold, 40 silver and 59 bronze medals won had exceeded the target."

Najib said this in his speech at the presentation of cheques for the incentives to the 62 people who won gold medals at the SEA Games held in Vientiane from Dec 9 to 19 last year.

Under the incentive scheme, a gold medallist in the biennial Games currently receives RM5,000 and an additional RM1,000 is given for a Games record.

The incentive reward is RM80,000 for a gold medal, RM40,000 for silver and RM20,000 for bronze in the Commonwealth and Asian Games.

For the Olympic Games, it is RM1 million for gold, RM300,000 for silver and RM100,000 for bronze.

Najib said the incentive scheme was introduced when he was the Youth and Sports Minister from 1986 to 1990, to motivate Malaysian sportsmen and sportswomen to win gold at the SEA, Asian, Commonwealth and Olympics Games.

"As proposed by the current Youth and Sports Minister (Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek), the Cabinet agreed to review the incentive scheme. The details will be announced soon," he said.

He, however, reminded the athletes to continue to strive for success at a higher level and not just at the national and regional levels.

On the Football Development Plan, Najib said the RM10 million given to the fund was based on the success of the national squad coached by K. Rajagobal in ending Malaysia's 20-year wait for a gold medal at the SEA Games recently.

"We last won gold at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in 1989. I was the Youth and Sports Minister at the time and I felt how sweet the success. And football is the most popular sport in this country."

He said the government agreed with the minister's proposal to implement the Sports Development Plan from the grassroot level with the cooperation of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

Najib said the plan would be implemented systematically and would not just focus on the players, but also the coaches and technical officers.

In his speech, he also mentioned the sports which contributed the most gold medals for Malaysia at the recent SEA Games such as diving (six), karate (five) and silat (four), as well as boxing (two) which was not targeted earlier.

"The climax was of course the football final which Malaysia won, which all Malaysians had been yearning for from the sport for a long time," he said.

Melaka begins in style

Melaka began their Premier League campaign for the 2010 season in style when they tamed Shahzan Muda 3-0 at the Stadium Hang Tuah, Melaka.

Striker Zulindra Shah Putra Adam scored two goals, finding the net the first time in the 35th minute and scoring the other goal six minutes before the final whistle. K.Depan Sakwati scored Melaka's second goal in the 77th minute.

Other results: Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) FC 1 Pos Malaysia 1-0, Sarawak 0 PDRM 0, Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM) 1 Harimau Muda 1, Sabah 0 KL Felda United FC 0, Selangor PKNS 2 Majlis Perbandaran Muar 0.

Monday, January 11, 2010

World Cup fever

Although the FIFA World Cup in South Africa is six months away, football afficionados in Jakarta can already grab the merchandise as several products have already hit Indomaret chain stores.

Pictures of the tournament official mascot Zakumi, an anthropomorphized leopard with green hair, have begun appearing on mugs, T-shirts, piggy banks and drinking bottles, and are sold on store racks.

Nenny Kristyawati, the spokeswoman of Indomaret, however said that not all merchandise would be immediately available.

“We plan to sell 300 kinds of merchandise, but most are being manufactured overseas. We hope by mid-January that merchandise will be available in stores,” said Kristyawati. Among World Cup souvenirs not available yet include hats, pins, pens and Zakumi puppets.

According to Indomaret management, 70% of merchandise is made overseas, while the rest is made in Indonesia.

Nenny said that the cheapest merchandise on offer is the piggy banks, selling for Rp 10,000 (USD1) each, while the most expensive are replicas of the World Cup trophy, selling for Rp 2 million (USD1,100) each.

Indomaret management expect to see merchandise sales reaching Rp 1 billion (USD110,000) by July this year. Billions of viewers are expected to tune in to the event’s 64 games.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup will take place in South Africa, and will run from June 11 until July 11.

Indomaret has won the right to operate the FIFA World Cup 2010 Official Event stores in all 4,000 of its retail outlets across Indonesia. About 43% of their stores are located in Greater Jakarta.

Inaugural SAM-KBS Media Awards

The Sportswriters Association of Malaysia announced Monday that a total of RM40,000 in prize money are being offered to winners of the inaugural SAM-KBS Media Awards this year.

The Media Awards would be held together with the annual SAM-100Plus Sports Excellence Award ceremony.

The tentative dates are February 20 or 21 (Saturday / Sunday). For the first time ever, the event would be organised during lunch time, to ensure a bigger turnout of members.

There are a total of seven (7) categories for SAM-KBS Media Awards - Best Overall (open), Best News Report (print media), Best News Report (electronic media), Focus and Issues (print and electronic media), Special Report & Commentary (print media), Special Report & Commentary (electronic media) and photography.

The main prize - for Best Overall - offers winner a sum of RM7,000, a trophy and a certificate.

Winners of six categories will each receive RM3,000, a trophy and certificates. All five shortlisted nominees in each six categories will receive consolation prizes - RM500 each, a souvenir and certificates.

Independent body, Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) will be engaged to handle all matters related to SAM-KBS Media Awards, to ensure fair play at all times.

For the SAM-100Plus Sports Excellence Award, chosen athlete will win RM10,000. All SAM members will play a major role in determining the winner this time around. SAM exco will shortlist the names of deserving athletes with the assistance from Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and National Sports Council (NSC).

SAM members would then be asked to select the Best Athlete in a voting system. The athlete with highest number of votes would be declared the winner. Please look out for entry form to cast your pick for SAM-100Plus Sports Excellence Awards and also notices and details for the SAM-KBS Media Awards soon.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Change is wise

HRH Prince Feisal Al-Hussein of Jordan and Chinese speedskater Yang Yang are among six candidates nominated by the International Olympic Committee Executive Board for election as IOC members in Vancouver in February.

HRH Prince Feisal (picture), who is Chairman of the OCA’s Sports and Peace Committee and President of the Jordanian Olympic Committee, was nominated as an individual member.

Yang Yang, an Olympic speedskating champion, was nominated as an active athlete.

The IOC now has 108 members after the terms of office of four members expired at the end of 2009, including He Zhenliang of China. The total number of IOC members cannot exceed 115.

Winning start for Selangor

Selangor began the 2010 Super League season in style when they lifted the Sultan Ahmad Shah Cup after beating Negeri Sembilan 2-1 in the charity match at Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium, Paroi, Saturday night.

The host team opened accounts and thrilled the 25,000 spectators after Idris Karim headed in a free-kick taken by captian Rezal Zambery Yahya to beat Selangor keeper Hamsani Ahmad in the 27th minute.

The match was witnessed by Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir, Tunku Besar Tampin Syed Razman Syed Idrus Al Qadri, Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

After the interval, the 'The Red Giants' coached by K. Devan leveled the score at the 76th minute with a goal by Safee Sali and seven minutes later D. Surendran put in the winning goal for Selangor.

Other results: Johor 0 Kedah 3, Pahang 2 Perak 1, Perlis 0 Johor FC 1, KL Plus FC 3 Penang 1, Kuala Lumpur 1 T-Team 1, Terengganu 1 Kelantan 1.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hendri speaks for Indonesian fans

When Hendri Mulyadi (picture) ran onto the field and tried to score on Oman goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi, he represented the disgust and disappointment of all Indonesian football fans.

Al-Habsi failed to play along, saving the 20-year-old’s shot and adding to the frustration of Indonesia’s 2-1 Asian Cup qualifying loss.

“I know what I did was wrong, but I was so disappointed with the team,” Hendri said after being questioned by police. “I can’t stand it. Why is it so hard for them to win? It’s always either lose or draw.” Fans across the national are asking the same question.

Indonesian national teams of all age groups are at the lowest point in their history. The Under-23 team made unwanted history by going winless at the 2009 Southeast Asian Games, including a first loss to Laos. The Under-19 team failed to reach the 2010 AFC U-19 Championship hosting its qualifying group.

Now, for the first time since 1992, the Asian Cup will go on without Indonesia.

Who is to blame? Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) officials, still confident in their ability to manage the country’s favorite sport, refuse to take responsibility.

After the SEA Games debacle, PSSI secretary general Nugraha Besoes said, “FA officials don’t step down just because England doesn’t win the World Cup.”

PSSI chairman Nurdin Halid managed to smile throughout an interview after the Oman loss.

“With this kind of quality, we know we can’t compete against other Asian teams,” he told Metro TV. “We must overhaul football development by preparing a better junior development program.”

Junior development under Nurdin, who took charge in 2003 and will hold his post until 2011, has not involved improving junior leagues or football academies. Rather, the association chose to spent Rp 20 billion to send a select group of youngsters to play in the Uruguayan youth leagues until 2012.

Junior leagues in Indonesia are unheard of, the most notable being the Medco Under-15 League run by current Indonesian Golf Association president Arifin Panigoro.

Indonesia coach Benny Dollo refused to take responsibility, blaming the domestic league.

“The boys are not in good condition as we played in the middle of [the Indonesian Super League season]. Rahmat Latief just played a few days prior to the match,” he said on Wednesday.

It is not a stretch to suggest good competitions make for good players and teams. In Indonesia, though, the top-flight league and national team are seemingly constantly at odds. The PSSI continually insists on long-term training camps for each national team game, which in turn forces league administrators to alter their schedule in search of a win-win situation for club and country.

The end result is lose-lose, though, with players too tired to star for either team.

It is time for all football stakeholders in Indonesia to come together and find a way out of this mess instead of protecting their piece of the pie. They must focus on developing young talent and improving the leagues.

Forget splurging Rp 10 trillion in the vain hope of hosting the 2022 World Cup. If the PSSI has that kind of cash lying around, it would be better served to use it on developing football at the grassroots level, which in turn will produce better players for club and country.

That way, there will be no more Hendri Mulyadis. - JG.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The full-time controversy

With nothing much to shout about, the suggestion by Sports Minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabeery Chik to have a full-time national team has become a much talked about thing. Here are some views:

Datuk Peter Velappan, Former AFC General Secretary:

"FA of Malaysia's decision to have a full-time national team is a step backwards and could have drastic consequences on the future of the sport in the country. Clubs are the nucleus for football development and FAM's idea of a full-time national squad is akin to building a house without a foundation.

"It also goes against the standard practice of development. How were the players going to remain competitive if they did not play week-in, week-out. The decision to have a full-time national team is, frankly speaking, an amazing one and it is totally against how development works.

"Fifa (football's world governing body) has a development pyramid and it starts from the grassroots. No team can be built from the top but this is exactly what FAM is planning. Development should start at the grassroots and both Fifa and AFC have tournaments designed for players in the various age groups. Developmental tournaments start at the Under-12 level and go on till the players are 18 or 19 years old.

"At that level, we can already see who are the players who will go on to don national colours and who will be playing club level football. This was a system which Malaysia had in the 1960s and 70s. Those were the golden years of Malaysian football as the game was played seriously at all levels. It is, except for in Malaysia, still pretty much the same across the world today and two leading Asian examples are Japan and South Korea.

"We need players at the grassroots playing regular football at the district, state, national and international levels. Only then will they progress and only then can the local league be of decent quality.

"What about other players? How will they make the national team? I also believe that the move will cause a friction between FAM and the state/club teams as nobody wants to lose their best players."

Windsor John Paul, International Football Consultant and Former Fifa Development Officer:

"A FULL-TIME national team is an ingenious idea that has yet to work anywhere else. Winning the SEA Games gold medal in Laos could prove to be just like China's solitary World Cup finals appearance in 2002 if measures are not taken to ensure quality throughout the structure.

"The Fifa-assisted Grassroots Development Programme, which is provided at virtually no cost to interested countries, can provide that. Fifa provides technical assistance and training, while the countries who take up the offer are required to invest in grassroots development more seriously.

"This programme has resulted in China being accorded the Best Development Nation award by Fifa at the same World Football Awards night where Lionel Messi was named Player of the Year last month.

"We worked on one key principle -- that good coaches make good players. For that, firstly we had to go down to the basics. China had spent so much time and so much focus was put on the league and their national team, but they had not managed to produce players of quality.

"They never made it to any age group World Cup final rounds, nor were they in the Women's World Cup. But they were obsessed with the national league and national team.

"The first part of the structure was where Fifa stepped in to study the Chinese structure and identify what needed to be done right from the base of the pyramid and it eventually saw school teachers being relieved of coaching duties with school teams.

"Fifa trained ex-players to be coaches. We set the criteria for coaches to be involved in this programme to comprise those who had at least played club football, not teachers. This saw China breaking new ground, even doing away with their rigid school system rules and allowed for children at the grassroots level to be trained by qualified coaches instead of teachers.

"We increased the base of qualified coaches and these were former players. They were then employed by the CFA or their respective district or provincial FAs to coach children at schools.

"This was necessary to ensure that the right coaching is given to children from the very beginning, at the grassroots level for children between six and 12 years old, in order for the system to produce quality players.

"This also gave a chance to ex-players to continue to earn a living from football, and they received proper training from Fifa for that purpose. Teachers are an important part of the structure, but not as coaches.

"The Chinese FA ensured that there were sufficient festivals and tournaments for all age groups. When the players reach the youth level (13 to 20 years old as categorised by Fifa), there has to be leagues. Players cannot be playing in carnival-type tournaments at this stage as they need to be playing continuously in order to improve as players. It cannot just be one-off tournaments.

"The success of Under-17 world champions Switzerland, was due to a similar project. Switzerland shares a similar problem with Malaysia, in that it is a country where education of children takes priority over sports, so there had to be a programme tailor-made for that country.

"There is now one of the best development structures in the world in Switzerland, which is tied to their club structure. We have already confirmed that the way to ensure continued quality and success is by investing in the grassroots."

"Attachments with foreign teams, as the Sports Ministry and the FA of Malaysia (FAM) had ceremoniously agreed on Monday as part of the package that sees selected players committing full-time to the national team, may be too early to call.

"Culturally, I don't think we have the players prepared yet. When I was development officer at FAM, we tried it with Juzaili Samion, Fadzli Shaari and Akmal Rizal Ahmad Rakhli, as we did with Titus James Palani, all in France.

"Despite all efforts to make it as comfortable as possible for our players, it didn't work out. Europe is an entirely different culture, so it could work with preparing players first with short stints in Vietnam, Thailand or Japan, where leagues are better than ours, funded by the government. Send them to Europe when they are ready."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Late goal sinks Malaysia

UAE 1 Malaysia 0
Iran 3 Singapore 1
Bahrain 4 HKG 0
Kuwait 2 Australia 2
China 0 Syria 0
Indonesia 1 Oman 2
Thailand 0 Jordan 0
Vietnam 1 Lebanon 1

Second-half substitute Ahmed Khalil struck in the third minute of stoppage-time as UAE sealed their place at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup finals with a 1-0 win over Malaysia at Al Shabab Stadium in Dubai, Wednesday.

The home side dominated the entire contest but failed to convert any of their chances until former AFC Young Player of the Year Khalil curled home from the edge of the area.

Malaysia had to win their final game to keep their slender hopes of joining Uzbekistan in qualifying from the three team Group C alive, but the UAE's second win leaves Malaysia without a point from their four games.

Even though they knew a point would be enough to qualify for the finals ahead of their final game against Uzbekistan on March 3, the UAE began strongly and the home side came close to an opener after just seven minutes as Ismaeil Matar (pictured) was denied by Malaysia goalkeeper Mohd Farizal.

But the UAE failed to maintain their strong start and Malaysia fought back into the contest although the visitors failed to threaten UAE goalkeeper Majed Naser.

The home side regained control of the match as the first half progressed and again came close to opening the scoring after 22 minutes but Farizal turned away Matar's free-kick.

The UAE's dominance continued after the break but they still lacked the final touch in front of goal as Farizal again came to Malaysia's rescue four minutes after the hour mark as the visiting goalkeeper turned away Hamdan Al Kamali's free-kick.

Mahmoud Khamis was the next to go close for the home side as he fired wide before Fares Juma fired over the crossbar with 10 minutes remaining.

Malaysia nearly kept their slim hopes of qualifying alive in the last minute but a free-kick from captain Mohamad Aidil was straight at UAE goalkeeper Naser.

And with time running out Abdulsalam Jumaa found Khalil and the substitute curled a sublime strike past Farizal from the edge of the area.

Meanwhile, Iran defeated Singapore 3-1 in the Asian Cup 2011 qualifiers to secure their berth at the Qatar tournament, while the Singaporeans must wait until Matchday 6 to secure their own place.

In Manama, Bahrain coach Milan Macala declared it was mission accomplished after seeing Ismaeel Abdulatif fire a nine-minute hat-trick in a 4-0 demolition of Hong Kong that qualified the Gulf nation for the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar.

In Hangzhou, host China and Syria drew 0-0 in an Asian Cup qualifier on Wednesday with both teams having already advanced to next year's tournament in Qatar.

Friday, January 1, 2010

No new beginings for Sports

Happy New Year to all readers of this blog. Through this posting, I would like to take a look at some sports in the country and see if there is any hope for the future. Also, to give some suggestions.

Many of us are looking foward to an excellent New Year with new resolutions and stuff like that. Let's hope this new new decade, would be a decade of changes for sports in Malaysia. It is not wrong to wish for good things even though we know it will never happen, anytime soon. Here are some of my wishes for sport in 2010.

I suggest that Encik Karim Ibrahim be made the President of Malaysian Amateur Athletics Association (MAAU). He is very dedicated and committed. And, probably Dato' Sieh Kuo Chi can be appointed as the Adviser.

This sports has progressed well with some hard work by Korean coaches and an extensive development programme. However, the National Archery Association of Malaysia is totally dependent on fundings from National Sports Council (NSC). This is not good and a change in leadership is needed so that new faces can bring new ideas and market this sport.

Both the association is headed by veteran politician, Dato' Gan Boon Leong from Melaka. Many are hoping that he will step aside and let a new generation of leaders take over, but lately he was mentioned to some close friends that he wants to make some changes in the weighlifting federation.

Untill some major change takes place, these two sport will struggle along with almost no sponsor willing to come near them. What a pity.

There is so much attention to the national team that all other needs seem to be done just for the sake of doing, or fulfilling some requirements. I have always maintained that for badminton to grow, a strong club system must be developed. That's how Indonesia grew and China continues to grow.

BAM, please use the monies that you have to start a new system where clubs will be core for development. There is some emphasis on schools, but that is seasonal.

Datuk Mohd Nadzmi Salleh was recently re-elected to lead the association untill 2013. Would he be able to do things which he could not do for the past ten years? BAM has a bonus system which is a joke. A player can receive reward every three months just by being world number one.

A player can be number one by just participating in as many tournaments as possible and make sura he gets in the quater finals of the main one, he does not need to win tournaments which the nation expects him to win and he will be highly rewarded.

Continuous to be active at grassroots and have a good administrative system, which pleases their main sponsor, Petronas.

The beatiful game in Malaysia is in a confused state. One one hand the authorities concerned want to implement winning formulas, as found in sucessful nations. On the other hand, they make decisions which are mind boggling. And, now there is total confusion, with the Minister making weird suggestions.

I hope the game remains beautiful in Malaysia and there is no other way except a total change at national and state levels. Professionals must take over the sport. Politicians, please move aside for the sake of the beautiful game. All the millions being spend and to be spend would be a waste without a commitment to change.

These two are good recreational activities which bring economical gains to those who excell. Thank You.

They are happy with the routine. Enough money for everything the want and they want to stay on in their post. With all the effort and funds, after all these years we do not have any player which is of world standing. The officials are happy doing the routine, a trip here and there and a big help from OCM to go places, while assuring the votes for their mentors.

If things continue like this, table tennis will just be another after-office time sport or maybe an interesting activity in team building programmes.

If they continue at the same rate, this sport will soon be a beach event with no one really keen to take it up seriously. After all these years, volleyball should already be having a semi-pro league. But, it does not. So sad.

Have good potential to grow but the national bodies must go down to thgrassroots. Start with private and international schools. Improvise to popularize. Have 'mini' events, using smaller fields to promote the sport.

One of the few sports where Malaysia can qualify for World and Olympics. More effeort must be given to help the states improve their structure. And, while at it, help the states get rid of rotten officials.

The rest, all the best to you.