Friday, April 14, 2017
Friday, April 7, 2017
Friday, March 31, 2017
TMJ’s highway or no way
NEWLY elected FA of Malaysia president, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, the Tengku Mahkota of Johor (TMJ, wasted no time in taking immediate decisions which might have ruffled some feathers in the football family, especially among the anguished in the elections.
TMJ’s decisions among them included the removal of national coach Ong Kim Swee to be replaced by Mario Gomez, Ong given the task to handle the national Under-23 team and the removal of Frank Bernhardt, before any Council or team management meeting, saw some shocked faces.
But a majority, especially those who were elected in for the new term of office, had no qualms because it was what they had bargained for.
TMJ when he was approached to head the national body by many affiliates, in his meetings with the representatives of the State FAs had clearly outlined that if he was to head FAM, he has to be given the mandate to manage the body he deems fit and all of them have to support him.
He has made it crystal clear that they will have to follow his momentum and pace as he likes to do things fast and get it done. He had also said that he has his style of working and the Exco will have to follow him and his style.
In fairness to TMJ, he had meet the new Exco briefly after the elections before he met the Media to take centre stage with his announcements of immediate action. He has asked them to support whatever decisions he has to announce.
FA of Malaysia’s ways of common consensus through Council decisions and the various committees may have seen its last days.
The fact that 80 percent of the delegates from the states for last Saturday’s election comprised of young and new faces and had given the mandate for a sweeping change in the new Exco line-up, underlines that they wanted changes.
And they knew fully well what they were bargaining for with TMJ helming the national body.
One senior football official said: “For far too long FAM have been managed by common consensus and sometimes good proposals have been thrown out under their previous presidents because State FAs opposed for reasons best known to them.
“This has affected the development of football and brought us to our current status.
“It is about time we tried something new and with TMJ being young and proven himself with his club JDT, it is about time we tried something his way and need to give him full support.
“It may look dictatorial, but what has common consensus with agendas attached, brought us to? Let us allow TMJ to work his way. What have we to lose?”
However, it is important that TMJ gets full backing and not back-biting from the State FAs.
Anyway, TMJ is a man who tolerates no nonsense and non-compliants will probably have no place in his team.
But still the State FAs play a big role in success or failure.
It is important that all in State FAs Council are in the same page of TMJ’s vision and style.
States FAs will be expecting to the new regime to put many things right for them, especially in terms of funding coming from broadcasting rights.
But the State FAs if they get their windfalls need to spend wisely and channel it to the right areas to ensure a bright future for Malaysian football.
TMJ is passionate about football development and wants the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) to come directly under the jurisdiction of FAM which includes all funding (presently under the Ministry of Sports) and rightly so.
He believes that grassroots development which is non-existence among a majority of State FAs and clubs, should buck up and take the matter seriously and make it their priority agenda.
However, a word of caution though – in the past FAM had tried to ensure all State FAs give importance to development and specified substantial funding from the grant through previous sponsors (Dunhill), was to go towards development, but it never happened.
The allocation went to other areas, especially the management of the M-League teams and acquisition of foreign players and coaches. When questioned by FAM, they turn around and say it is up to them to spend the money how they deem fit!
Maybe this time around, State FAs should only be given their development allocation after putting the programme in place and payment to come direct from FAM. This way, it will ensure that the development programmes are in place, up and running and monitored.
Indeed, exciting times are expected for Malaysian football under the new regime, but the State FAs are a notorious lot with their own agenda and national interest is their lowest priority.
TMJ has to change this mentality and maybe his way of doing things is the only way to shake up Malaysian football.
But TMJ must be careful not to rely totally on foreigners and even if he does, he gets to get the best and at the same time given emphasis to have locals as understudies.
The Exco must be prepared for an earful when they meet for the first time under TMJ in Kota Kinabalu next Saturday.
This already is a change from the norm of FAM’s administration, as TMJ wants to have meetings in the States rather than at the headquarters all the time.
TMJ is expected to outline his style of management and more sweeping changes are expected.
Some may be difficult to absorb or swallow, but it is going to be TMJ’s way and the sooner they get used to it, the better it will be for a smooth transition.
If resistance persists from some quarters, TMJ might even take the road to throw in the towel, for if changes for the betterment of Malaysian football cannot gain support, then he is merely wasting his time, effort and energy.
However, judging from the positive feedback and support, there seems to be hope for change.
But whether it for real or just being in number for the sake of it, time will tell.
It must be underlined that the face of Malaysian football cannot be changed overnight.
Damaged has been done over two decades and any resurrection will take time.
The national team cannot become a champion team overnight either because we still have the same crop of players. We may improve slightly under a new management with new ideas, but we cannot turn old horses to championship breed, while our young breed have still a long way to become classy players.
Quality long term programmes, patience, hard work, dedication and a concerted effort by all will be hallmark to seeing the light at the end of a long tunnel.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
‘JACK NICKLAUS OF MALAYSIA’
By Tony Mariadass
Guna’s green, green grass of home
[Interview conducted May, 2016 in Kuala Kubu Baru]
Golfer Periasamy Gunasegaran is still staying relevant in the game thanks to his club – Kuala Kubu Baru Golf and Country Club (KKBGC) – and close friends from this town.
Born and bred in this small town, Gunasegaran, who is still best remembered as the closest to being the first Malaysian to win the Malaysian Open in 1994 when he lost in an epic eight-hole play-off to Sweden’s Joakim Haeggmann, is still making a name for himself at the game.
At 53, Gunasegeran won the Asian Senior Master 2016 at the Tering Bay Golf and Country Club in Batam in early April to book the only ticket from Asia to compete in the PGA Senior Tour champions event – the Insperity Invitational (May 2-8) - at the Woodlands Country Club in Houston.
Playing in a field of 81 golfers which was rated as one the strongest field of the Tour, Gunasegaran had for company the who’s who list of golfers with the likes of 2015 champion Ian Woosnam , seven other past winners of the event—Larry Nelson (2004), Mark McNulty (2005), Jay Haas (2006), John Cook (2009), Brad Faxon (2011), Fred Funk (2012) and Esteban Toledo (2013) and in addition, five World Golf Hall-of-Fame members - Tom Kite, Mark O’Meara, Curtis Strange, Colin Montgomerie and Sandy Lyle.
“I was simply amazed at field. It was a lifetime dream come true as the field had a combination of golf’s legends, new PGA tour champions members, Hall of Fame members and the best players in the world age 50 and over,” said Gunasegran who finished 48th.
“You say anything about these legends, but they were a friendly lot who had time for everyone. I was not only rubbing shoulders with them, but had them giving words of encouragement and having conversations with them. It was an experience of a lifetime for me.”
Guansegeran said that he had to thank his club, where he had started off as a caddy in 1972 to have become an amateur golfer, a professional and still playing.
“I owe it to my club members who have very supportive in me making golf a career. Without their financial support I will not have achieved all I have till date,” said the resident pro of KKBGC.
“Besides my club, another hometown friend, S. Gopi, a successful businessman has been very supportive and if for his substantial contribution I would not have made it to Houston,” said Gunasegaran who had to spend about RM17,000 for the US trip besides another RM5,000 for the qualifier in Batam.
“I am also indebted to my equipment sponsor – Srixon – who have supported me for the last 20 years.”
Gunasegran started caddying with his childhood buddy, B. Rajkumar – the Asian Track and Field championship 800m gold medallist in 1985 in Jakarta and who still holds the national record with his winning time of 1.47.37
“Rajukumar was an excellent golfer too and a single handicapper. But he choose to take up athletics, while I decided it was golf for me,” said Gunasegaran who still plays with Rajkumar at the club course.
Gunasegeran who was a member of the Sea Games gold medal winning team at the 1989 Games in Kuala Lumpur and individual silver at the 1991 Manila Sea, turned professional in 1992 winning his first title as a pro at the Singapore PGA the same year. There has been no looking back since then winning numerous titles.
KKB has been a haven for top golfers for besides, Gunasegaran, it has had two other professionals – R. Narchimuthu and late A. Dorairaj.
Guansegaran is hoping that a fourth golfer from KKBGC will do the small town proud, but said that things have changed from the time they used to play.
“We hardly get any local boys playing here. Almost everyone has left for the brighter city lights. Those days, the golf course was our source of extra income as schoolboys. We caddied and earned starting with 80 sen and in the later years, about RM2.50 for a round of 18 holes.
“Today we have no caddies. The golfers use the buggy.”
But Gunasegeran still remains very relevant at KKBGC as he is looked upon by the members for tips in the game and also to have him play a round of game with them.
“I do conduct coaching course to individuals who approach me. Tried to start a gold academy here, but there was little response.”
Gunasegaran said he is just happy with what he is doing and playing in senior tournaments from time to time, while KKBGC will remain his home forever.