Wednesday, June 23, 1999

KL load up on talent (The Malay Mail)

KUALA LUMPUR will get a big infusion of talent for the Malaysia Cup
competition starting on Sept 21 with the return of six Olympic 2000
KL coach Mat Zan Mat Aris, while happy with the new players at his
disposal, is at a loss as to how he will fit them into the team.
He will, in fact, have seven new players as defender Yuzaiman Zahari,
left out of the Olympic 2000 squad to undergo a nose operation, is now
The other six currently with Olympic 2000 in Japan are goalkeeper
Jamsari Sabian, defenders M. Karunakaran, S. Jayaprakash and M. Gopal and
midfielders Mohamad Shawal Mohamad Johadi and Rosle Derus.
Karunakaran played for KL in the M-League this season before gettting a
late call-up to the Olympic side.
"It is good that I will not have to look far to strengthen the team for
the Malaysia Cup competition," said Mat Zan.
"But I will also have to decide on the players I need and how I am going
to fit them into the team.
"We already have 21 players and there are only four places available to
make the maximum 25 allowed.
"I have to be fair to the present players who have worked very hard to
put us in the Malaysia Cup competition and the FA Cup semifinals.
"I cannot discard them."
Mat Zan said the admission of the Olympic players will strengthen the
team and give depth to the squad.
He is considering registering a few of them with the M-League side and
the rest with the Reserve League.
"I will have to discuss the matter with the management committee before
making any decisions because of the extra expenditure involved.
"KLFA are working on a tight budget and we have to be careful on our
spendings," sai Mat Zan.
States get first pick on their Olympic players. Only if they cannot
accommodate them, will the players be released.
But there is a possibility of the FA of Malaysia coming up with a
different plan for the Olympic players after the qualifiers.
The other players with Olympic 2000 are: Abdul Rauf Ahmad and Jaafar
Mohamad Salleh (both Selangor), M. Elangoo and Chow Chee Weng (both Negri
Sembilan, Das Gregory Kolopis (Sabah), Gilbert Cassedy Gawing and Johnny
Joseph (both Sarawak), Akmal Rizal Ahmad Rakhli and Mohamad Rafdi Rashid
(both Kedah), Megat Amir Faizal Ibrahim (Penang), Mohamad Sany Muhammad
Fahmi (Johor), Muhammad Khalid Jamlus (Perak) and Tg Hazman Raja Hassan

Friday, June 18, 1999

It takes yen and zen (The Malay Mail)

MALAYSIAN officials can scour the whole world for a recipe for soccer
success but it just will not work without the right cooks in the FAM
Following Wednesday's 4-0 loss to Japan which all but ended our Sydney
Olympic dreams, we embark on a `Look East' policy.
Fifa's latest world rankings, which pushed Malaysia down to 118th, is
our worst ever and another bitter pill to swallow.
The FAM study group to Japan might as well buy some chrysanthemum tea
leaves as a panacea for the ills of Malaysian soccer.
We have seen FAM delegations going to England, Germany and to World Cups
in the USA and France and coming back with fantastic reports for a cure.
Where has all that taken us? World No 118. The root of the matter is
that no matter what the group to Japan comes back with, the problem lies
in implementation of the programmes.
The observers to Japan are FAM head of academies, Datuk Paduka Ahmad
Basri Akil, Director-General of Education Datuk Dr Shukor Abdullah, FAM
assistant secretary Yap Nyim Keong, head of reserarch and development
Winsdor John, director of coaching Ronald Smith, council member and former
international Dell Akbar Khan.
And who are the ones going to implement the recommendations of the `Look
East' policy? Definitely not these people going on the study tour.
In fact, ask any of group members what needs to be done to salvage
Malaysian soccer and they can come up with the answers without going to
It is certainly not that we do not know what is wrong with our game and
what needs to be done.
It is a case of not having the right people to carry out the programmes.
Malaysian soccer's failure is because of impatient people.
We all want instant results. And going to Japan, who give the world
instant noodles, is not going to help.
Now with Japan making sushi out of our boys, we start talking of the RM6
million spent in building Olympics 2000.
Do we honestly think that the course of Malaysian soccer can be changed
by RM6 million and four years of hothousing?
To select a squad of 25 players, more than 3,500 players from all over
the country were assessed.
When a nation cannot name a squad of 25 players around 17 or 18 years
old off-hand, the problem is obvious.
Mike Brown, who was the Pahang coach in 1992, once asked me if I could
give 10 names of the top Under-12 players in the country.
I couldn't.
Brown's point was that Malaysia, while making preparations to host the
1997 World Youth Cup, should have assembled an Under-12 training squad
first. As it turned out, FAM only assembled a team two years before the
By then, it was already too late to develop the skills of players around
16 to 17 years old because most of them are already set in their ways.
No matter how much money is pumped in, turning uncut diamonds into fine
gems in two years is next to impossible in soccer.
The same fate met the Barcelona and Atlanta squads. When are we going to
What we need is a vision for players between eight and 10 years old with
a specific programme tailored to their age. We must wait patiently for
them to mature and that is not going to happen without sheer hard work.
But when State FAs are busy with the M-League, who has the time for
Looking to Japan is fine. But one factor which we have to consider is the
different cultures of the two countries.
Coming to mind is the Tidak Apa attitude and the procrastinating habit
of Malaysians who are just not hungry enough and unwilling to make
But the Japanese are a race full of pride and honour and their warriors
were known for committing seppuku for failures.
So how can Malaysian players embrace the teachings of the sensei?
Besides, the Japansese certainly did not reach their current level
overnight. It took years of blood, sweat and tears to get there.
The yen is only part of the ingredients for success but it is the zen
and the spirit of the Japanese soccer administrators that contributes to
their success.
Getting the right people who are willing to go through the hardwork,
sacrifices, patience and long term planning.
And success does not come overnight.

Sunday, June 13, 1999

PD reaping dividends from development (The Malay Mail)


IF only more districts like Port Dickson put in concerted efforts in
soccer development, there would be budding talents in the country in time
to come.
Port Dickson, although known as a seaside resort, has also produced a
fair share of players for the State of Negri Sembilan.
Among the notable players from Port Dickson who have donned the Deers
jersey are defender Kamarulzaman Adam (1983-'96), midfielder Mutalib Adam
(1981-'85) and strikers C. Baskaran (1984-'88) and Adnan Din (1982-'90).
There were several others who played for one or two seasons, including
defenders Shamsudin Yusop, Abdul Rahim Buyung and Abu Bakar Ahmad,
midfielders Kasim Samsul, Shukur Adam and M. Suresh and striker Rosli
And there are now two budding talents from Port Dickson in Suffian Abdul
Rahman and Mohd Razly Abu Bakar playing in the Negri Sembilan Reserve
League team.
But Port Dickson District Officer Hasan Nawawi Abd Rahman, who was
elected Port Dickson FA president last October, has bigger things in mind.
He wants to see players come out of Port Dickson not by chance, but by
And he is talking about a long-term plan, which may bear fruit when he
may no longer be the D.O. of Port Dickson.
The first thing when Hasan was approached to become the PDFA president
was to state his conditions of getting people who know and love the game
working for him.
He insisted that people like Adnan, Baskaran and Abu Bakar be in the
"I wanted action-oriented people in the setup who were willing to work,"
said Hasan, who was the former Assistant District Officer of Manjung in
"And I was not so concerned about having a glamorous league although it
was part and parcel of the organisational aspect of the association.
"I was more interested in developing talent for the future.
"It was then that I appointed Adnan, who is a teacher at the SMK Dato
Abdul Samad to be in charge of the youth development programme."
Hasan rounded up about 30 Form One students, who were all 13 years of
age, in the district to attend his school.
The programme was launched in February and the players trained under
Adnan, with Baskaran and Abu Bakar assisting.
A hurdle Hasan faced when he took over the association was that they
were in the red and did not have ready cash for the youth development
To overcome this, he organised fund-raising dinners, which brought in
much-needed cash for the PDFA's kitty.

Hasan - a man who is always on the move
PORT Dickson District Officer Hasan Nawawi Abd Rahman (left) is an action-
oriented man and it is not difficult to understand his hyperactive nature
because his motto is simply: "Put more spice in your life".
He is not the normal bureaucratic officer who sits in the office all day
but is one who is always on the move.
And his sporting background probably accounts for his gung-ho spirit.
The 46-year-old father of four children does jungle hiking, mountain
climbing and cycling.
He has climbed Mount Kinabalu three times and Gunung Tahan once.
If one thinks that is a feat, he has a bigger ambition in the offing -
he wants to cycle around the world with his younger brother within a year.
Plans to achieve that feat are already in motion.
Hasan plans to pick the right occasion to take off on his tour and has
targeted to leave in January 2001, which may probably coincide with the
Tour De Langkawi.
In preparation for the Tour, he has already cycled in India for 20 days
in 1994 and in February this year, he covered over 1,700km in 12 days from
Hanoi to Saigon.
Come October, he intends to cycle to Tajikistan, formerly part of the
Soviet republic, to check on the weather conditions as he will be passing
through this region during the world tour.

Thursday, June 10, 1999

We need a vision for the mission (The Malay Mail)

THE one-day National Soccer Seminar, organised jointly by the FA of
Malaysia and National Sports Council yesterday in Shah Alam, is not going
to change the the game overnight.
The general complaint among the 200-odd participants was that one day
was not enough to discuss the ills of the game.
Most of the observations, suggestions and criticisms at the seminar was
nothing new.
Even guest speaker Roy Hodgson's paper A Ladder to the Stars, which
touched on the national team's pre requisites for preparation, are
suggestions already use in Malaysia and the Briton admitted to the fact.
There was still a great deal of ideas received on youth development,
development of coaches and referees, competitions, facilities and
preparations of the national team.
However, the question is whether all the ideas and suggestions to
improve Malaysian soccer are going to be implemented or just compiled and
kept in the archives.
FAM deputy president, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, said a task
force will study all that came out of the seminar and bring it up at the
Council meeting for action.
While the sincerity to raise Malaysian soccer standards cannot be
questioned, it all has to start at the grass roots.
This where the State FAs, schools and clubs play a key role.
Until these bodies implement the resolutions by the task force, the
seminar yesterday could well be a wasted exercise.
Tengku Abdullah said the State FAs have to double their efforts and
start working if soccer in the country is to improve.
For as long as State FAs are just interested in seeing their teams win
the M-League, Malaysia Cup or FA Cup, soccer in the country is going to
remain in the doldrums.
They have to start working with the young ones and be patient to see
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Tan Sri Muhiyiddin Yassin, was spot on
when he said a time frame has to be determined for results to be seen.
He also said that a time has to be set for the resolutions to be
And the time frame cannot be like in Hodgson's words: "I want to see
results or success, yesterday."
Development means time, money, expertise, hardwork and patience above
everything else.
It cannot be less than five years to see any significant changes. It
could take 10.
But with a new breed of players from the Olympic 2000 squad and a crop
of national players whose average age is 26, some significant changes
could take place in the next three years.
However, one has to be persistent and cannot afford to be content with
glimpses of success.
The task force have to outline the areas that need to be addressed and
set a time frame to achieve their targets.
It will allow everyone involved in the game to put in concerted effort
in their respective areas to help raise the standard of the game.
It has to be action orientated and done with sincerity.
Maybe a vision, like Vision 2020, to achieve something substantial in
the next 10 years should be adopted.
Otherwise, we will just be going around in circles.