Friday, May 16, 2014

Time for hands-on officials

Friday, May 16, 2014 - Malay Mail

IT is time officer bearers of national organisations made their way to the states to see for themselves what is happening, rather than sit at meeting tables at the headquarters.
It is even time for the Sports Commissioner to ask national bodies to amend their constitution requiring office bearers to visit the states during their term or at least have their monthly or bi-monthly exco meetings at the states.
For far too long, national bodies have relied on reports from their respective committee chairmen to act on complaints from their affiliates.
Yes, exco members also comprise affiliate members, but the voice of one or two persons at a meeting is not going to be heard, especially where their state affairs are concerned.
Take the May 5 match between Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) and Pahang at Larkin Stadium as an example. There were plenty of reports of “incidents” between the fans, but in reality, nothing happened.
FA of Malaysia (FAM) will rely on match commissioner Lt Kol (rtd) Kamaruddin Sakhari’s report, but what can he say about what happened outside the stadium?
If FAM had sent their disciplinary, competitions or security committee members to the match, they would have a better picture of what transpired.
And by having their exco meetings in the various states, FAM will be able to gauge what’s happening for themselves.
This will also build better relationships between them and the state FAs. Maybe FAM should start today. Send some of their top-ranked officials to the M-League match between JDT and Pahang at Larkin Stadium.
These officials can see for themselves how well things are organised in Johor and if for any reason there is trouble, at least FAM will get first-hand information.
They will also know whether newspaper reports were accurate or sensationalised.
Of course, many of the officials would prefer to be in the city at the leading hotels entertaining other officials or being entertained as the campaigning for votes for next week’s FAM congress-cum-election goes into full swing.
Attention should also be given to Sabah and Sarawak where the future of Malaysian sports may lie.
Just listen to the grumblings at the end of the National Schools Sports Council Track and Field championship in Kedah last week, which underline how the foundations laid by the school coaches are not being built on by the national body. Sarawak emerged overall champion for the fifth consecutive year, winning 17 of the 91 gold medals.
This success did not come overnight. It was through sheer hard and dedicated work over the years.
Sarawak have 300 dedicated athletics coaches in the schools in their 11 divisions who work round the year.
They are fair in their selections and training with everyone given a chance to prove their worth.
Sarawak schools athletics technical chairman Ting Siew Nguong had said that while other states only rely on their annual state-level schools track and field meets to select their best, Sarawak hold an additional meet towards the end of the year to give them more time to identify and prepare the athletes.
So, what happens to these athletes after school? The state sports councils, the state athletics association and the national body are supposed to take over.
Does this happen? Sadly no, and many potential athletes are lost.
Obviously, not enough attention is being paid to all top school athletes.
This is where the national body can play a more active and pivotal role to ensure good programmes are not wasted.
I wonder how many Malaysian Athletics Federation officials were at the recent national schools meet in Alor Star.
Until and unless the national bodies work with the state affiliates and schools, Malaysian sports will continue to be the loser!
Can the office bearers at the national bodies show more commitment to sports rather than play politics, queue up for overseas trips and collect their allowances and perks for attending meetings in Kuala Lumpur?

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