MALAYSIAN coaches want recognition and priority over foreigners but not all have been successful.
The question local coaches have to ask themselves is, are they ready for the hot seat? Do they want the job because they are ex-internationals?
Or is it for the money?
Yes, we have produced a number of Asian and world-class athletes, many of whom hold international coaching certificates. Yet, local coaches have been overlooked in favour of foreigners or when hired, given raw deals.
Many of the foreigners who have coached here were not the best choice in their respective sport, even in their own country. In fact, some of them earned their stripes by coaching in Malaysia.
At the same time, we have local coaches who are over-ambitious and bite off more than they can chew. When they fail, the topic of foreign coaches crops up again.
That is why it is important for local coaches who are appointed to achieve creditable results.
They should keep abreast of the latest developments in coaching.
They should be all-rounders, rely on the specifics and not depend on others to assist them.
Coaches these days have to be knowledgeable about sports science. Although we have specialists in sports science and nutrition assisting the teams, the coaches must also be in the know and learn how to interpret the relevant data and apply it to their teams.
The national sports associations (NSAs) should also send their coaches for overseas training or attach budding coaches to the various junior and national teams.
There is no doubt that local coaches have done well in most sports, be it football, hockey, badminton, squash, athletics, tenpin bowling, lawn bowl and yachting.
We have a long list of names, ranging from the late Choo Seng Quee to Jalil Che Din, Datuk M. Chandran, Chow Kwai Lam, Mohamad Bakar, Datuk K. Rajagobal, B. Sathianathan, Ong Kim Swee (all football), the late Datuk Punch Gunalan, Datuk Misbun Sidek, Rashid Sidek, Tey Seu Bock (badminton), the late Datuk Ho Koh Chye, Datuk R. Yogeswaran, Mohd Sidek Othman, Randhir Singh, C. Thavanayagam, C. Paramalingam, Datuk Sri Shanmuganathan, Stephen van Huizen, Wallace Tan, Sarjit Singh, Tai Beng Hai (hockey) Major S. Maniam, Raymond Arnold (squash), C. Ramanathan, S. Tripadi, J.V. Jayan, S. Jeyabalan, Tan Choo Mong, Leslie Tan, S. Arulnandy, Hanapiah Nasir, Leslie Armstrong, Lionel Rajamoney, the late K. Thirumal, V. Subramaniam, Khoo Chong Beng, the late Isthiaq Mubarak, Rennie Martin, Hanapiah Nasir (athletics), Holloway Cheah, Fong Tat Meng, Ben Heng (bowling), Lawrence Yeow, Malik Sulaiman (yachting), A. Razak Hitam, Choo Yie Hwa, Mohamad Arifin Ghani, Mohd Aziz Maswadi and Zuraidi Puteh (lawn bowl).
But to do well, local coaches must be given a reasonable tenure to work with their teams. Short-term contracts will not produce results.
Foreigners are better as consultants or technical advisers but it is crucial they know their stuff and have vast experience in their fields.
This was not the case on most occasions.
Another option is to bring in specialist coaches on short contracts to work with the national teams and get the local coaches to learn from them. These experts could also conduct clinics for coaches at all levels.
But the bottom line is that everything must be handled professionally.
No politics can be involved in the decision-making process. Personal sentiments must go out the window.
There must be accountability in all the appointments and the coaches must be allowed to do their job without any interference.
It may take a long time to get things right because we still have many officials who have their own agendas. This is why it is important for each sports association to have a strong president who can weed out the bad hats and ensure all decisions are made professionally.
Whether the NSAs place their confidence in the local coaches and if the latter deliver boils down to how committed both parties are to their sports.
So local coaches, stand up and be counted.