Tuesday, December 29, 1992

Mani says goodbye on a winning note (The Malay Mail)

SHARP-MALAY MAIL ended the season on a winning note by beating Maybank 1-0
in the Kuala Lumpur FA Presidents Cup final at KLFA Stadium yesterday,
reports Chan Wai Kong.
Maybank's downfall was caused by an own goal in the 40th minute by
defender Mohamed Riyad Sheikh Ali.
It came just after Sharp-MM had muffed their best chance of the match
when a neat 1-2 play saw striker Hasnor Khairuddin firing tamely, his shot
parried by Maybank keeper Zuhaimi Dawi.
But Sharp-MM players continued to pressure the Maybank defence, and
Riyad, in his haste, sent his clearance the wrong way, bundling the ball
into his own net.
Sharp-MM had to endure a fierce onslaught by Maybank in the closing
stages of the match but Maybank squandered five chances, including an open
goal when Riyad misfired.
Maybank did most of the attacking and looked very much in control but
Sharp-MM took their chances well.
Sharp-MM coach Tony Mariadass said: "The victory today is a consolation
for our loss of the KL Dunhill League title this year."
Last year, Sharp-MM won the Dunhill League. "This year, we still managed
to collect a trophy," he added.
Maybank coach Ujang Ibrahim said Sharp-MM goalkeeper M. Pavalamani
played a sterling role in their teams success.
"Pavalamani played a good game. He was influential in defence. We lost
(1-0) to Sharp-MM in the Dunhill League earlier and he saved two sure
goals," he added.
But Ujang said Maybank missed at least 10 chances. "In the first half,
we had at least five chances. We were confident of winning the match."
For former international Pavalamani, it was his last match for Sharp-MM
yesterday after four years. He will play for Sabah next year.

Monday, December 28, 1992

Mani's last hurrah (The Malay Mail)

FORMER international goalkeeper M. Pavalamani today plays his last match
for Sharp-Malay Mail in the KLFA President Cup final against Maybank at
Kuala Lumpur FA Stadium.
Pavalamani will miss the KL League as he has signed a one-year contract
with the Sabah FA to play for their Semi-pro league team next year.
Pavalamani, who played for KL in the 1989 Malaysia Cup, has been with
the Sharp-MM team for four years.
He helped Sharp-MM to the KL Dunhill League title last year and to the
final of the inaugural Philippines Cup in Manila.
Today's final between Sharp-MM and Maybank will bring the curtain down
on 1992 Kuala Lumpur soccer season.
Though Sharp-MM edged Maybank 1-0 in the KL Dunhill League, a close
match is expected.
The Maybank team have good training facilities at their giant sports
complex in Bangi while Sharp-MM do not have their own ground.

Thursday, November 26, 1992

Subra takes over (The Malay Mail)

S. SUBRAMANIAM, a man who prefers to remain out of the spotlight, has been
given the job to resurrect Kuala Lumpur as a soccer power.
Last night, the Kuala Lumpur FA management committee headed by president
Tan Sri Elyas Omar gave Subramaniam the mandate to take over as coach of
next season's Semi-Pro League team from Chow Kwai Lam.
Although Subramaniam, who is also KLFA's Director of Coaching, would
have preferred to remain as a backroom man, he decided to accept the
challenge because of the vote of confidence from the KLFA.
It'll be the 56-year-old's second stint as coach, having first guided KL
from 1982-84.
He will be assisted by Lim Kim Lian.
"I had not expected this job because for some time now, I have been
involved mainly in the development of KL soccer at youth level," said
Subramaniam, who served as technical adviser in previous seasons.
"I am honoured by the KLFA's trust in me and on my part, I'd do my best
to revive KL's fortunes," he said.
Subramaniam, a father of two grown up sons, earned his English FA
coaching badge as early as 1958, when he was undergoing a teachers'
training course in Kirby.
He obtained the FA of Malaysia's advanced coaching certificate in 1971
and the Fifa coaching licence in 1972 at the Asian Coaching School.
He has been a member of the technical study group at the 1986 World Cup
which was headed by Josef Venglos and also a member of several other
technical study groups.
Subramaniam said he has discussed with KLFA plans for the new season and
will be preparing the team accordingly.
"My original plan was to groom the KL back-up squad to become the a
fully-fledged Semi-Pro League team by 1994. But it looks like we'd have to
set an earlier target because of several factors."
Among them are the fact several senior players have either announced
their decision to quit or have been plagued by injuries.
There is also the factor of players having lost their form.
"We'd calling all players from the present squad to attend training
together with the back-up and Razak Cup squads," he said.
"We will then select the best team from this pool. But it'd definitely
be a blend of experience and youth. 1993 will be a transition period for
Subramaniam said his philosophy in coaching is to ensure that the
players are happy in training.
"Right now, I really don't have an idea of the composition of the team
because several key players will not be around while some are doubtful."
Among those missing will be foreign players Seslija Milomir and Anto
Grabo, whose contracts have not been renewed.
Zoran Nikolic's contract, however, has been extended for another season.
Veteran Mat Zan Mat Aris has retired from the game while Tang Siew Seng
is still injured.
Defenders See Kim Seng and Chow Siew Yai will meeting the management
committee before their fate with KL is decided.

Monday, November 16, 1992

Sweet success (The Malay Mail)

PAHANG had to wait nine years to taste sweet success but it was certainly
worth it as the celebrations went on into the wee hours of the morning,
moving into the State districts and expected to go on for a while.
It was a night of celebration for the Sultan and Sultanah of Pahang, the
Tengku Mahkota and the fans, men and women, aged and young, and even the
Adults weeped freely in joy while the young had a merry time. Women and
girls screamed, while children who were too young to know what was
happening seemed to be wallowing in all the celebrations.
Even the Sultan and Tengku Mahkota could not hide their joy as they went
down to the Merdeka Stadium tracks to meet the fans and thank them
As the 40,000-odd fans watched at the stadium, millions saw the match
`live' on TV, which was the climax of Malaysian soccer for 1992.
Thousands of fans failed to get tickets while the adventurous decided to
watch it on the big screen at the Dataran Merdeka.
Fans from both Kedah and Pahang had begun streaming in during the wee
hours of Saturday morning in buses, vans, cars, trains and even on
The stadium was a sea of colour and was packed to the brim in shortly
after the gates were opened at 5pm.
The Kedah fans packed the left side of the stadium to give it hues of
green and yellow while the right side was painted in white and black or
the Pahang's team colours of yellow and black.
Fans had their faces painted too.
For the Pahang fans, it was something they had not experienced for the
past eight years - Pahang last qualified for the Malaysia Cup final in
1984 where they lost to Selangor. The year before, Pahang had won the
As for Kedah, coming to the Merdeka Stadium seemed like an annual
After all, they were in their fifth final in six years. And it might
have been even sweeter to return home on Sunday morning with the Cup,
after having faced the humiliation of being demoted to the Second Division
last year following their Malaysia Cup, on their fourth attempt, in 1990.
But everyone was there to have a good time and due credit must be given
to the fans for making it an incident-free affair with true sportsmanship
The Pahang fans, of course, were partying all night long. Even after the
final whistle had gone, the fans were still in the stadium savouring the
The Pahang team arrived at their hotel, The Regent, a little past
midnight to the resident bands tune of Congratulations.
The next morning, the Pahang players left by bus for Bentong - their
first stop to show off the Malaysia Cup.
Then it was to Mentakab before proceeding to Jerantut for a tea
reception at the Jerantut District Council Padang, which had earlier been
scheduled to celebrate the Sultan of Pahang's 62nd birthday a fortnight
The celebrations are not expected to stop and will culminate with the
Malam Juara (Champions' Night) on Nov 22 at the Istana Hotel in Kuala
It is here that the rewards are expected to be officially announced.
The Champions' Night, besides honouring Pahangs almost clean sweep this
season (Charity Shield, League Cup, Fairplay Trophy, Golden Boot Award,
Malaysia Cup Final Man-of-the-Match award and the Malaysia Cup), is also
to raise funds to settle Pahang FAs oustanding balance for their building.
It is learnt that $1 million has been pledged and more are expected to
reward the Pahang teams Malaysia Cup victory.

We got it right! (The Malay Mail)

MANY A dream of soccer players are made in Cup finals.
For Pahang rookie Zulhamizan Zakaria, Saturdays final was more like an
achievement which comes once in a lifetime.
No one can take away his goal which came only 98 seconds into the match.
And the Cup returned to Pahang after nine years.
Zulhamizan, 23, had every reason to be on Cloud Nine because his goal is
probably the fastest in Cup final He was the most unlikeliest player to
score, having netted only three times in the Semi-Pro league.
However, MailSport were spot on, having tipped Zulhamizan as Pahangs
probable winner last Friday.
"As much as I had wanted to score, I didnt expect it would happen so
early in the game," said a delighted Zulhamizan.
"It has been fantastic for me and I do not think I would ever get to
feel the same way again. Ever."
The modest Zulhamizam said victory was a team effort. "The coaches,
officials, reserves, players and fans deserve all the credit."
Zulhamizan was surprised he was announced Man-of-the Match.
"I felt Alan Davidson was the righful person. Afterall, it was his pass
that led to the goal."
Yesterday, however the FAM overturned their decision and gave it to
Coach Mike Brown was happy for Zulhamizam.
"He certainly turned out to be the ace in the pack. It may have been a
simple goal off a mistake but Zulhamizans vision to challenge Azmi Mahmud
got us the winner."
For Zulhamizan it was an proud and historic moment and he can expect
more memorable moments.
Nine years ago when Pahang won the Cup, Zulhamizan, then 14, had lined
the streets to welcome the team.
Today, he returns to the same streets, but this time the new hero.

Friday, November 13, 1992

Hidden ace (The Malay Mail)

DESPITE such an array of stars, Pahang's ace in the pack for tomorrow's
Malaysia Cup final could well turn out to be newcomer Zulhamizan Zakaria.
Coach Mike Brown has special plans for this 23-year-old utility player,
who made his debut with Pahang in 1990 as a striker.
Undoubtedly, his yet untold position could keep Kedah guessing, as Brown
can field him as a leftback, left midfielder or left flanker.
Even Zulhamizan has no idea where he is expected to be fielded tomorrow,
especially as he has been tried in every slot during training.
"But I am prepared for any role," said Zulhamizan in Kuantan yesterday.
"The coach knows best where I will be most effective."
"I am only happy that I am in the running for a place in the first 11
for the final."
Zulhamizam can consider himself exceptional because while most players
are in line for a role and at most two, he is being lined up for three
This gives him more chances of making the starting lineup.
Zulhamizan is glad Brown has found more than one use for him. "At least
this way I have become versatile and my chances of playing are brighter."
Said Brown: "I still have time to finalise my plans and where I intend
to use Zulahamizan. Right now I am very happy he is working hard and has
done well in his various roles.
"It gives me plenty of options."
Zulhamizan's speciality is his sweet left foot which sends good crosses.
He is also apt in defence and supports the attack from his flankback
position. He has been kinown to give opposing defenders a hard time.
As a midfielder, he works hard, defends well, distributes the ball
nicely and puts his crosses to good use.
As a flanker, he is fast and is able to score.
For Zulhamizam, playing in the final is a dream come true.
"I was only 14 when Pahang won the Cup in 1983. I joined the fans in
lining the steets to welcome our heroes.
"Today I am playing aside some of those heroes like Zainal Abidin
Hassan. It is really an honour for me."
Zulhamizan said nothing would be sweeter than to bring back the Cup a
second time. Better still, if he could score in the final.
"The most unlikeliest players have been known to score in Cup final and
why not me?" he said.
Zulhamizam has scored three goals in the SemiPro league but has yet to
get into the scoresheet in the Malaysia Cup.

Sunday, November 8, 1992

Key to Kedah's success (The Malay Mail)

MENTION Kedah's soccer rise over the years and two names are bound to crop
up - Datuk Ahmad Basri Mohamed Akil and Ahmad Shafie.
While Basri, the Kedah FA deputy president and State Secretary, has
tasted the fruits of their hard labour, Ahmad has not been so lucky.
The Ahmad combination started in the 80s, when together they mapped
Kedah's rise with good development programmes.
Their hardwork started paying dividends earlier than expected, when
Kedah reached the 1987 Malaysia Cup final.
Shafie was coach that year and the following year when Kedah reached
their second consecutive final.
However, KL soured things up when they won on both occasions.
Shafie was then named national coach for two years and Milous Kvacek
took over.
Kedah qualified for the final a record third time in 1989 but again lost
out to KL.
Kedah made history when they made their fourth consecutive final in 1990
under Kvacek, and this time they finally won, beating Singapore.
Shafie took over from Kvacek last year and the 49-year-old school
teacher saw his team fall into Division Two.
Kedah FA decided to seek foreign expertise again and Robert Alberts was
Kedah are in the final for yet another time and Shafie can only sit and
watch from the terraces and ponder on his ill-luck of not being able to
taste success.
But he is not one to brood. Rather, he prefers to look on the bright
side of things.
"It would have been great to coach a team and win the Cup," said Shafie,
who is now Kedah's director of coaching.
"Perhaps, it is fated that I not taste Malaysia Cup success."
Shafie said he would still derive some satisfaction as long as he can
contribute to the success of the team.
Shafie teaches at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Kedah's soccer school
of excellence. He said that every year when Kedah get new players stamping
their mark, it makes his work worthwhile.
Kedah's cream of players have been coming from this college and more
recently from SM Syed Omar, the second school of excellence.
Shafie also coaches all the youth teams besides supervising other
coaches and ensuring that development programmes, drawn out by him, are
carried out.
Kedah now not only have a good senior team, but also good youth players
who are the reservoir for the future.
Several players are now waiting to graduate into the team.
Faridzuan Che Hamid, Kedah's revelation this season, is among the
younger breed of players from the development programme.
Others include Lee Thean Ewe, V. Thinakaran, Saziman Ismail, S.
Manivanan, Mohamad Farouk Ismail, Abdul Malik Yusof and V. Navakumar.
"Kedah may reach many finals and go on to win them. Although I may not
be coaching the winning team, I will seek comfort that some of the
players would have had worked with me.
"I enjoy working with the young. It is more challenging because how
these players are groomed will determine the future of Kedah's soccer."

Monday, November 2, 1992

Tuba's knight of fame (The Malay Mail)

WHILE the whole of Kedah were rejoicing their entry into their fifth
Malaysia Cup final, young striker Faridzuan Che Hamid brought a small
island into the picture of success.
The 21-year-old player hails from Tuba, an island 30 minutes by boat
from Langkawi. He must have made the 5,000 odd islanders proud with a hat-
trick over Kuala Lumpur on Saturday night.
Faridzuan now has seven goals in the Malaysia Cup and six in the Semi-
Pro League.
And what a night it was for Faridzuan.
"I will never forget this match," said the eldest in a family of three
boys after Kedah beat KL 6-4.
"Ten goals in a match and three from me. I would have just settled for
one. I and happy to have been a part in Kedahs entry into the final."
Faridzuan only tasted action in a couple of matches last season as a
substitute. But this year, he emerged as Kedah's twin striker with Peter
Recalling his emergence for Kedah, Faridzuan said he owes a great deal
to headmaster Kassim Saad who launched his football career.
"I was playing for my school when Cikgu Kassim spotted me. Cigku Kassim
was in Langkawi looking for players for the State schools Under-18 team."
After that he got a tranfer to SM Tengku Bendahara in Kodiang where
Kassim was the headmaster.
Kassim has been instrumental in spotting and motivating players into
Sultan Abdul Hamid is the soccer school of excellence in Alor Star.
Players like Radhi Mat Din, Azmi Mahmud, Norazam Ishak and Lee Thean Ewe
have emerged from the project.
Kassim is currently teaching in Parit Buntar.
After representing Kedah schools, Faridzuan played in the Razak Cup and
then the President's Cup.
It was in the latter Cup final last season when Kedah emerged champions
that Robert Alberts saw his potential.
Faridzuan, who helps his father in the fishing business when he gets
time off, said that he owes his rise to all the people who have taken an
interest in his progress.
"I am still young and have a lot more to learn. Right now, playing in
the final is a dream come true for me."
KEDAH 6 (2) K. LUMPUR 4 (1)
* First-leg scores in paranthesis

Saturday, October 31, 1992

'Holiday' away from home (The Malay Mail)

MIKE BROWN, even in his free time, somehow can't get his mind off soccer.
"I don't know what free time is ... if there is such a thing, then I
haven't found it yet," said the 53-year-old Englishman, who was born in
Hull but, after having spent most of his time there, considers Manchester
his home.
Brown actually breathes soccer 24 hours a day, 365 days a year - for the
past 38 years!
However, he admitted he has had extra time on his hands since coming to
Malaysia to coach Pahang.
"Somehow, everything I do back in England revolves around soccer.
"Even when I play a round of golf, it's with my soccer buddies and,
naturally, we would usually end up talking about soccer," said Brown, a
"But since coming to Kuantan and staying on my own, I have managed to
get some spare time. And if I were to tell people back home what I have
been doing, they'd be amused.
"I have never been known to be a letter writer even when I was in the
army during my younger days.
"But in Kuantan, I think I have written more letters than in my whole
"My friends were surprised to receive letters from me, but they have
obliged by replying and keeping me informed of what is happening back
"I must admit it's a sheer joy to find a letter from home in the
mailbox. I have never experienced this feeling before."
Apart from writing letters, Brown has been occasionally playing golf,
but spends most of his free time at Kuantan's Merlin Hotel.
"I have made some good friends at the hotel ... it's like a second home
to me.
"I'd normally go to the hotel for a swim in the morning and spend some
time on the beach.
"It's seafront has a lovely setting, which is where I write most of my
letters before a swim.
"Its also during this period that I figure out my plans before each
"Sometimes, I get players who are injured to join me and undergo
remedial workouts in the pool and on the beach."
Brown said in England, he used to do much of his planning on the
"I used to spend a lot of time on my own on the motorways, travelling to
matches. Being alone enabled me to think aloud.
"But since I am staying here alone, I do get a lot of time by myself,
and I find the seaside a refreshing place for contemplation."
Brown would normally have his meal at the hotel before returning home in
the afternoon.
"Many of my friends have sent me tapes of classical music and whenever I
get the opportunity to relax, I listen to it for about an hour.
"Of course, I perform some household chores, something which I have
never done before in my life," he chuckled.
"If friends back home were to find out about this, my ego would suffer a
"I was pampered before coming to Malaysia. Everything was done for me. I
have never ironed a shirt before I came to Kuantan.
"Although a maid comes to the house once a week - and she does a
marvellous job, including washing and ironing my clothes - I still do some
on my own."
Another chore which Brown had never done before is shopping.
"I am a hit at the local supermarket. I cannot believe I am doing this."
In the evenings, Brown can be found training the Pahang team. His
nightlife is either dinner with friends, the players or on his own.
Then he heads for the local pub for a pint or two.
"In England, my social life revolved around the pubs. I certainly miss
that scene where soccer talk rules.
"I do enjoy my moments at the pubs here. I have met all sorts of
characters, which has been quite an experience.
"But I don't stay up late. I would head for home after a couple of
Brown said at times, he missed his family, who are not with him here
because he took up the Pahang appointment at short notice following the
departure of his predecessor, Len Ashurst.
"Besides, my two boys - Gary (23) and Steven (20) - are just starting
out after completing their education and need to be looked after. It was
best that my wife Pamela remained with them."
Gary has been to Malaysia to visit Brown for a couple of weeks while
Pamela also flew down for a month in September.
"But I did not spend much time with them because I was involved with the
"In fact, Pamela hardly saw much of Malaysia, except to travel to away
matches where Pahang played during that period.
"As for me, I hardly have time to visit any place of interest."
Brown said he has enjoyed his stay in Malaysia and, if given an
opportunity, would not hesitate to return.
One thing he missed is watching the other soccer matches, something
which he used to do in England.
"Here, the fixtures do not allow that. I have only watched one match
this season - between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur at the National Stadium -
when Pahang had a rest day.
"Whether I return for another stint in Malaysia or not, I'd always have
fond memories of this country, especially its friendly and warm people.
"It has indeed been a pleasant experience for me," said Brown, whose
contract with Pahang FA expires on Nov 30.
On his future, Brown said: "Once a footballer, always a footballer. Have
boots will travel and that sums up my options.
"I'd not hesitate to go anywhere as long as it involves soccer."

Wednesday, October 21, 1992

Soccer could go up in smoke

THE call by the FA of Malaysia president, the Sultan of Pahang, to rethink
any ban on sponsorship from cigarette companies should be given a serious
thought in the interest of soccer and other sports.
At a time when sports in the country is heading towards excellence and
organising international events like the Commonwealth Games, World Youth
Soccer tournament, international badminton tournanments and other
international events, a ban on sponsorship from cigarette companies will
be a crippling blow.
It will definitely put soccer in dire straits as FAM have made long term
plans especially in youth development with the aid of these sponsorship.
The funds are from Dunhill - for 10 years from 1989 to a tune of $6.25
million annually.
State FAs are funded by FAM and taking away these grants will kill
soccer in most States.
The Semi-pro League gets 40 per cent of the sponsorship money from
Dunhill while 60 per cent goes to youth development, coaching seminars,
referees courses, Centres of Excellence, inter-district and age-group
State FAs take up $2.4 million for adminstration and youth development
from FAM.
Not many companies will be willing to put in big money without insisting
on mileage worth the amount.
OF course FAM have other sponsors like Malaysia Airlines who give
discounts on tickets, Sharp who give 70 per cent of their sponorship in
equipment and $300,000 cash while Adidas supply equipment.
Others like TV3, Toto, Genting Highlands and Public Bank give about
$500,000 each while give EON $1.5 million.
But without Dunhills sponsorship, FA of Malaysia will be crippled
because the other sponsorships go towards the Semi-pro League.
There has been suggestions that sponsors besides cigarette companies
should be sought. This is easier said than done because we are talking
megabucks here.
Certainly soccer development programmes will not interest companies as
they hardly get any mileage for their money.
It must be understood that FAM, while receiving sponsorship from a
cigarette company, are in no way condoning smoking.
They have merely agreed to the sponorship because it is the best
available source of funds at the moment.

Sunday, October 18, 1992

Having a fun time (The Sunday Mail)

MARKO BILIC, as Terengganu's Director of Development, may not be enjoying
the limelight than when he was handling Semi-Pro League teams, but he is
nevertheless enjoying his job to the fullest.
The 52-year-old Bilic, who lost his job after only three months as coach
of Div Two Malacca this season, has been with Terengganu since June.
"I am enjoying every minute of my job here because I personally get more
satisfaction working with the young," said Bilic, who had coached Johor
and Perak prior to his move to Malacca.
"Of course at times, I miss the League action, but I must admit that
working with the young is more relaxing and rewarding in the long run.
"Besides, I have been actively involved in youth development when I was
with Sarajevo, a Div One club in the Yugoslav League, before becoming
their coach."
Bilic said his work involves going to the eight districts in Terengganu
not only to scout for young talent, but also to impart the coaching
syllabus he has prepared so that the youths will be properly coached.
"I have already gone to a few districts and I must say that there is an
abundance of talent.
"In fact, some of the talents I have seen are equivalent to European
youth players, if not better.
"But it is important that these raw talents are coached properly to
reach the highest level."
Bilic believed that in the past, not only in Terengganu but all over
Malaysia as well, many talented players have been lost because they were
either not spotted or coached properly.
"I have prepared a coaching programme which I am imparting to the local
coaches in the district and I hope they will carry it out.
"If the coaching programme is carried out, I see no reason for
Terengganu to depend on foreign players in the near future, because their
home-bred players will be comparable if not better."
Bilic, however, expressed concern that his work might be temporarily
halted because of the monsoon season, which is expected to begin soon and
last for three months.
"I am trying to work something out for some indoor programme and I hope
this will be carried out because the three months' inactivity will put a
spanner in the works."
Besides Bilic's job as youth development director, he also helps out in
the Semi-Pro.
But his involvement is only in sizing up their opponents and giving his
knowledge on the teams to Terengganu coach Abdullah Mohamad.
"I have watched several of Terengganu's opponents against other teams
and given my views of their strengths and weaknesses and also how to stop
"It is up to Abdullah whether he wants to use the information or not,
but I am glad that I am able to help the Semi-Pro team in some ways too.
Besides, it helps me to keep in touch with the other teams in the
Occasionally, Bilic helps to coach the goalkeepers, being a former
goalkeeper himself.
Bilic, who has a contract with Terengganu until the end of next year, is
certainly a very happy man and his face lights up whenever he talks about
his job.
Sunshine and sea breeze aside, Bilic is certainly having a whale of a
time with Terengganu.

Thursday, September 10, 1992

Kannan quits

STRIKER K. Kannan has quit Singapore soccer. He's looking across the
Causeway again.
Kannan's decision comes a day after skipper T. Pathmanathan announced
his retirement.
"It is with a very heavy heart that I have to come to this decision,"
said the 30-year-old Kannan. "I have given it a lot of thought."
Kannan said that among the main reasons for his decision were because
the Singapore Press and fans caused a lot of damage to his playing career.
"Some journalists said they're out to get me. They wait for me to play
badly and criticise me endlessly. When I do well, not a word is mentioned.
There's just no fair play.
"As for the fans, I am sick of being accused of selling matches. Every
time I play a bad match, I'm faced with these accusations.
"I've never even been offered money to fix games. Not in Singapore or
even when I was with KL."
He said that betting on soccer matches has become a national past-time
in Singapore and that puts tremendous pressure on the national team.
Kannan also wants to concentrate on his job with a sports goods company,
Hawk Sports.
However, Kannan said that soccer is still very much in his blood and
that is why he will still continue playing in the local league in
Singapore. He turns out for Geylang International.
"I'm leaving my options open. I'll play for Malaysian States if I'm
needed. I also want to take up a coaching course to improve my technical
knowledge of the game. I can make a good coach especially among the young
players," he added.
Kannan believes he played his best soccer with KL. He spent six seasons
with them.
"I believe my poor form this season with Singapore was because I had
given my best with KL. While in KL I set a high standard for myself and I
was unable to match that with Singapore."
He has two Malaysia Cup winners' medals. That came in 1987-88. The
following year Kannan returned to Singapore to be with his ailing father.
Kannan also won the Golden Boots award in 1987 with 15 goals.
However, he has only scored three goals this season with Singapore - his
worst performance since first playing in the Malaysia Cup 12 years ago.
"My conditioning this year has not been to expectations. I feel I let
myself and coach P. Sivaji down this year."
However, Kannan also said that he has always down well with foreign
"Strangely all have been Czech coaches when I played for Kuala Lumpur
for six seasons. Look at Zainal Abidin Hassan, Dollah Salleh and Fandi
Ahmad. Foreign coaches have helped their careers too.
"They know how to prepare not for a 90-minute match, but for a full
season. And they can get results by adopting a personal and professional
"From Dr. Josef Venglos, Josef Jankech and Milous Kvacek. They have been
marvellous," he said.

Friday, March 20, 1992

AFC: Quality first (The Malay Mail)

THE increasing number of Asian countries expected to adhere to the call by
the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to go professional or
semi-professional is going to further attract foreign players.
To this effect, the AFC have expressed concern on the quality of such
"Most of the countries who have gone professional or semi-professional
have a restriction on foreign players, so the flow is controlled," said
AFC secretary general Peter Velappan.
"Their presence does not threaten the livelihood of the locals.
"Asian countries are aware going pro or semi-pro will raise the standard
of soccer. But local players must be involved. Foreigners are mainly to
add strength and glamour."
Velappan expressed concern on the flow of average foreign players into
the Asian market.
AFC were also concerned that clubs were dealing with soccer agents not
recognised by Fifa.
Velappan said that AFC and even national associations can help clubs get
good foreign players.
"National associations with good contacts in Europe will certainly have
good relationships with clubs to assist in loaning quality players.
"If there are problems, we can help out.
"Clubs can establish direct contact with their overseas counterparts and
request for assistance. It is easier than dealing with agents."
Velappan said many top clubs in Europe are having difficulties managing
big squads, especially with reserves who are good but cannot find a place
in the first team. Their balance sheet at the end of the year normally
runs into deficits.
"These clubs will be more than happy to loan players for free or even
nomimal fees. This way Asian clubs can be assured of quality players."
Velappan said clubs can even go a step further by arranging exchange
programmes or training stints.
He said some of the foreign players who turn up for trials are of a low
standard, perhaps no better than local Div One players.

Wednesday, February 26, 1992

Give us a break (The Malay Mail)

 LOCAL soccer coaches drew flak at the Semi-Pro seminar at Genting
Highlands recently forcing several moves to he taken to upgrade their
One of the moves is in introduce graded coaches among FAM advance
certificate holders.
The technical and youth development committee, chaired by the Tengku
Mahkota of Pahang, then ruled that all current holders of the FAM advanced
certificate will not be good enough to coach Semi-Pro teams. This rule is
effective from next season.
All current holders of the advanced certificate will be classified as
Grade B licensed coaches who will be elligible to coach youth teams. Those
who want to coach Semi-Pro teams will have to sit for another course to
get the Grade A licence.
The Tengku Mahkota did not mince his words when he said Malaysia have
to produce coaches just as good as their foreign counterparts. He said the
standard of local coaches has stagnated.
To make matters worse, there is an imbalance between local and
foreign Semi-Pro coaches.
Of the 16 teams competing this season in both divisions, ten have
foreign coaches.
In Div One are Michael Urukalo (Johor), Len Ashurst (Pahang), Oldrich
Sedlack (Sabah) Milan Hanko (Negri)) and Allan Vest (Sarawak).
The local coaches are Chan Sze Onn (Perak), Chow Kwai Lam (KL),
Mazlan Harun (Selangor) and Abdullah Mohammed (Terengganu).
Singapore have Milous Kvacek.
The remaining five foreign coaches are in Div Two. They are : Robert
Albert (Kedah), Heese Horst (Kelantan), Bragego Bratic (Penang), Ken
Morten (Police) and Marko Bilic (Malacca)
The two local coaches are: Khidir Buyong (Forces) and Mohamad Che Su
Second Division's Brunei is coached by Hussein Al-Juned of Singapore.
MAZLAN HARUN: Malaysian soccer has survived and did well with local
coaches in the past. We even did well internationally.
Take Selangor for instance. We have always been the soccer power in
Malaysian soccer and with the local coaches.
Suddenly there is an influx of foreign coaches while locals have
taken a back-seat.
I still believe that unless local coaches are given the confidence,
we cannot develop calibre coaches.
Besides, some foreign coaches, who are here, are not all that good
But to a certain extent I have to admit that some of our local
coaches lack ability in spotting talent and developing it.
Maybe we should work in this area so that local coaches have a better
eye for talent.
Otherwise, I feel local coaches should be given recognition.
CHOW KWAI LAM: More local coaches should be given responsibility to
handle teams if the standard of Malaysian coaches is to rise. How can
local coaches learn if they are not given the opportunity to handle teams.
More and more teams are placing their faith in foreign coaches and
some them are no better than our local coaches.
There is definitely no uniformity with coaches from different
Maybe, a better way would be to have one highly qualified foreign
coach at the helm of Malaysian soccer to conduct courses for local state
This was the case when Dave McLaren was here in the late 60s and Karl
Weigang in the late 70s. And both occasions the national team went to do
well to qualify for the 1972 Munich Olympics and 1980 Moscow Olympics.
I am not against the presence of foreign coaches here, but probably
we should be selective and only get the best.
And most foreign coaches, handling State teams, are not really
interested in the development of the game in the country but short term
But there are already several coaches in Malaysia who have a licensed
certificate from Germany.
Besides myself, there is Mohamad Bakar (Penang), Abdullah Mohammad
and Abdul Rahman lbrahim (both Terengganu) and Mahadi Yusof (Kelantan).
Our gradings should be recognised and maybe we can just attend a refresher
KHAIDIR BUYONG: Local coaches are said to be not good enough, but
they are not given the freedom to handle teams as foreign coaches are.
I am sure if local coaches are given the same privileges and rights,
they too can produce results.
For example, a foreign coach is given permission to hire any foreign
player he wants and form the team the way he wants with no interference at
But local coaches cannot do the same.
Besides, team officials have a bigger say. Local coaches are not paid
as well, and do not recieve the same perks as foreign coaches.
ABDULLAH MOHAMAD: Foreign coaches do not necessarily spell success
and this his been proven in the three seasons of Semi-Pro league. There
have been foreign coaches whose teams have finished worse off than teams
coached by foreigners.
In this respect, I feel local coaches should have been given the
benefit of being involve in our top league so that they too can learn and
Unless confidence is placed on local coaches, they are definitely not
going to improve because they do not have the opportunities.
Thus it is unfair to compare local coaches with foreign coaches.
CHAN SZE ONN: Local coaches should be assessed against foreign
coaches with the same terms and conditions. But this is not the case.
Local coaches work under restrictions, while foreign coaches have
I am glad I have been given an opportunity to handle the Perak team,
after a foreigner (Marko Bilic) last year. I will definitely do my best to
prove that local coaches can do as well, if not better than foreigners.
As for the grading of coaches, I feel it is always good to learn
something new. I am sure if there is going to be a grading among advanced
certificite holders, there will be something new to be imparted.
But maybe an exception could be given to coaches who have advanced
certificates for sometime now and have been actively involved. Probably a
refresher's course will suffice.
MOHAMAD CHE SU: There is a growing tendency to believe that if
something is foreign it is good. This is not necessarily the case
especially in soccer. If it is the best of the foreign coaches who come
here, it will be good for the game, players and local coaches.
But in most cases, foreign coaches are average ones and some of our
local coaches are better.
As for grading of advanced certificate holders, I will definitely not
attend because at 52, I cannot possibly be as active as the younger
Besides, with wider experience, senior coaches should be exempted.
Probably refresher course will just serve the purpose of informing coaches
on the latest development in coaching. But asking them to go through
physical drills and examinations would be asking too much of senior
MICHAEL URUKALO and ALLAN VEST: We foreign coaches are here because
we want to help Malaysian soccer. Our services have been sought and we
have no qualms about coming here to impart whatever knowledge we have
gained over the years from wherever we come from.
The foreign coaches Malaysian states have got are equivalent to what
they are prepared to pay for.
Of course, one cannot expect to get a World Cup coach.
But those who have taken up an appointment, I must say they are
qualified and have their own merits and credentials.
Afterall, State FAs had the last say in employing them. So I see no
reason why there should be any complaints.
To say that foreign coaches are not interested in the development of
the game here is wrong.
Again it falls back to the State FAs. It all depends on what the
State FAs want from foreign coaches. Most Stae FAs offer shorts and want
immediate results. Under the circumstances, foreign coaches do at they
have to do - assemble experienced players and recruit talented and
experienced foreign players.
One cannot have development and success at the same time.
If it is development the State FAs want, then they must be prepared
to hire coaches for a longer period.
In any case, even if coaches are here for short periods, most of them
still conduct clinics for local coaches and help out in the youth
development programmes. But sometimes, the heavy Semi-Pro league
commitment simply makes it impossible for foreign coaches to concentrate
on other areas.
On the subject of there being no uniformity because there are foreign
coaches from many countries, I suppose it has two sides.
The variety of coaching means producing a variety of players. This
should certainly be welcomed because then the national selectors will have
a variety of players to choose from.
Local coaches too can benefit as they get a variety too. There is
always a local coach attached to us and he can pick up useful tips.
But it is a fact that foreign coaches have produced results here and
that alone should underline the fact that foreign coaches have done their
jobs well.
Of course not all foreign coaches can win a title because there are
only three titles - League Cup, Malaysia Cup and FA Cup - and there are
definitely more than three foreign coaches.
Some have to win and some have to lose and that is the name of the
But we are sure that each one of us has done or will be doing our
jobs to the best of our abilities with the aim to see the teams we coach
do well.
I do not think anyone of us is here for a holiday.
Soccer is in our blood and that is why we are here.
Any success here will add to our credentials and local coaches should
not treat us as aliens, but to work closely for the benefit of Malaysian
Just like local coaches, we have a job to do, and do it well.