Tuesday, December 13, 1994

You blew it, Seela (12/12/1994 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 12/12/1994
Headline : You blew it, Seela

THE sacking of Pahang's Alan Davidson and Kedah's Norazam Ishak in the
second leg Malaysia Cup semifinals on Saturday was too harsh, to say the
The two players, in attempting to get back on their feet after a
collision in the 80th minute, appeared to kick each other.
It was nothing serious, just a heat of the moment reaction. But referee
S. Seelarajen saw it as a capital offence.
The decision was very much a reflection of Seelarajen's attitude towards
the players.
He showed no diplomacy and probably saw the players as his enemies.
Perhaps he should be reminded that a referee should use his power
judiciously to ensure the game is played according to the rules.
However, his aggressive nature on the field shows either he insecure or
feels he should punish the players.
Seelarajen, in sacking the players on Saturday, certainly did not take
into consideration that they had slogged the entire season to play in the
The two players did not throw punches at each other, abuse the referee
or were violent in their conduct.
There is no question about an infringement, but did it warrant a red
Seelarajen could have just warned them verbally or at worst flashed a
yellow card.
Norazam had only come on as a substitute eight minutes earlier and had
not committed any offence during that period. Did he not deserve a warning
Norazam, who has not played for almost three months because of a back
injury, only returned to play on Saturday. He was in tears immediately
after the sacking.
Davidson was in the thick of action but was never warned by the referee.
Instead, Davidson appealed to Seelarajen to be more stern as both teams
were getting carried away in the heat of the game.
It is reliably learnt Seelarajan told Davidson to shut his mouth
because he had a big mouth.
Is that any way to treat a player?
And to make matters worse, there were several incidents which warranted
a caution but Seelarajen either missed it or allowed play to go on.
One such incident was the deliberate elbowing of Pahang's Azamat
Abdouraimov by Kedah's Farouk Ismail but Seelarajen waved play on while
linesman Amir Shariffuddin also did not make his stand.
Perhaps Seelarajan should take a cue from his senior peer, V.K.S.
Sinniyah, who officiated the first leg in Kuantan on Tuesday.
Despite the muddy and slippery ground conditions, Sinniyah had full
control of the game.
He told the players to calm down and get on with the game.
His diplomacy worked and Sinniyah saw no reason to flash any cards
during the entire game.
He did not disrupt play unnecessarily and blew for only 21 infringements
throughout the match.
Match officials should have a better rapport with players instead of
adopting an antagonistic attitude.
Punish them if necessary but do not abuse your powers!
The FA of Malaysia referees committee could have been more sensitive in
appointing match officials.
Although they are all considered national referees regardless of the
state they are from, referees are only human and sometimes allow their
emotions to get in the way.
Seelarajen is from Selangor and with Selangor battling for a Cup final
berth too, it was unwise to appoint him as the referee.
He was also the centre of attention in the last Group A match when Perak
entertained Singapore.
Seelarajen flashed the red card at Singapore's Malek Awab for a sliding
tackle on a wet pitch.
It so happened Selangor were playing Singapore in the first leg
semifinals at the National Stadium in their next match.
Coincidence? Maybe, but why give room for such speculations or put the
match officials under such pressure.
On Saturday, it was surprising that Malaysia's top referee, Nazri
Abdullah was at Darulaman Stadium, but as a reserve referee.
Initially it was felt Nazri had taken ill before the match and
Seelarajen had deputised.
However, match inspector Zainal Abidin said after the match he had
insisted Seelarajen be the referee.
Seelarajen is an up and coming match official but if he does not change
his attitude, he will not be going very far.
Where the players are concerned the damage has been done and Davidson
will have to bear the pain of missing the Malaysia Cup final.

Monday, December 12, 1994

Forever 17 (The Malay Mail)

THE number 17 is special to Pahangirsts Zainal Abidin Hassan (above) and
Singapore's Fandi Ahmad. And it's coincidental that the Malaysia Cup final
will be played on Dec 17 at Shah Alam Stadium.
Immediately after Pahang qualified for the final in Alor Star on
Saturday, Zainal said he is looking forward to meeting his old mate in the
"And I think it means a great deal to both of us as the final is on Dec
17," said Zainal.
"The number has been pivotal in our careers. For me, I'll be wearing it
for my eighth Malaysia Cup final."
Zainal, 32, picked the 17 jersey because he made his debut with Selangor
at the age of 17 in 1980.
"It must be the same for Fandi," said Zainal, who in 1992 played
together with Fandi for Pahang in their Malaysia Cup victory over Kedah.
Fandi began wearing the 17 jersey in 1982 while playing for Niac Mitra
after a suggestion from a fan. Before that, he was using the No 14 jersey.
Indeed, attention will be on the duo who are their respective country's
top player since the 80s.
Fandi, without doubt, is Singapore's most talented and decorated player.
He not only made his mark with Singapore but also with Kuala Lumpur,
Pahang and in Europe.
Both are now in their twilight of their careers, thus another appearance
in the Malaysia Cup final is quite a remarkable feat.
Zainal appeared in four finals with Selangor (1980, 1981, 1982 and 1986)
and three with Pahang (1983, 1984 and 1992). He has five winner's medal -
three with Selangor in 1981, 1982, and 1986, and two with Pahang in 1983
and 1992.
Fandi appeared in his first final as 16-year-old in 1979 for Singapore
and has since played in six finals. He has five winner's medals.
Like Zainal, Fandi has winner's medals from different teams. He has a
winner's medal with Singapore (1980), three with Kuala Lumpur (1987, 1988
and 1989) and one with Pahang (1992).
The battle between Zainal and Fandi will not be a battle of who is the
better striker but how Zainal is going to stop Fandi from scoring.
In a twist of fate, Zainal will be filling the sweeper's role in the
absence of the suspended Alan Davidson.
Pahang coach Tajuddin Nor said Zainal had played this role once this
season - against Sarawak in their Malaysia Cup group tie.
On Saturday, Zainal assumed the role immediately after Davidson was sent
off in the 80th minute.
"I could also use Ahmad Yusof as sweeper but I think Iirstll go for Zainal
against a team like Singapore," said Tajuddin.
"Whatever, I am glad I am still playing at this age," added Zainal, who
is five months younger to Fandi (Fandi was born on May 29, 1962 while
Zainal was born on Nov 8, 1962).

Monday, October 17, 1994

Spare Shalin the pain (The Malay Mail)

MALAYSIAN sports is better known for controversies, squabbles and
bickering rather than achievements.
And when something fruitful does come along, it is only a matter of time
before we allow the achievement get the better of us. Or worse, to fade
away just as quickly.
There's already a storm brewing in bowling. And that's unfortunate
because bowlers have always allowed results to speak for them.
They were the top contributors in the Asian Games in Hiroshima, having
won two golds, a silver and two bronze medals, And in the process broke
six Asian Games records - women's doubles (two pairs), womens trios (two
teams), women five players and men's All-Events.
But all that has been spoilt by the controvery surrounding youngster
Shalin Zulkilfi, who won golds in the All-Events and women's trio.
In all started when Shalin's parents misconstrued coach Sid Allen's
statements. Allen never claimed credit for Shalin's victory here.
All he had said was that he was glad Shalins parents have left her to
bowl on her own.
Allen said then: "Shalin is a natural. She needs little coaching and
should be allowed to be independent. She will seek advice when she needs
"Even when she turns to me, I merely correct her flaws, if any. In the
end, she makes her own decision."
Shalin's talent should be encouraged. She doesn't deserve this mental
Shalin's parents role has been signifiant. Nobody can deny them that
credit. But there also comes a time when parents should hand over the
reins to the professionals.
A case in point is swimmer Nurul Huda Abdullah, who faded away before
she realised her full potential. Her mother's influence was just too
The athlete should not become a victim of cirumstances. The youngster
should not be a pawn in a game that adults want to play.
Shalin is a potential world champion but if the pettiness is not nipped
in the bud, she will never make it there.
Allen has been good for Malaysian bowling. With the parent's dedication,
Shalin's own talent and Allen's expertise, the world will be world beckons
Under Allen, the bowlers have improved technically, physically and
mentally. Not many of Malaysia's other athletes can boast about such
complete preparation.
Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) have done well under Dr P.S.
Nathan's leadership. The administration is stable, have a good development
programme and there's continuity in coaching.
Allen has been in the country for four years and MTBC have a nine-year
programme to ensure Malaysia is among the top bowling nations.
MTBC have certainly done better than their local counterparts.
Let's bury the hatchet and work with the interest of sport and nation at

Sunday, October 9, 1994

Shalin a hit at 16 (The Malay Mail)

Reporting from Hiroshima, Japan (Asian Games)
YOUNG bowler Shalin Zulkifli has put herself in line to become the darling
of the Malaysian contingent and a world champion in the near future with
her alley-blazing efforts in Hiroshima.
The 16-year-old student from Sekolah Menengah Bandaraya in Kuala Lumpur,
after failing to win medals in two earlier events, the singles and
doubles, more than made up for that when she bagged the gold in the
women's trios partnering Lydia Kwah and Shirley Chow yesterday.
After another fine performance, the Form Four student stayed in line for
another medal, probably a silver, in the All-Events where she trails South
Korean leader Kim Sook Young by 212 pins.
She will also qualify for the Masters.
In fact, she narrowly missed the singles bronze, finishing just five
pins behind the winner of that medal, Singapore's Grace Young.
In the doubles, Shalin did well again but was unlucky that partner Lisa
Kwan was sick and did not bowl to expectations.
Shalin is very much focused on the job at hand. "I am doing fine but I
could do better," she said. "I am just giving my best and competing with
no pressure at all.
"It is great to be doing well and I hope I will continue to bowl the way
I have been doing the last few days, if not better."
Shalin gave the bowling team a scare on the opening day when she fainted
at the opening ceremony and also had a cut on her thumb.
But she has shown tremendous determination and mental strength to rise
to the occasion.
She is so cool despite getting all the attention at the bowling centre.
A product of the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) development
programme, Shalin is certainly heading for bigger things.
"She is a world class bowler," said national coach Sid Allen.
"I have been in bowling for 31 years and never have I seen a 16-year-old
bowl so well. She is an exceptional talent who can become a world
However, Allen voiced one reservation: that Shalin is allowed to
progress at her own pace.
"I just hope that Shalin does not become another Nurul Huda Abdullah.
The swimmer had tremendous potential, but she got lost along the way.
"Shalin is a bowler who does well on her own. She will ask for guidance
or help when she needs it. That is why I leave her alone to a great extent
and only guide her when she turns to me.
"I do not see her fumbling here unless there is some drastic change in
form. She is hitting the head pin very well and gets it nine out of ten
times. With such accuracy she cannot go wrong."
It has been a great year for Shalin. Since making her international
debut at the Singapore Sea Games where she won two gold (trios and fives)
and two silver (Masters and doubles) medals, she won the singles bronze at
World Youth Championships in Mexico this August, then a gold (singles) and
silver (All-Events) at the Asian FIQ, and then the gold at the prestigious
Malaysia Airlines International All-Stars in Kuala Lumpur - the first time
in 14 years that a Malaysian had won in a highly competitive event
featuring world class bowlers.
And her winning streak continues here in Hiroshima.

Tuesday, September 27, 1994

Man with the Midas touch (The Malay Mail)

DATUK TAHA ARIFFIN, Malaysia's Chef-de-mission to the Hirsohima Asian
Games, is the man with the Midas touch, at least where Sarawak soccer is
He is responsible for transforming the backwater state into a soccer
powerhouse and many are hoping Taha will lend that golden touch to the
Asian Games contingent.
But the modest and softspoken Taha prefers to keep a low profile and
motivate the contingent in his own way.
"I certainly don't have a magic wand. Whatever was achieved with Sarawak
soccer was through hard work and over a period of time," said Taha.
"Besides, with Sarawak soccer it is just one sports. We are competing in
18 events in the Asian Games.
"Then again, each sport has had its own preparation and the role of the
chef-de-mission is very different from being involved directly with just a
"Nevertheless, I intend to do my best to motivate the athletes to give
their best," he said.
Taha is honoured to lead the Malaysian contingent to a pretigious event
like the Asian Games.
"I was really surprised when I was first nominated as the chef-de-
"I intend to take the appointment as a challenge and do my best to help
the athletes in Japan," he said.
Taha said the national training camp in Shah Alam was one area where he
had helped to motivate the athletes.
"The stint at the national training camp was an important one. Instead
of going as individual sports for the Games, we have managed to instill a
family unity among them.
"The odds are stacked against us but will fight on.
"The athletes are aware they are not representing their sports or
themselves but the whole nation. They are also aware that discipline is
the key to success."
Taha does not want to put any undue pressure on the athletes.
"They have all worked hard and long to prepare for the Games. I am sure
they want to do well.
"But at the end of the day it is going to be a team effort as we have
have to be united in our effort and support and encourage each other,
especially since we are competing away from home," said Taha.
In the last Games in Beijing, Malaysia won two goal medals in
sepaktakraw (regu and team) while the silvers came from men's badminton
and swimmer Jeffery Ong.
The bronze medals came from Rashid Sidek (singles) and Razip-Jalani
Sidek (doubles) in badminton, the men's hockey team and women's athletics
4x400m relay team.
Taha will be assisted by Ho Koh Chye, the National Sports Council deputy
director general, who is the assistant chef-de-mission.
Name: Datuk Taha Ariffin
Age : 51
Place of Birth: Kuching, Sarawak.
Position: A Lawyer who has been invloved with the Sarawak State Government
for many years. He was the secretary to the Ministry of Social Development
of Sarawak before being appointed Deputy State Secretary three years ago.
He is the Deputy-President of the Football Association of Sarawak and an
FA of Malaysia vice-president. He is also a member of the excecutive
council of the Olympic Council of Malaysia.
He is the chef-de-mission to the Hiroshima Asian Games.

Where states are as guilty (26/09/1994 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 26/09/1994
Headline : Where states are as guilty

JUDGING by the State FAs registration list for next month's Malaysia Cup
competition, it's being left to the FA of Malaysia to fight the bribery
What else can anyone deduce, because after many State FAs stating that
matches have been fixed in this years Premier League, and given a
opportunity to clean up their respective teams by allowing them fresh
registration for the Malaysia Cup competition (utilising players from the
Reserve League), they have still decided to stick with the same players
who played in the Premier League.
Except for Sabah, who have left out their first choice goalkeeper M.
Pavalamani, the rest of the States had only used the new registration to
include two more players because the registration number is now 22 instead
of 20, or filling players for injured or banned ones.
It only underlines that State FAs would join in the bandwagon to say
matches have been fixed and even mention names of their players whom they
think are fixing matches, but when it comes to the crunch of things, they
back out.
It only goes to show that most States FA will not do anything drastic to
jeopordise their teams chances in the Malaysia Cup competition.
Of course, most State FAs will argue that they cannot take action
without ample proof of bribery allegations on their players, but if they
seriously believe that their players have been cheating on them, why dont
they just leave them out.
Sabah has done it, but just to one player, although many more were
But at least they have taken a bold step compared to the rest who rather
sit back and see others like the Police or the Anti-Coruption Agency (ACA)
do the dirty job for them.
If the State FAs do not help or initiate the move, it will definitely be
difficult for the Police or the ACA to act.
States will also argue that players are contracted and they cannot
terminate their contracts all of a sudden.
If State FAs are really serious about cleaning up the Malaysia soccer,
there should be no BUTS.
Surely, the State FA can leave the player out of the registration list
but still keep him on their payroll until the contract is over.
And if the player does not show up for training just because he has been
left out of the Malaysia Cup competition, they will have a reason to sack
the player, as was in the case of Pavalamani.

Wednesday, August 31, 1994

Heading Nowhere (The Malay Mail)

ANOTHER Olympic soccer squad for the 1996 Atlanta Games have been named
and are now training in France and coincidentally, a national team have
also been named at the same time for the Hiroshima Asian Games in October.
One may ask what have the two squads in common?
The answer should matter a great deal because in most countries, their
Olympic squads have seen many of their players promoted to the national
But sadly in Malaysia, it has always not been the case.
Time and again, we have the Olympic squad or the Tigers or back-up squad
... call them by whatever name, but they are supposed to be feeder squads.
But most of the time, we find that millions of ringgit are spent on
these feeder squads, only to see these players never realising their full
potential or are neglected halfway and failing to make the national squad.
It was no different when the Asian Games squad were named.
Only four players from the "Barcelona Babes" made the national squad.
They are strikers Azman Adnan and Ong Kim Swee, midfielder Yap Wai Loon
and defender Chong King Kong, who was a striker with the squad then.
Whatever happened to the 24 odd players who had trained for 18 months
for the Barcelona pre-Olympic tournament and featured in more than 80
local and international matches - where close to one million ringgit was
spent on them!
Most of these players are still playing with their respective States,
but they are suddenly not good enough to make the grade for the senior
national team.
One would ask what had happened along the way? Many reasons come to
One of them is that the Barcelona Olympic squad were not retained after
their assignment.
This is nothing new because since the Tigers squad were formed in the
early 80s, we have often been told that they would be our future national
team but only to see a few of the players being promoted midway and the
rest of them left out.
And each time a national coach was named, he would pick the cream of
players to have a mixed squad and more players were lost in the process.
Then of course, the players themselves have to be blamed. Their Olympic
status are upgraded the moment they finish their assignments and State FAs
would pay high wages to secure them.
Therein lies the problem because players who are only 21 suddenly get to
enjoy the luxuries of life and soon get carried away and forget all about
Among the players from the 1991 Olympic squad who have not made the cut
are Chong Kim Boon, Mohamad Firos Mohamed, Othman Katmon, Chee Wan Hoe,
Salahuddin Che Ros, Saziman Ismail, Ahmad Fauzi Ibrahim, Ghazali Ismail,
V. Thinagaran, G. Karthekayan, Loius Jakai, Wong Kok Sum, Abu Bakar
Ismail, Edres Selamat, Lee Thean Ewe, Mubin Mokhtar, Malek Rahman, Adnan
Ibrahim, Azmi Ahmad and Mohamad Riduan Abdul Rafar.
It is hoped that the same fate does not befall this Olympic squad
because we will only be going through the motion all over again without
heading anywhere.

Thursday, August 18, 1994

Spoilt brats! (17/08/1994 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 17/08/1994
Headline : Spoilt brats!

SOCCER players in the country are fast gaining a reputation as an
ungrateful and spoilt lot.
And with news fast spreading that soccer players are into `fixing
matches' these days, their reputation has deteriorated further.
Indeed, a majority of the local soccer players hardly know the word
The players claim to be professionals because the game has now become
their bread and butter in Malaysia but everything is just a cosmetic
The players are as amateur as they were before the game went semi-pro in
1989 and professional this year.
Soccer players earn anything between RM1,000 and RM15,000 per month
without any proper academic qualifications.
A graduate from a university expects to earn about RM800 to RM1,000 in
his first job.
Soccer players train about for a maximum of two to three hours for five
days a week and play 90 minutes of soccer at the end of the week. A normal
wage earner works between seven and ten hours a day and his wages do not
even come close to soccer players.
Even a doctor who does locum tenons is paid only about RM130 to RM160
for a seven to eight-hour job when a soccer player who earns an average of
RM6,000 gets about RM200 for two to three hours of training a day.
And some of them do not even have the Sijil Rendah Pendidikan (SRP or
But the players sadly are not as professional as the doctors or other
skilled workers doing their jobs.
Soccer players have fancy cars, luxurious homes, spend quite a bit on
entertainment and, in short, live life on the fast lanes and come under
the high society bracket.
Of course the players defend their high wages by saying that they have a
short playing career and they have to earn high wages now to support
themselves later.
All this is fine, if they go about their jobs (playing the game) with
all sincerity and commitment.
But most of the time, half of the professionals take the State FAs of
even the national body for a ride.
They play when want to and take it easy when they feel like it.
And at the end of the day, the losers, besides the game itself, are the
fans who fork out their hard earned wages to watch these players make a
mockery of themselves.
And to add salt to the injury, some players are involved with the fixing
of matches and, in the process, earning some unbelievable sums of money by
cheating the public and the soccer administrators.
Sometimes, one begins to wonder if these players have such a greed for
money just to maintain their high profile and expensive lifestyles.
Worst of all, these players do not justify their high salaries by trying
to put up a decent performance.
And at the end of the season, the players market themselves and the
State FAs fall for their tricks whereby they will haggle with other States
to secure their services and inevitably "jacking up" these players'
It is about time these players put the brakes and think seriously
whether they are doing justice to the soccer fans and the game.
If these players have any conscience, they will repent and give the
value the game deserves.

Wednesday, June 22, 1994

Try a little kindness (21/06/1994 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 21/06/1994
Headline : Try a little kindness

WHEN sportswriters are forced to sit on a wet ground to cover a Premier
League soccer match, which mind you is a professional league, you cant get
any more unprofessional. Never mind, kindness.
This was what happened at the Perlis-Kuala Lumpur match at the Datuk
Sheikh Ahmad Stadium on Saturday evening. And frankly, it was the pits as
far as treatment of the Press is concerned.
We can handle modest looking rooms, with wobbly chairs, and even fans
that sound like they are going to take off any moment. For God's sake, we
are not looking for a place that looks like a room in The Ritz. But when
you give us a wet ground, that's something no one will take sitting down.
What more when you are not even allowed to take chairs inside the fenced
area to sit on. At first a Perlis FA official allowed us the luxury of a
chair or two, and the two of us do it, but five minutes into the match a
Police officer had them removed as it was against the rules.
When asked where should we sit then, he arrogantly said we should sit on
the ground. Maybe he should try doing that sometimes.
But the question is, why isn't there a Press Room, or even a miserable
place designated for the media. We are talking about going professional,
and here you have an FA who cant even handle something so simple and basic
like arranging for Press seats.
The local reporters may be used to it. They even brought plastic sheets
to the game as they knew they would have sit on the wet ground on that
rainy day.
But they have no reason to. When asked why they allowed it, they said
they had requested time and again for Press seats, but no one paid
Frankly, we are all quite tired of asking for some decent place to work
from. Gone are the days when we only carry a notebook to venues. Now we
carry laptops and work from the venues.
We have gone professional, but it's obvious that some FAs haven't. Yes,
Perlis aren't the only ones who cannot provide for Press seats.
We have literally begged FA of Malaysia to inform all State FAs of the
our requirements, and we have been doing it year in year out. But who
Sometimes one wonders how the the FA of Malaysia officials, who inspect
venues before the season kicks off, give the nod when there are
Perhaps they too believe the media aren't important enough for them to
pay any attention to. Not even important enough to have telephone lines
installed, or to have team lists provided before kick-off.

Thursday, June 2, 1994

Glamoir get into the act (NST)

THE Malay Mail football team received a shot in the arm when Glamoir World
of Sports, a sports promotion company, came forward to sponsor them in the
Dunhill League this season.
The company will donate RM25,000 in cash and kind to the team who will
be playing their first match against STM today.
The Malay Mail team, who were runnersup last season and were President's
Cup champions in 1992, will now be called the Glamoir-Malay Mail team.
Glamoir World of Sports' chief executive officer Abdullah Hishan Mohamed
Hashim gave away the jerseys to the team manager Tony Mariadass at Balai
Berita yesterday.

Big boost for Malay Mail (The Malay Mail)

GLAMOIR MALAY MAIL have every reason to beat STM in their opening Kuala
Lumpur Dunhill League match today at STM ground (kickoff 4pm).
The Malay Mail team received a boost yesterday when Glamoir World of
Sports, a sports promotion company, came forward to sponsor them in the
Dunhill League this season.
The company will provide RM25,000 in cash, souveniors and match bonuses.
Glamoir chief executive officer Abdullah Hishan Hashim, who presented
jerseys to Malay Mail team manager Tony Mariadass, hopes to see the team
clinch the title this season.
"With City Hall and Maybank competing in the FAM League, we have a
bright chance of winning the title.
"A consistent performance from the players is the key to Malay Mail's
success," said Hishan.
Malay Mail, runnersup last season and President's Cup champions in 1992,
will now be officially called GlamoirMalay Mail.
This evening, Malay Mail will depend on their new players to deliver the
The newcomers are Faizal Ismail, Teng Kim Bin, Hasan Yunus, Rajendra
Manio, Nathan Ramasamy, Shiranjit Singh, Jeffery Kamaruddin, Massaud Zain
and Subramani Kuttyandy.
Today's fixtures: Glamoir Malay Mail v STM (STM ground); Cardinal Villa
v Sinaran Mutiara (Hospital ground). (Matches at 4pm).

Friday, May 13, 1994

FAs making a bad im-press-ion (12/05/1994 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 12/05/1994
Headline : FAs making a bad im-press-ion

THE media play a key role in the promotion, development and publicity of
any sport event. And soccer, despite its popularity with the masses, has
always been given extensive coverage.
But it's unfortunate that the majority of soccer officials overlook this
At least, this is what one would surmise from the reception meted to
sports reporters in several States.
The FA of Malaysia have cultivated a healthy relationship with the media
and yet the State FAs have acted indifferently.
Time and again, the national body had briefed their affiliates on the
needs of the media but this appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
This season, FAM even told the FAs to appoint a Press liaison officer to
see to the needs of the media. Most have yet to fulfil this obligation.
In places like England, the media are a pampered lot. Receptions are
held for reporters before and after matches. Drinks are even served during
a match.
The Press room, too, is fully equipped with telephone and fax
Most stadia in Europe even have closed circuit television in the Press
room, hence instant replays of goals and other highlights are immediately
None of these exist in Malaysia. To say that we are in the professional
era is a fallacy.
Reporters can consider themselves lucky if they could get hold of the
team list for a match.
In some stadiums, there is no even a Press room at all and where a chair is a
luxury. Can you blame the media if they were found sitting on the running
Even then, the window panes of Press rooms are dirty.
Recently, a State FA official - when requested for the team list - said
it was not their duty to provide one.
This official, ironically a liaison officer, produced an FAM circular
which mentioned that the reserve referee was responsible for the team
What the circular meant was the reserve referee was responsible for
compiling the starting 11 from the two teams playing.
It is not his job to distribute the team list to the media.
After this explanation, this official took the trouble to get an extra
copy of the team list for this writer.
However, the other reporters were not given the list and had to copy the
players' names from me.
We are not asking for the world. We don't need drinks or receptions.
All we want is a proper place to work and with the necessary details
The FA of Selangor have even taken the liberty to decide who should
cover the matches.
Several reporters had their passes issued by the Sportswriters
Association of Malaysia, which are recognised by the FA of Malaysia,
confiscated because the State FA gateman felt that another writer from the
same press had gained entry earlier.
The passes were later returned after several senior writers approached
the FAS to express their dissatisfaction.
The official's argument was that there were too many Pressmen for every
Our argument is who are the FAS to decide who and how many should cover
a match.
After all, the media use the Press box provided at Merdeka Stadium and
even if there were too many reporters for a particular match, they are the
ones who are inconvenienced by its limitations in space.
Even then, we find fans who encroach into the Press area to deny us the
opportunity to get a seat or work in peace.
Maybe they should think of expanding the Press room and providing
assistance in keeping away the paying fans from occupying it instead of
denying us entry.
But the State FAs have a ready-made excuse - the stadia do not belong to
If only some concerted efforts were made, things would definitely have
been better.
Malaysian sportswriters were not the only ones mistreated. One
Singaporean writer, who had all relevant accreditation, had to wait for
an hour before he was allowed to enter the stadium.
The bottomline is that no matter how many reporters turn up to cover a
match, they do not take up the place of paying fans. These reporters are
in the Press room which is meant for them.
This is a clear case of officials who have got too big for the game.
Then we have officials who will have the world's best smiles for us or
find time for us, so as long as we write about them and the association in
a positive light.
The moment, we take a "dig" at them for their unprofessional attitude or
approach, or point out their blunders, we become their Number One public
enemy overnight.
Some players are no different.
Try criticising them in the papers and the next day, they will give the
reporter concerned the cold shoulder treatment. Or if the player is
hypersensitive, as in the case of an ex-national goalkeeper, he will wait
for you with a block of ice in hand after training!
And these are the people who are supposed to be professionals.
Probably, these officials and players should take former national coach
Frank Lord's advice when he told his players who had complained to him
that the Press were giving them a hard time.
Lord had said then: "If you cannot stomach what is written about you in
the papers, then do not read it. If you must read the papers, then taken
whatever is written with a pinch of salt or use it as reason to prove the
wrong by doing the right things."
It is hoped that those concerned should take note of this article in the
right spirit and work immediately towards improving the prevailing
conditions in the interest of the game and as professionals.

Friday, April 29, 1994

Amateurish officials (28/04/1994 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 28/04/1994
Headline : Amateurish officials

WHEN will they ever learn?
For five years, Malaysian soccer went through a trial period (Semi-Pro)
before going fully professionally this year.
But it looks like the five years served no purpose at all, because in
this new era of professionalism, State FAs are still condoning and making
amateurish decisions.
Probably the root of the problem is the officials behind these State
While the players have been told to turn professionals by quitting their
jobs, there are still many part-time officials who use the game as a lever
to promote themselves or use it to reap benefits.
These officials still place themselves above the game.
And, sadly, some of them do not even have a clue about the game and
allow their sentiments to rule rather than their head.
Half the time, these officials are more concerned about being dolled up
on match days and making their presence felt. Some teams have as many
officials as the number of players!
These teams place more emphasis on the presence of officials in the
squad than important personnel like physiotherapists or doctors.
FA of Malaysia for the last five years have held seminars after seminars
to educate these officials to become more professional in their approach
and administration, but it looks like it has only fallen on deaf ears.
Even when the FA of Malaysia spend thousands - and sometimes millions -
of ringgit on study tours overseas, they are of little use.
These officials are more interested in sightseeing and shopping rather
than the soccer programmes arranged.
Probably, it is about time some true young professionals are involved at
the State level and who really take their job seriously.
Of course, there are also some young officials who are already in the
mainstream but, sadly again, either their habits of their predecessors
have rubbed on them or the money in the game has got the better of them.
However, in all fairness to some senior and up-and coming officials,
there are some who are making an earnest effort.
But, what we need is not a few professional officials, but an entire
setup of professional officials!

Saturday, April 23, 1994

Selling an excuse (22/04/1994 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 22/04/1994
Headline : Selling an excuse

ENOUGH is enough! Ever since the soccer season kicked off with the FA Cup
last month, week after week, when a team loses, it is either because the
team was on the `take' or individual players `were involved'.
It has become a lame excuse for losing teams and now even soccer fans
and sportswriters have joined in the bandwagon to say that matches have
been rigged.
The height of the issue surely must be when an afternoon daily (not
Malay Mail) went front page with a report that the Premier League match
between Selangor and Malacca had been rigged and even had the result - 3-1
in favour of Selangor. The end result was 1-1.
Then the following week, Malacca fans were chanting that coach G.
Torairaju and his players had `sold out' when they lost to Singapore.
When Sabah lost 1-5 to Perak, there were suspicions also.
Even Pahang were suspected for their poor showing, but their team
management have cleared them of it after some investigations.
Penang is another team plaqued with these accusations.
Even referees are not spared when home fans accused S. Subramonoven of
being biased in the match against Negri Sembilan just because he flashed
five yellow cards against their players.
State FAs accuse their players are on the `take', but again nothing much
is done because the same players continue to play.
In most cases, these issues come about in teams where they have too many
Some of these officials, who have not the slightest clue about the game,
indulge themselves in talks of bribery and get carried away. And the next
thing you know, they are accusing their players of being dishonest.
Probably these States should take a look at Sarawak.
When was the last time anyone heard Sarawak say anything about bribery
when they lose a match?
Not in a long time - at least not since Alan Vest took charge of the
team because he is a man who does not believe in bribery although he has
heard a lot about it since coming to Malaysia.
Secondly, he believes in his players and has drilled it into them that
if he ever finds out that any of his players are involved, that will be
the last he will see of them.
Above all, Vest is a professional who accepts defeats and wins in the
true spirit of the game.
Although the bribery problem has been in existence for a while now,
nothing much has been done about it.
And it serves no purpose just talking about it week in and week out.
So far, only Armed Forces and Negri Sembilan have taken some positive
Armed Forces FA in 1991 brought Wee Yew Lee to the docks and found him
guilty of bribery.
Negri FA have made an official report to the Negri Sembilan Anti-
Corruption Agency (ACA) on allegations of match-fixing by several of their
players last season during the Semi-Pro League.
Earlier, NSFA had set up a four-member board of inquiry who had come up
with a report and submitted to the ACA to facilitate investigations. The
full investigations are expected to be completed in a month.
The FA of Malaysia, on the other hand, have set up a special task force
comprising police and ACA officers to look into the menace.
Deputy Inspector General Police Datuk Samsuri Arshad has also appealed
to the public to come forward with information.
But until and when State FAs, fans and sportswriters come forward with
information, there is little that can be done.
Thus, it is pointless, talking about the menace when nobody wants to
take the responsibility to bring up the matter to the relevant authorities
and put players to pastures if they are really guilty.
Until then, it is hoped that teams, officials, fans and sportswriters
stop using bribery as a lame excuse each time a team loses.
Winning is important but somebody has to lose sometimes.
Let us watch the matches in the true spirit of the game. Let us hope
that all those involved will adopt a `fair play' attitude to make the game
interesting and entertaining.

Saturday, March 12, 1994

Locals are as good (The Malay Mail)

MALAYSIAN coaches can produce similar results if given the same status as
foreign soccer coaches.
This is the frank opinion of Chow Kwai Lam, one of the locals who has
tasted success in the Malaysia Cup.
The former Kuala Lumpur and Selangor firebrand feels that local coaches
should be given better recognition than what they have been accorded over
the years.
Kwai Lam, who is protem president of the newly-formed Malaysian Coaches
Association, said it was wrong to assume that local coaches are not
capable of producing results.
"A check of the statistics will reveal that local coaches have done
equally well in recent years," he said.
"Ahmad Shafie did well with Kedah, taking them to two Malaysia Cup
finals although they did not win.
"In my opinion, Kedah reaped the rewards of Ahmad's work when they
finally won the Cup in 1990."
He said M. Karathu has also done very well as coach of Perak and
Kwai Lam, too, can also be considered successful, having steered Kuala
Lumpur to three consecutive Malaysia Cup triumphs from 1987 to 1989.
"The bottom line is that coaches like Karathu, Ahmad and myself were
given free rein to carry out our tasks.
"And, with the FAs having had confidence in us, we delivered the goods.
"But, in most cases, local coaches are not given these privileges."
Kwai Lam also drew reference to the fact that, based on the ratio of
foreign coaches to locals since 1989, Malaysians have done well to reach
the semifinal and final stages of the Malaysia Cup and also finished among
top teams in the League.
Yet, he said, local coaches are paid poorly compared with the
"And we have reason to quibble with this fact because, except for a few,
most of the foreign coaches are about the same standard as the locals.
"Some are even less experienced. But they are paid higher than the
locals, given a free hand and glorified by everyone.
Low pay
"It is about time that better recognition and privileges are accorded to
the locals."
Kwai Lam said that foreign coaches are normally employed for a short
"But it defeats the purpose of development of the game and to raise the
standard because once the foreigners leave, there is no continuity.
"Local coaches have the future at heart and work towards long-term
development, but FAs normally do not support this.
"And when local coaches are handling the teams, theyare not given the
mandate to pick the players they want, especially foreigners. But when
foreigners are in charge, they are given a free say. Surely they can
produce better results.
"I am not against foreign coaches working here, but all I am saying is
that they must be of top quality and not just the same standard as local
"Besides, I feel that local coaches should not be discriminated or given
different rules.
"I believe if the local coaches are given the opportunity with everthing
equal as they would treat the foreign coaches, results will definitely be
Kwai Lam said that when local coaches are hired, besides the
restrictions and low pay, they are normally part-timers.
This season, there will be nine foreign coaches and five local coaches,
excluding the two foreign coaches for Singapore and Brunei.
Whether a local coach is able to turn the odds and claim the honours
like a foreign coach is left to be seen.
Since the inaugural SemiPro league, only three local coaches have
managed to taste honours - Khaidir Buyong, Kwai Lam and S. Subramaniam.



1989 NO competition Khaidir Buyong (Selangor) Chow Kwai Lam (KL)
1990 M. Karathu (Perak) Khaidir Buyong (Selangor) Milous Kvacek (Kedah)
1991 Ken Worden (Sgor) Michael Urukalo (Johor) Michael Urukalo (Johor)
1992 Alan Vest (Swak) Mike Brown (Pahang) Mike Brown (Pahang)
1993 S. Subramaniam (KL) Robert Alberts (Kedah) Robert Alberts (Kedah)

Note: FA Cup inagurated in 1990.

Malaysians unless stated:
JOHOR : Wan Jamak Wan Hassan
KEDAH : Robert Rene Alberts (Dutch)
KELANTAN : Milous Kvacek (Slovak)
KUALA LUMPUR : Ken John Shellito (English)
PAHANG : Tajuddin Nor
PERAK : Michael Urukalo (Australian)
PENANG : Mico Radovic (Swede)
SARAWAK : Alan Vest (Australian)
SELANGOR : Bernhard Schumm (German)
SABAH : Kelly Tham Fook Fah
MALACCA : G. Torairaju
PERLIS : Josef Herel (Solvak)
TERENGGANU: Marco Bilic (Yugoslav)

1989: 6
1990: 5
1991: 8
1992: 10
1993: 9
1994: 9

Singapore: Ken Worden (Australian)
Brunei: Mike Lyons (English)

Wednesday, January 19, 1994

Don't spoil young ones with cash (18/01/1994 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 18/01/1994
Headline : Don't spoil young ones with cash

ARE we breeding mercenaries? The cash incentive scheme for school
athletes announced last Tuesday seems to suggest it.
Once these schoolchildren are pampered at an early age, it will be
difficult for them to discard the habit of demanding cash for their
efforts when they progress to the senior state or national teams.
It was announced the athletes will be paid cash rewards for winning
medals or breaking records in track events in state and national
Under the scheme, from this year until 1998, there will be 5,500 prizes
for the top three winners of the 56 events in three age-groups (Under-20,
Under-16 and Under-12) for boys and girls.
The scheme is part of a RM4 million training and development programme
launched by Caltex Oil Malaysia, which was endorsed by the Education
It was reported that the aim of the scheme is to produce a strong
athletics squad for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.
School athletes who match the 1990 Commonwealth Games' top three
winning marks in state and national schools meets will be rewarded with
RM50,000, RM30,000 and RM10,000 respectively.
It is all right to reward achievements, but one wonders if the idea
could have adverse effects on our young athletes, who might end up cash-
Patriotism will then become a thing of the past.
It would have been more appropriate to channel the funds into schools
or the State Sports Councils to upgrade facilities or hire proper
In the scheme, the champion state will get a 115m tartan training
track. More such incentives should have been included instead of
splashing cash on kids.
Alternatively, rewards should be in terms of scholarships.
Already, there are complaints that present day sportsmen and sportswomen
no longer take pride in representing their states or nation.
Undeniably, sport has become more professional. Gone are the days when
athletes ran for the state or country as patriotic representatives.
But there must still be some level of pride in representing the state or
A re-think of the mechanics of the incentive scheme is certainly in

Wednesday, January 12, 1994

What now, Bakar? (11/01/1994 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 11/01/1994
Headline : What now, Bakar?

FA of Malaysia's fickle-mindedness has once again put them in spot.
FA of Malaysia vice-president Datuk Bakar Daud's statement on Sunday
that the national soccer body want their national team to compete in the
Asian Games, even if it means paying their way to Hiroshima, only
underlines the uncertainties in what they want.
And it was indeed surprising that Datuk Bakar had given the statement in
the wake of the FA of Malaysia Council's decision last July that they will
not send a team to Hiroshima, even if the Olympic Council of Malaysia
(OCM) give them the go-ahead.
This decision came about after the president of FA of Malaysia, the
Sultan of Pahang, soon after Malaysia's dismal performance in the
Singapore Sea Games in June had said that he saw no reason why the soccer
team should not go to Hiroshima just because of two defeats in the Sea
Games (to Myanmar 1-2 and Thailand 0-2 and failed to reach the semifinals)
as opposed to the team's fine performance in the Jakarta Anniversary
tournament, the Merdeka tournament and the first leg of the pre-World Cup.
However, the Sultan of Pahang changed his mind on his stand after the
advisory committee chaired by him discussed the matter later.
In this meeting, it was pointed out that if the national team were to
compete in Hiroshima, there will be a target set, and they would not be
ready for that yet because the newlook national team will not be ready for
the next two years.
The rationale behind this move was that although exposure is important,
the idea is to focus thoughts on longterm results and set targets only
when the national team are in a position to deliver.
It was said that the new team to be assembled soon will be kept together
for the next five years. Their main target will be the pre-World Cup
qualifying tournament in 1997.
This did not mean that there will be no targets set until 1997, but
while they were not expecting anything substantial for the next two years,
they were looking forward to making an impact in Asian soccer come 1996 in
the Asian Cup.
But all these plans have been blown away, with Datuk Bakar's plea for
the national team to compete in Hiroshima.
The question on everyone's lips is whether we are ready to compete in
the Asian Games, or merely want to compete for the exposure and suffer
another beating which is certainly not going to help our world ranking but
further demoralise the national players.
Or could it be because competing at the Asian Games is glamorous, even
if it means our pride takes a beating.
And are we going to rely on youth players to perform at a high level
competition as the Asian Games, or we are going back to square one by
recalling all the senior players, only to face another debacle and start
crucifying them all over again for no fault of theirs?
If we were really interested and serious about competing in the Asian
Games, we should have started preparing immediately after the Sea Games
debacle and not wait until the 11th hour to join in the bandwagon to
compete in the Games.
Besides, after all has been finalised for the M-League, Malaysia's
participation in the Asian Games will definitely throw a spanner in the
Lastly, but not the least, Datuk Bakar's statement has given room for
OCM to shoot them down in the open for no apparent reason, but for their
own folly.
Besides, OCM have already made it very clear since two years ago that
teams or individuals who do not meet the qualifying mark cannot pay their
own way to competitions.
With all these known, it was really puzzling how Datuk Bakar came up
with this statement.
Besides, this view of the soccer team competing in Hiroshima has
certainly not been discussed again after their earlier stand at the
Council meeting.
The next Council meeting is this Sunday, and probably Datuk Bakar has
jumped the gun with his personal thoughts on the matter after the
competitions committee meeting on Sunday of which he is the chairman.
This is not the first time that FA of Malaysia have been seen in the
public as being fickle in their planning because there were other
instances like the Tigers squad which was first formed two years before
the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 and was supposed to have been groomed for
the Games.
But, before anything could happen, the team was disbanded as several
potential players were drafted to the already exisiting national team.
It is still happening. Remember the Barcelona Olympic squad? After 18
months of preparation and millions of ringgit pumped in, where are they
Among the other decisions which seemed fickle-minded are:
* Introducing the three-point system in the inaugural Semi-Pro season in
1989 but reverted to the orthodox system the very next season, before
going back to the three-point system again last year.
* The single format league which was in practice from 1982 to 1989 when
the game went semi-professional with two divisions, now reverts back to
the single format for the M-League this season.
* Introducing the National Club League last year, only to change the
format this year to see only one team from each state competing (with the
exception of KL who have two teams) in the new Amateur League. It would
have been more appropriate to introduce a Reserve League, which is finally
being introduced.
Generally, the FA of Malaysia are trying their level best to upgrade the
standard of the game in the country and to attain a respectable standing
among Asian countries but, more often than not, their path has been
impaired by not getting everyone in the association to think in one
direction or at least come to one common consensus and stick by it!