Sunday, January 26, 1997

Licence to protest! (25/01/1997 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 25/01/1997
Headline : Licence to protest!

THERE has been much hue and cry over the ruling allowing States to
register only 15 local players and three foreigners for the new M-League
Strangely, before the decision was made, there were discussions,
explanations and agreement. Now there is confusion, misunderstanding and
All major matters on soccer are discussed before a decision is made but
often it's only when these decisions are implemented that the parties
concerned suddenly wake up and cry foul or express their dissatisfaction.
It happens because the wrong people are present at the wrong meetings.
Sometimes, the right people are there but do not take part in the
discussions or go along with the majority.
Now, there is the issue of local coaches needing the FA of Malaysia A
licence to coach M-League teams.
Perak's Khaidir Buyong is upset the FA of Malaysia do not recognise his
German A licence while not requiring foreign coaches working in Malaysia
to have the FAM A licence.
There is a Malaysian Football Coaches Association (MFCA) and if there
was any disagreement on the matter it should have come through them.
The fact that even MFCA president Chow Kwai Lam and his deputy
president, M. Karathu - German and England coaching licence holders
respectively - attended the A Licence course to qualify themselves,
underlines that an agreement had been reached.
They both hold the FAM advanced coaching certificate, which was earlier
the highest coaching certificate in Malaysia.
Other German trained coaches like Abdullah Mohamad and Abdul Rahman also
attended the course which was reduced to merely a refresher course in
recognition of their contributions.
Khaidir was supposed to have attended a similar course on Jan 3 but did
not because he was out of the country scouting for players for Perak.
The German A licence is conducted by the German FA together with the
German government once in four years for English speaking coaches and
French speaking coaches from developing nations.
This course and the licence is certainly not the same German A licence
given to their own coaches, which is very much more intensive.
Foreign coaches are not required to have the FAM A licence because it
would be ridiculous for FAM to pass judgment on their coaching
Even then, FAM insist State FAs hiring foreign coaches submit the
relevant coaching certificates to them.
The younger breed of Malaysian coaches should take the cue from former
national player Lim Teong Kim who is doing a coaching course in Germany on
his own. He hopes to graduate with a diploma from the Coaching School of
He has been there for almost two years and has attained the B Licence.
He is coaching the Bayern Munich second team for a year as part of the
requirement for testing for the A licence.
It is only after passing the A licence can he apply to join the School
of Hennef which is a six-month course and which will cost him about
Teong Kim set a record of sorts by playing professional soccer in
Germany in 1987 with Herta Berlin FC. He could well be the first Malaysian
to coach overseas.

Sunday, January 19, 1997

Ignorance is not bliss (18/01/1997 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 18/01/1997
Headline : Ignorance is not bliss

MALAYSIAN soccer went semi-professional in 1989 and professional in 1995
but the workings of the business is still a mystery to many officials.
The basic thinking is still amateurish with only a handful of
professionals involved in the various aspects of the game like
sponsorship, marketing, finance, administration and management.
Every season we hear of wrangles between States over players, players
not knowing how to sign with a new team, officials not knowing proper
procedures for signing new players or even retaining their players.
There are even players without a copy of their contract and players who
even have no idea of the contents of their contract.
Players still sign blank contracts or contracts written out in pencil.
This is the result of ill-prepared or incompetent amateurs trying to do
the work of professionals.
State FAs wait till the very last minute before negotiating with their
existing players and when some other State decide to sign them on, they
make a big fuss and lay claim to the players.
The rule clearly states that a player can start negotiating with another
team three months before his contract expires.
He can sign a letter of intent to join a new team but can only sign the
actual contract after his existing contract expires.
Teams intending to sign players from other States are required to inform
the players' team of their intention.
But all these are either ignored or when done, another State cries foul
because they themselves do not know the procedures.
The players are to be blamed to a certain degree for the mess because
they are ignorant of their rights or the procedures regarding change of
And some players try to increase their their salaries at the end of the
season by offering themselves to just about every team in the League.
After a pay hike, they turn their backs on the teams they had negotiated

Matters get complicated when players blindly sign letters of intent just
to see what they are offered.
Some State FAs, in an attempt to secure certain players, offer
ridiculously high wages and create a false salary structure, despite FAM's
guidelines on salaries.
Some States go a step further by sticking to the FAM guideline but
making undisclosed payments to players.
Some States are known to sign on players at a huge price but without the
means to meet the financial commitment.
Little wonder that States have problems paying the monthly wages of
Some States abuse the players by paying at their discretion.
Players who have more than a year's contract left often do not get wages
during the pre-season or their wage is cut drastically.
State FAs forget that soccer is the sole means of income for most of the
players and problems - personal and professional - arise when they are not
paid on time.
Soccer bribery has been blamed on poor salary payments by some States
and these States have to take some of the blame.
FAM have proposed the game be corporatised at the State level but are
the State FAs ready for it?
What we need is a total revamp of the administration of State FAs to
allow professionals to do the day to day running of the associations.
And influential amateurs must never be allowed to tell the professionals
how to do their jobs or meddle with their work.
In many teams, top professional coaches are hired but they don't select
the players or run the team the way they see fit.
But it must be said that several State FAs are being managed well and
professionally and they are easy to spot.
These are the States occupying the upper rungs in the League.

Thursday, January 16, 1997

Q-League (The Malay Mail)

THE M-League this year could see some quality foreign players in action
and several of them could come from South America and Africa.
Selangor have started the ball rolling with quality signings in Tony
Cottee and South African international Christopher Zwane Mandla.
Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur and Kelantan are looking into possibilites
of signing on players from Peru, South Africa, Zaire and Argentina.
The players sought are mostly current full or Under-23 internationals
who have played with top clubs.
And the man who is making these players available is former Argentine
international, Rene Houseman.
Houseman, who played 79 matches for Argentina and scored 27 goals, was
the fast winger who was voted Footballer of the Year in 1977 in Argentina
and South America.
He also played in the 1974 World Cup and was in the winning team of the
1978 World Cup.
Houseman manages about 37 players in Europe and has 100 players under
his wing playing all over the world.
But this is the first time Houseman is trying to get some of his clients
to play in these parts of the world with the hope of moving on to Japan.
Selangor's signing, Mandla, is one of Houseman's players. Houseman
discovered Mandla as a schoolboy in Soweto High School in 1993.
Among the players under Houseman's management who could grace the
Malaysian League is 20-year-old Jorge Eduardo Ramirez.
Ramirez, was the target of Sarawak's Alan Vest and is still on his list
although Billy Bond has been said to be their third foreigner.
The reason Vest hesistated to sign on Ramirez is because he could not
fit into his budget.
Vest said although Bond will be in Kuching next month for final trials,
he is still keeping his mind open on Ramirez and hopes to get some
additional funds to secure him.
The players Houseman has to offer may be a little expensive, especially
their transfer or loan fees, but they are quality players.
Ramirez is a Peruian international striker who was voted the Footballer
of the Year for 1995-96 by the press in Peru.
He has already got an offer from Leeds United and several other leading
Others players available include Waldir Alejandro Saenz, a 22-year-old
Peruvian striker who has won the Golden Boot award for South America on
three occasions (1993, 1995 and 1996).
He is considered one of the best and fastest wingers in South America
and is a natural left footer.
Left midfielder German Ernesto Pinillos is another Peruian international
with 16 caps and four goals to his credit.
He has also capped nine times with the Under-23 team which he captained.
He was voted the Best Midfielder in the country in 1994.
Another notable player who is a big name in South Africa is Theophilus
Khumalo, whose nickname is The Doctor.
Khumalo, 27, is the star of the South African team and has capped 32
times and scored 11 goals till September 1996.
He was voted to the African Nations Cup XI All Star team last year by
the press.
Khumalo is a well known player on and off the field. He has made over 10
TV commercials and has his own line of shoes with Puma - the Khumalo 16 V.
Bunene Ngaduano is a 23-year-old Zairean international striker who has
played 14 times for his country and scored nine times.
He has also played six times for the Under-23 team and scored eight
goals. He played in South Africa for Qwa Qwa Stars before being loaned to
Ankaraguyu FC in Turkey.
Then, there is Argentinian attacking midfielder, Cesar Martinez who made
25 appearances for the Argentine Under-20 and Under-23 teams.
Martinez used to play for Div 1 Quilmes FC in Argentina before being
loaned to Nacional de Montevideo FC in Uruguay.
He has been playing for Aucas FC in Ecuador since 1995 and was voted the
Footballer of the Year in Ecuador.
A natural left footed player with great vision and skills, Martinez is
said to have a knack for scoring goals from freekicks.
If Negri, KL or Kelantan actually go ahead to sign some of these
players, it will indeed add quality to the League.
Houseman said in Buenos Aires: "These players are quality players and I
personally guarantee their ability. They are top professionals.
"All of them are internationals who are looking to play in a different
League. They hope to play in the J-League eventually and intend to use the
M-League as a stepping stone," said Houseman.

Wednesday, January 15, 1997

Simply delighted (The Malay Mail)

I WAS just informed this evening (yesterday) that I am Selangor's coach
for the new season and I am delighted.
It has been a long wait for the final appointment but is indeed worth
I was indeed looking forward to coaching a team like Selangor, who are
certainly a big club in Malaysia and with teremendous potential to become
one of the best in the region.
I am indeed grateful to the Selangor management team who have placed
their faith and confidence in me and it is now my duty to repay their
I intend to work very hard to ensure Selangor, who have a great
following, become a better a team.
However, I don't intend to set targets because that will only put
pressure on the team and me.
Besides, as the best team in Malaysia, there is already enough pressure
to ward off the desire of others teams to topple us.
Then, as Malaysia Cup champions, every team will be going for our scalp.
I expect a tough season ahead, especially with the general standard of
the game in Malaysia improving with each passing year.
It is best to take each match or competition as it comes.
However, after watching the Malaysia Cup final on Dec 28 at Shah Alam, I
intend to see Selangor play many, many more matches under the same
competitive atmosphere.
I see great potential in Selangor and I am honoured to be given an
opportunity to work with the best team in the country.
Selangor have a great following and I certainly don't want to disappoint
the fans.
We will all have to work as a team - from the players, officials,
coaches to the fans.
What I saw of Selangor in the Malaysia Cup final has certainly given me
great confidence that this team is destined for many more good things.
In that Cup final, the Selangor went all out but were quite unlucky.
But they did not allow that to destroy their hopes and worked hard for
I believe although sometimes luck may not be on one's side, it can
always be turned around with determination and hardwork.
That Selangor certainly did on Cup final night and that is a quality I
look for in a team.
I believe the players and I will have a good working relationship.
Selangor have many talented and calibre players and my challenge is to
come up with a good system to utilise that asset to the fullest.
Tony Cottee is a prized possession of the team and I am glad to have him
with us.
I have played against him many times and he is indeed a great player.
He can be marked out of a match for 89 minutes but one moment of
brilliance is all he needs to score.
He is very dangerous in the 18-yard box and our opponents are indeed
going to have problems handling him.
But Cottee is also human.
He needs time to settle in with the team and I hope the fans will give
him the time and be patient with him.
I can't wait to see more nights like the Dec 28 night and I believe,
together we can make it happen.


Name: Stephen John Wicks.
Date of Birth: 13 October 1956.
Nationality: English.
Marital Status: Married.
Children: Three Boys aged 17, 13 and 1 1/2 years. One Girl aged 3.

Chelsea FC: 1971-75 and 1986-88 - 324 League Games.
Derby County: 1975-76 - 46 League Games.
QPR: 1976-79: 1980-86 - 257 League Games.
Crystal Palace: 1979-80 - 31 League Games.

England Team - 2 full Caps, 4 B Caps.
1975 - Winners Medal, European Youth Championships.
1979 - Winners Medal, European Under-21 Championship.
1982 - Spain World Cup (England Squad).
- Mexico 1986.
1975 - English Div 1 Championships with Chelsea FC.
1981 - English FA Cup Runnersup with QPR.
1982 - English Div 1 Champions with QPR.
1986 - English League Cup Runnersup with QPR.

1989-92 - Asst Manager, Portsmouth FC.
1992-94 - Manager of Scaborough FC.
1994- Manager of Lincoln City.
1995- Chief Scout of Newcastle United.
1996- Coach, Woodlands Wellington FC, Singapore.