Friday, April 30, 1999

Mitchell tipped for Aussie coaching job (The Malay Mail)

DAVID MITCHELL, who scored the winning goal for Selangor in the 1996
Malaysia Cup final, is tipped to be the next Australian national coach.
Roy Hodgson was expected to take over from caretaker coach Raul Blanco
but the Englishman has decided to handle Italy's Inter Milan.
Hodgson, who coached Inter from 1995-97, is the club's fourth coach of a
disastrous season.
He became available after his English Premiership side Blackburn Rovers
fell to the bottom of the table last November.
Hodgson's name was also linked with Singapore, who were keen to have him
in their vision to reach the 2010 World Cup finals.
Now that Hodgson's gone to Inter, Singapore are said to be interested in
Terry Venables as Director of Football/Goal 2010.
Blanco has been handling the Australian team on an interim basis since
the departure of Venables last year after failing to steer them to the
World Cup in France.
Australia were edged out by Iran in the play-off for the last Asian
Mitchell, since returning to Australia from his stint in Malaysia,
played with Sydney Olympics for a short while before becoming coach-player
of Sydney United two years ago.
He has earned the tag of a miracle worker for transforming the bankrupt
and hopeless club into champions.
He lost nine first team players to European clubs in his first season
but managed to rebuild the team wihtout going into the transfer market.
Sydney United finished a creditable fourth in the National League.
Among those who played for him last season were Abbas Saad and Joe
Calleta who plied their trade in Malaysia.
Abbas is out with an injury this season while Calleta is still with the
Mitchell lost another eight players this season but rebuilt the team and
steered them to the League championship on Wednesday.
Sydney United beat Adelaide Sharks 3-1 to pip South Melbourne to the
title by just one point - 58-57 - after 28 matches.
But the League title is viewed as a minor achievement in Australia and
it is the Ericsson Cup final Series which is the big one.
The top six League finishers play in the Series.
Mitchell is also in the running for the Australian Coach of the Year
Mitchell confirmed in Sydney on Wednesday he is in the running for the
national job.
"And of course I am interested in the job," said Mitchell. "It is the
national job we are talking about and I am honoured to be linked with it."
Mitchell sees his chances improving with Hodgson going to Inter Milan.
"I must admit Hodgson was the front-runner. But with him taking up the
job at Inter Milan, I recknon I have a better chance."
And ironically, Mitchell will only be going for his coaching badge later
this year.
"It is not about coaching badges. It is about management and player
management. Of course, my years of playing under various coaches in
different countries and with and against some of the top players in the
world, have taught me a great deal," he said.
Since Mitchell rose to prominence as a 19-year-old in the Fifa World
Youth Cup in Australia, he has gone on to play with Glasgow Rangers, the
place he was born on June 13, 1962 before migrating to Adelaide at the age
of five.
After two years, he ventured to West Germany where he played for
Eintracht Frankfurt before moving to Holland's Feyernood for two years.
It was England's Bobby Campbell who spotted him when he was in Holland
and offered him a place with Chelsea.
It was then to Swindon Town and Millwall before moving to Selangor.
Mitchell said coaching has been a big challenge but he is enjoying it.
Mitchell, who has 36 international caps and scored 16 goals for the
Socceroos, said should he fail to get the national coaching job, he will
take up one of the several other offers from Australian National League
Will he consider returning to Malaysia as a coach?
"Why not. I loved Malaysia and have fond memories. It will be great to
come back as a coach.
"But for now, I would like to look at things close to home first," said

Sunday, April 18, 1999

Local coaches stealing the limelight (The Sunday Mail)

THE number of foreign coaches in the M-league has been drastically reduced
this season, which in turn has pushed their local counterparts into the
In Premier One, only two teams of the 10 are coached by foreigners -
David Booth (Brunei) and Karl Weigang (Perak).
In Premier Two, there are three foreign coaches in charge - Selangor's
Michael Pejic, Johor FC's Ronald Smith and Johor's Steve Darby.
While the top two Premier Two teams - Selangor and Johor FC - are
coached by foreigners, it is the other case for the top flight, where
locals are hogging the limelight.
Penang's Moey Yoke Ham (pic right) has his team hugging the top of the
table but this is no surprise considering he hit the limelight last year
when he led his players to victory in the League.
The islanders had depended on foreign coaches but now look like they
have made the right decision in hiring a local.
Second-placed Pahang are coached by Fuzzemi Ibrahim, who was only
supposed to be an assistant until he was thrust into the forefront when
Australian coach Alan Davidson resigned just before the season kicked off
last month.
Fuzzemi, who is still only a caretaker coach, has done well and Pahang
FA should seriously consider appointing him chief coach on a permanent
While Pahang had problems scoring goals during their pre-season matches
under Davidson, Fuzzemi seems to have turned the team around where they
have scored 11 goals and won three and drawn two matches out of the six
Fuzzemi is a prime example of an understudy coach who has done well in
observing and learning from his experienced superiors. He is also carrying
on the work initiated by Jorgen Larsen, Pahang's coach for two years.
Fuzzemi has also proven his foresight at spotting new talent to
strengthen the team.
Among the players Fuzzemi recruited before the arrival of Davidson were
defender K. Ramachandran, Wan Rohaimi Wan Ismail and Darul Nazri Daniyan,
all of whom are doing well with Pahang.
Ramachandran has provided a steady defence, Wan Rohaimi is the leading
scorer while Darul Nazri has proven to be an able substitute and it is
only a matter of time before he moves into the first XI ranks.
While Fuzzemi's abilities were unearthed by chance, there are several
other local coaches who are doing well with their respective teams.
Among them include Kedah's Azman Eusoff, Kuala Lumpur's Mat Zan Mat
Aris, Sarawak's Jalil Ramli, Malacca's G. Torairaju, Perlis' Tajudin Nor
and Kelantan's Mosthakeen Omar.
The FA of Malaysia increased the grants to State FAs this season in the
hope they would acquire calibre foreign coaches with the intention of
moulding better quality players.
But it turned out to be a blessing when the grant was announced late and
many State FAs had already decided to go local.
There is no doubt that local coaches can learn a great deal from their
foreign counterparts who are willing to impart their experience and
A good idea would be for State FAs to rope in well-known and experienced
technical advisers who can contribute even more to the game with locals
still in charge of the team.
This way, the local coaches will not only have expert advice but the
players can also benefit with the foreign technical advisers around.
These advisers can also spend more time in helping out in the
development, planning and implementation aspects so that a better
foundation can be laid in the States.

Tuesday, April 13, 1999

Malay Mail bow out after early promise (The Malay Mail)

KUALA LUMPUR MALAY MAIL bowed out in the first round of the FA Cup
tournament when they lost 3-0 to Malacca in the return leg at Kubu Stadium
last night.
MM, reduced to 10 men in the 37th minute when striker U. Suresh was sent
off by referee Halim Abdul Halim for apparently elbowing Mohamad Paizal
Mohamad Yasan, were held 3-3 in the first leg.
It was an evenly contested match until the sacking as Suresh and strike
partner, Mohamad Sham Mohamad Nor, were proving to be a threat to the
Malacca defence.
Sham scored twice and Suresh once in the first leg on March 9 and the
duo came in for extra attention from the Malacca defenders last night.
While Malacca had played six Premier Two matches since the first leg FA
Cup clash, MM played only several friendly matches to keep their edge.
Malacca, fresh from their 2-0 win over Kelantan in Premier Two on
Friday, were in high spirit and determined not to allow a club side to end
their unbeaten run at home.
But the hosts had to wait until the 63th minute before Ahmad Fadzli
Abdul Latif beat goalkeeper M. Pavalamani for their opening goal.
MM brought in Mohamad Afandi Safar to help Sham out and the duo went for
However, MM's fight ended when leftback Mohamad Ishak Kunju Mohamad
misjudged a cross and Abdul Karim Rahman sent it past a hapless Pavalamani
in the 77th minute.
Ishak also conceced a penalty for a tackle on Khairul Nazri Salman in
the box in the dying seconds of the match.
Malacca goalkeeper Abdul Zainal Rabin had no trouble beating Pavalamani.
Malacca, coached G. Torairaju, are having a good run this season and
they have been rewarded with fairly large attendances.

Monday, April 12, 1999

Uphill task for MM (The Malay Mail)

KUALA LUMPUR Malay Mail (MM) are ready to throw caution to the wind
against Malacca tonight in a FA Cup return leg first round at Kubu Stadium
though things are not in their favour.
For the newspaper team, it is like going into battle after a long layoff
whereas Malacca have been active.
This is because MM are only playing a competitive match four weeks after
their last one, the first leg against Malacca at KLFA Stadium that had
ended 3-3.
The second leg was to have been played on March 16 but was postponed to
today as the Kubu Stadium was then found by FAM to be unfit for
Besides the match between Malacca and MM, the other FA Cup tie postponed
is between Malacca Telekom and Johor FC and it will be played tomorrow at
Kubu Stadium.
The delay of the FA Cup return leg fixtures did not affect Malacca,
Malacca Telekom and Johor FC as they have been competing in Premier II and
have played six matches since March 19.
But, MM, who narrowly missed qualifying for Premier II when they were
edged out by Armed Forces in the play-off, do not have such luxury.
MM, who will also play in the FAM Cup competition kicking off on May 3,
had to arrange for friendly matches to sustain the interest and fitness of
their players.
MM assistant coach Tony Mariadass said: "It has been difficult for us to
be kept waiting for four weeks to play the return leg.
"Malacca are involved in the Premier II competition and, having played
six League matches, they are certainly on stride.
"They have been doing well and are unbeaten at home. Their morale must
surely be high.
"It is indeed going to be an uphill battle for us, but we have nothing
to lose and everything to gain."

Thursday, April 1, 1999

Unfair to compare present with the past (The Malay Mail)

TWO veteran school sports officials feel it is unfair to compare present
trends with the golden era of yesteryear.
A. Vaithilingam, who was the Selangor Schools Sports Council (SSSC)
secretary-general, and K. Balachandran, who was the Federal Territory
Schools Sports Council secretary-general, agreed that schools remain the
Vaithilingam, 64, said we have to take into account the demands of today
and the concept among teachers, pupils and parents.
"We cannot find many teachers who are dedicated to sports these days
because of the system," said Vaithilingam.
"Even if there were such teachers, they would find it hard to survive.
"Most heads of schools will not accommodate teachers who spend too much
time on sports and having to attend sports meetings in or outside the
"Of course, we do not have many teachers who are properly trained."
Vaithilingam pointed out that the paper chase is overwhelming.
There are always extra school work and with tuition thrown in, there is
little time for extra-curricular activities.
And then, there is also the matter of children more interested in
computer games.
Balachandran said one of the reasons why there is lack of teachers
committed towards sports these days is that results on the field are not
taken into account and as such, due recognition is not granted.
"Teachers want to be remunerated if they are to spend extra hours in
schools," said Balachandran.
"Gone are the days when teachers will spend hours on sports for nothing.
Teachers used to coach athletes during school holidays and public
"These teachers would spend their own money on the children and even
ferry them around for the various competitions without taking a single sen
for petrol."
Both Vaithilingam and Balachandran agreed that sports facilities in
schools, especially in the urban areas, are deteriorating in the name of
"While there are still good fields and other facilities in rural areas,
they lack the expertise," said Balachandran.
"In urban areas, many fields have disappeared. And those that remain are
in deplorable condition."
Vaithilingam also pointed out that because of the dire need for more
classrooms, school fields are sacrificed.
He cited an example of Sekolah Menengah Sultan Abdul Samad in Petaling
Jaya, which was the only school in the area which had a 400-metre track, a
full-sized soccer pitch and facilites for cricket.
"But someone decided that they will have to build another school in the
vicinity and part of the field was taken up," he said.
Both Vaithilingam and Balachandran agreed that it is pointless living in
the past.
The present calls for drastic action and unless the relevant powers that
be are willing to work together, sports in schools are further doomed.