Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nought after all the hullabaloo

The Football Association of Malaysia's disciplinary committee headed by Datuk Taufik Tan Sri Abdul Razak a while ago, found no case against national coach Datuk K. Rajagobal and dismissed the charges brought against him.

Rajagobal was hauled up by the DB Board for alleged comment about the lack of local strikers in the M-League after the national team's 4-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in a friendly match on March 17.

He was said to have blamed the situation on the presence of foreign professional, and this the DB found that he was criticising the national league and giving comments on policy matters of FA of Malaysia.

At least now Rajagobal can get back to concentrating on his job rather having to face unfair criticisms, comments and having to face some of the media personnel who look bent on getting him banned for reasons best known to them.

Rajagobal must be a puzzled coach, when all he trying to do is his job.
On the FAM side, I am just wondering if this whole episode could have been handled better and avoided this "controversy" in the first place.

The DB found a case based on newspaper reports to give a show cause letter to Rajagobal to explain himself.

After hearing him and listening of the post match press conference, the DB decided to drop the charge as he did not make such a statement.

Now question to FA of Malaysia and the DB: Since Rajagobal was said to have made the statement at the official press conference, could they not have acquired the recording of the post match press conference(which I assume the Media Office does record at all official press conferences and in any case a recording was presented at the DB) and listened to it earlier, instead of following the slant the Media were taking to nail Rajagobal.

Even on the eve of the hearing one media, had an heading to say that Rajagobal should be banned! A replacement foreign coach was already on standby, while another local coach was tipped to take over Rajagobal.  

What has become of the Media these days. Yes comments is the right of the Media, but to comment with hidden agendas and working for certain interested parties, is a shame to the profession.

With the current episode put to an end, it will only be a matter of time before the media with an agenda, raise another issue soon.  It is hoped that FA of Malaysia will not easily fall into the trap again and wisely decide on any issues before acting drastically again.

It will indeed be interesting to see the headings and storyline of some of Media tomorrow morning.

How on earth is Malaysian soccer going to progress with such unprofessionalism existing from all quarters!


Shalin takes Puteri under her wings

Bowling queen Shalin Zulkifli touched by rising bowler Puteri Nurshahira Ahmad Shahridzal’s motivation to emulate her success, has offered to take her under her wings.

 “I was so touched when I read Puteri’s fate and her ambition to become a top bowler,” said Shalin.

 “Infact, hours before I read her story, I had met her at Mega Lanes Sunway Pyramid during the Interstate championship and had  spoken to her, as I was told that she was a talented bowler. But I had not known then that she was a orphan and wanted to fulfil her late mother’s wish to become a bowler like me.

“I am really honoured that Puterri’s late mother and Puteri herself have looked up to me as a mentor and the least I can do is offer my assistance.

“Although Puteri resides in Malacca, I am sure we can work out some arrangement where she can probably come to my bowl Shalin’s @ u space U8 (Shah Alam) during the weekends or for longer periods during school holidays where I can coach her. I
will also drop by in Malacca once in a while when time permits to check on her progress. I will also communicate with her on email,” said Shalin.

Puteri when told of Shalin’s offer, was delighted and jumped for joy.

“Is this for real? I cannot believe it. It is like a dream come true for me to be coached by Shalin. I am ever grateful to Shalin for her generous offer,” said Puteri when told of the offer.

Puteri’s grandparents who have been the source of encouragement for her to pick up the sport after her parents died in a road accident when she was three, were equally delighted.

“We are indebted to Shalin for paving the way for our granddaughter’s dream of trying to be a successful bowler like Shalin. To be able to train under Shalin is God sent. We really appreciate the offer from Shalin and will whatever it takes to make this long distance training scheme work,” said Ahmad Hj Ambak.

Puteri lost her parents in a road accident in 2002 when the express bus her parents were travelling in m Ipoh to Malacca to visit her over the weekend crashed onto a lorry.

Four people died in the accident with many others seriously injured in that accident along the South Highway close to Air Keroh.

Her grandparents, Ahmad Hj Alambak and Raja Rohani – parents of her parents – have been her guardians ever since.


Ahmad Hj Alambak, Puteri Nurshahirah and Raja Rohani

Puteri last week competed in the Peter Memorial Cup and where she finished runners-up behind Selangor’s Ainin Sofiya.

For the love and wish of a daughter and mother

Rising bowler Puteri Nurshahira Ahmad Shahridzal’s motivation to emulate the success of illustrious bowler Shalin Zulkifli is her love and wish for her mother she lost as a three-year-old.

Nurshahira lost her parents in a road accident in 2002 when the express bus her parents were travelling from Ipoh to Malacca to visit her over the weekend crashed onto a lorry.
Four people died in the accident with many others seriously injured in that accident along the South Highway close to Air Keroh.
Nushahira was three then.

Her grandparents, Ahmad Hj Alambak and Raja Rohani – parents of her parents – have been her guardians ever since and father and mother to be more accurate.
Ahmad Hj Alambak,  Puteri Nurshahirah and Raja Rohani

Infact, six months before Puteri Nushahira’s parents passed away, she was already living with her grandparents, as her mother (Wan Nor Azalina Laily) had a job transfer to Ipoh with RHB Bank.

Her parents would visit her in Malacca over the weekends driving from Ipoh to Malacca.

But that fateful weekend, her father – Ahmad Shahridzal – was too tired to drive and decided to take bus.

“It was a dreadful day and till today, we can’t get over it. Not only did we lose our daughter and son-in-law, but our granddaughter was made an orphan,” recalled Ahmad at the Mega Lanes in Sunway Pyramid where Nushahira competed in the Peter Memorial Cup last Monday night.
"Puteri's father had died instantly after the accident, but her mother died after a week in hospital. Infact, she was recovering well, until suddenly it took a turn for the worse. We were praying so hard that she will survive, but it was not to be," added Ahmad.
In the Peter Memorial Cup, Nushahira finished runners-up behind Selangor’s Ainin Sofiya.
Tan Sri Mohd Noor Abdul Rahim (MTBC Deputy president and OCM vice-president) after presenting Puteri Nurshahiraprize her prize feat for Peter Memorial Cup
“I was still too young to recall the fateful day when my parents passed away. For me, my grandparents are everything. But I can vividly remember my mother taking me to bowling centres because she used to bowl,” said the 13-year Form Two student of SMK Convent, Bandar Hilir.

“My grandparents have since told me that my mother wanted me to emulate Shalin (Zulkifli) and I want to fulfil the wish of my mother.
“My grandparents have continued to take me to the bowling centre and I am indebted to them for encouraging and supporting me to achieve my mother’s wish.

“I know I still have a long way to realise my mother’s wish, but I am glad that I am on the right path. I intend to train very hard and diligently to one day come close to what Shalin has achieved,” said Nushahira.
“My daughter who used to bowl socially had always told us that she wants Nushahira to excel in bowling and reach the status of Shalin. She has been taking her to the bowling centre since she was two,” chipped in Ahmad, retired army personnel.

“We are just doing everything possible to see our daughter’s wish come true,” added Raja Rohani.
And indeed Nushahira is on the road to stardom.

Nushahira who has been doing well academically too, having scored 5As in her UPSR examinations and was named the top student in Malacca when she was Standard Six and given an award by the Malacca Chief Minister, has been winning her fair share of bowling medals too.

In the MSSM national bowling championship she has emerged the top bowler in the Under-12 category in singles, doubles, team, All-Events and Hi-score for two consecutive years, before she repeated the feat in the Under-15 category this year.

In the Sportexcel-NSC-Milo-MTBC Junior Circuit, she has already one leg in Perak last year in the Under-15 category.

“Sometime, I wish my mother was here to see me bowl,” said Nurshahira with a tinge of sadness and tears welling in her eyes.

But by all counts, Nurshaira has already done her parents proud and with her determination and prowess so far.

All indications are that this will not be the last time we hear of her.

MTBC president, Datuk Dr P. S. Nathan who knows of Nurshaira’s tragic loss and her ambition to do well in bowling, has been following her progress and was full of praise for her determination and the support of her grandparents.

He met up with the grandparents recently and personally congratulated them for their dedication to their granddaughter’s ambition.

To Nurshaira’s grandparents, kudos and keep up the good work and will power to make Nurshaira a top notch bowler and at the same time fulfil their daughter’s wishes. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Not Hollo's-way

National bowling coach, was nominated for Coach of the Year for 2013, but failed to awarded.
Badminton's rashid Sidek instead was bestowed the award.
sports247's Tan Wing Wai had a comment piece on Holloway missing out on the award (Read here:

I personally feel without doubt that Holoway was more than worthy and deserving candidate for the Coach of the Year award. It is sad that the panel of judges did not think he was.

Maybe, just because he had won the award for Coach of the Year for 2003 when he had coached the men and women's team to a rare double in the 5th World Tenpin Team Cup in Odense, Denmark and the women's team gold medal win at the 15th World Championship held in KL the same year, or because that bowling was not an Olympic sport he was not considered.

Another theory is that the sport of bowling which has more than one bowling World Cup competition and the Malaysian Tenpin Bolwing Congress, had named the World WTBA Men and Women championship as the championship to be considered for the National Sports Council's (NSC) National Sports Achievement Scheme.

But that is not fair to the sport and Holloway.


Holloway coaching Muhd Syafiq Ridhwan to win the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup in Wroclaw, Poland last December was a first for Malaysia in the 48th editions. And it indeed no easy feat to win the championship.
Syafiq himself was a deserving candidate for the Sportsman Award too, but of course an Olympic achievement, although it is a silver medal is always ranked higher.

The least the panel could have done was award bowling the recognition through their coach Holloway. The panel may have their reasons, but the matter had to be looked in totality and in the best interest of sports who strive hard to continuously produce results and raise the bench mark each time.

Holloway's besides coaching Syafiq to victory in Wroclaw, also saw Malaysia awarded the Bent Peterson award - awarded to the best country for achievement in men and women - as Sin Li Jane finished fifth.

Never mind Syafiq and Holloway, those who knows sports well enough and view achievements on a level playing field, know that you have done your part and will always be remembered for your achievements.

Recognitions with medals and cash is always rewarding, but sometimes the unrecognised achievements are best remembered and cherished.

 Keep up your good work Holloway and keep up your chin Syafiq!

Below is what I wrote in The Sunday Mail in 2004 when Holloway won the Coach of the Year award for 2003.

It only only underlines the simple man Holloway is, but the modest, hardworking and passionate coach he is and the goodness he has done for the sports of bowling.

Ten years down the road, Holloway is still the same man and working hard to continously put Malaysian bowlers on the World Cup.

March 21, 2004 (The Sunday Mail)

THIS was one occasion bowling coach Holloway Cheah could not shun away from the publicity and limelight when he was accorded Coach of the Year 2003 award by the National Sports Council on Tuesday night in a glittering ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.

Holloway, the former national bowler in the 1970s, has always stayed away from the limelight in his coaching career which he started soon after hanging up his gloves following the 1978 Bangkok Asian Games. His award was for his contribution last year where he played a major part in the national team's success in winning both the men and women's 5th World Tenpin Team Cup titles in Odense, Denmark, and the gold by the women's team of five at the 15th World Championship in Kuala Lumpur.

But Holloway's contribution to the sport has been longstanding and his award was way past due. A member of the 1978 Bangkok Asiad team who won Malaysia's first ever bowling gold medal, the sport has been his way of life from young.

Holloway, who turned 62 on Nov 27, came to Kuala Lumpur from Penang in the 1960s looking for a job and he joined Federal Bowl. Basketball was his first love and bowling was second during his schooldays.

But all that changed when he was with Federal Bowl, where he later joined the food and beverage department in the hotel before moving to Star Bowl in the former Merlin Hotel (now Concorde Hotel). It was here that Holloway started his coaching career and helped set up the Star Bowl youth team. He then took charge of the Kent Bowl youth team when the Star Bowl moved to Kent Bowl in Asia Jaya.

It was in 1984 that Holloway first started to get involved with the national team and national development coaching. Through the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) and National Sports Council (NSC), he had the opportunity to work under three great American coaches over several years with special certification through Dick Ritger for basic and silver certification programme, Bill Taylor for ball drilling and coaching programme, and all-time great Tom Kouros while he was here in 1987 to prepare the national side for the Helsinki World Championships.

Within this period, Holloway played a part in moulding the team who later mounted a serious challenge at the 1987 Asian Youth Championships at Tokyo where Karen Lian and Lydia Kwah won the girls doubles and then dominated the 1989 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

From May 1990 until 2000, he worked with Sid Allen as the local national coach and gained a great deal of experience from the Canadian, who is one of the best coaches in the world.

Together, they brought success after success to the country while at the same time, developed many young bowlers to form a huge pool. From May 2001, Holloway took over as national chief coach and was responsible for winning seven gold medals at the 2001 KL SEA Games and two golds in the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

In between, there were countless international victories. His greatest moment, of course, was leading the men and women's team to victory in Odense for the first ever wins in the World
Team Cup and the women's gold medal at the World Championships. Holloway has since quit as national chief coach as he was spending too much time travelling which prevented him from managing the Pyramid Megalanes fulltime.

Holloway worked with Chris Batson during the World Championships. He had earlier made personal recommendations that Batson, who was hired as the roving development coach, be made the national coach. But bowling is much thicker than blood and he still helps Batson and MTBC in their development programme, but on a part-time and as-and-when basis. Asked about the recognition given to him, he shifted the attention to his bowlers saying it was them who brought success and he was just tagging along.

And that is truly Holloway. A man who works very hard, but stays in the background when success comes and lets the athletes enjoy the glory. It is indeed hard to see such a coach like Holloway come by, who not only is a knowledgeable coach, but who puts emphasis on his team and takes the backseat each time they do well.

It is hardly surprising the bowlers have the utmost respect for him and only address him as "Sir". Not that he demanded it but it was out of respect.

Holloway's philosophy is simple: "Respect is earned and not demanded." "I always felt the bowlers have to trust your ability for them to give you the attention and respect," said Holloway.

"I always make it a point to be close to the bowlers because I need to know them well enough to work with them. "But that does not mean just because I am close with them, I compromise when it comes to training. "We know where to draw the line between friends and coach. "I have never had any problems with the bowlers," said the father of four. His only daughter,

Esther, is testimony of that. He personally coached his 17-year-old daughter and did not spare her from the tough regiment.

And Esther finally made the grade when she was promoted to the national team. Maybe, it was for this reason too, that Holloway felt it was about time he stepped down as national coach, because the last thing he would have wanted to hear is his daughter is in the national squad because he is the father.

There is no doubt Esther made the national team on merit and it was a proud moment for
Holloway when she graduated into senior rank. His eldest son, who is 31, is a pilot while the other two, aged 27 and 21, only bowl for recreation. Holloway may have bowed out from the national team without fanfare, but his legacy could well be continued by his daughter, who is fast turning out to be a force to be reckoned with.

We certainly have not heard the last of Cheahs yet!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Raleigh Round Island Challenge


Organized by Raleigh Kuala Lumpur*, and supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Raleigh Round Island Challenge aims to raise funds for Malaysian youths to embark on life-changing expeditions, allowing them to contribute back to society through sustainable community projects. Scheduled on the 3rd - 4th of May 2012, the challenge is in conjunction with the 56th anniversary of the independence of Malaysia, where 56 swimmers will relay swim over a monumental 56 kilometres around world-renown Perhentian Island, taking an estimated 30 hours.

*Raleigh Kuala Lumpur is a non-profit organization which supports the process of Malaysian venturers and staff participating in local and overseas expeditions organized by Raleigh International and carries out various adventure, community and environmental projects locally.

 You can be part of this mega swim!

Raleigh Kuala Lumpur welcomes men and women who have experience in open water swimming and those who are ready to take on the physical and mental challenges of swimming in the open sea. Training sessions will be done in the National Aquatic Centre at Bukit Jalil, where participants will also go through a fitness-based selection process which will be happening soon. So don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of something truly special!

 For those of you who are interested in supporting our cause, we also offer several sponsorship packages ranging from monetary to logistics assistance. If your brand values resilience, bravery and intrepidity, this is a great way to show it.

Visit us by following the link below:

Contact us by sending us an email to the following address to know more:

Saifuddin's name being bandied for FAM's sec-gen post?

Another name has been bandied around for the post of the secretary-general of the FA of Malaysia.

Remember Mohd Saifuddin Abu Bakar, the former assistant secretary general of the FA of Malaysia till 2009.

He left FAM to take up a job offer with a private organisation based in the Middle East in June 2009.

Saifuddin had previously worked with the FAM for eight years as the head of the competitions department before taking up employment with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as an officer in a similar department for four years.

Currently, he is Oman FA Pro-League technical consultant.

Is there any truth in Saifuddin being considered?

All will be revealed when the new secretary-general is expected to be announced on Monday to replace Datuk Azzudin Ahmad who will relinquish the post on May 1 and take up appointment as secretary-general's post with Asean Football Federation (AFF) on June 1..

The favourite for the job is Datuk Hamindin Mohd Amin, the secretary-general of FA of Selangor, the vice-president of FA of Malaysia, FA of Malaysia competition committee chairman  and member of AFC Standing Committee.

Another name which comes to mind who could be considered is former Penang FA secretary, Datuk Mohd Junid Noor.

Lets us wait for Monday, to see who is named to take up the hot-seat. Probably, there will be no surprise in store!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Top striker in the FAM team is Hamidin

The leading player in the FA of Malaysia is none other than Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin.

After the exco meeting chaired by FAM President Sultan Ahmad Shah on Wednesday, it was revealed that Hamidin will chair a committee to look into the possibility of privatising the M-League by 2015.

For the record, Hamidin is the general-secretary of the FA of Selangor, vice-president of the FA of Malaysia, FA of Malaysia competition committee chairman and a member of the AFC Standing Committee.

And with the current secretary-general of FA of Malaysia, Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad having announced that he will be relinquishing his post as of May 1 and take up the secretary-general's post in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) starting on June 1, Hamidin's name has surfaced again as the most likely person to succeed Azzuddin.

Indeed, Hamidin is a much sought person in the Malaysian soccer world, although it has surfaced that if Hamidin is actually appointed as the secretary-general of FA of Malaysia, he will have to relinquish all other posts.

If that happens, finally there will be accountability and the end of conflict of interests.

On the note of names for the secretary-general post of FA of Malaysia, I wonder if former Penang FA secretary, Datuk Mohd Junid Mohd Noor is also in the running. He certainly has the credentials and still very much part of the FA of Malaysia circle.

Any other names? Or the exco has already decided at the last meeting, as an announcement of the new secretary-general of FA of Malaysia is expected to be made on Monday!


Increase of foreign players = dearth of local quality players!

Just fresh reeling from statements made in the soccer circle that there is a dearth of local strikers because of the presence of foreign players in the M-League, it has been announced that starting next season, teams playing in the M-League will be allowed to register three import players, compared with two currently allowed.
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Competition Chairman Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said the proposal was agreed by the FAM council members during the exco meeting chaired by FAM President Sultan Ahmad Shah on Wednesday.

Hamidin said teams must however, register at least one player from an Asian country and avoid signing goalkeepers.

Hamidin was quoted as saying that they have realised the need for an increase in the number of import players since some teams like Kelantan and Selangor play in bigger competitions, especially the AFC Cup.

So is the M-League about just these two teams at the expense of burdening the other teams?

Kelantan is still doing well in the AFC Cup with them registering additional foreign players under separate contracts for the tournament.

Besides the increase of one more foreign player will mean another local player will have to sit out.

However, I must agree that the decision to hire at least one Asian player, is a good decision as it means that they could come cheaper and at the same time players from countries like Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh, Philippines and even Singapore, could see an increase of fans in the Stadiums as the nation as a huge number foreign workers from these countries.

I have been against the idea of foreign players in the M-League all along because I had foreseen problems of local players denied an opportunity to play and the national team suffering in the long run from dearth of quality players.

However, I had suggested if authorities still need to allow foreign players,  to allow just one foreign player from Asean or Asia.

Currently, already many teams are changing their foreign players this month because they did meet up to standards expected and this only underlines that these players were engaged through poor selection process.

Then we even had players who are injured soon after signing up.

What we do not really know is the financially implications in replacing these foreign players and if it is going to dig deep into the reserves of the teams. Maybe at the end of the season, we will hear of foreign players not being paid their salaries or wrongfully dismissed.

And next year with three foreign players allowed, more teams are going to see their spending shoot up and probably get into more financial difficulties.

Do we need all these additional problems, as we try to improve our standard of the game.

Is it the teams who have the means who are dictating the terms in the admission of foreign players?

Or is it a few individuals in the FA of Malaysia who are bull-dozing their way?

Really, has serious thoughts been put into the idea of allowing foreign players to play in the M-League? Have all other avenues to improve the League been exhausted? Are we still looking for short cuts to success?

Now we are talking of privatising the M-League by 2015. Are we heading for more problems or are we really going to brain storm the matter and come up with workable ideas before going ahead and not going ahead just for the sake of privatising the League so a few can benefit.

Let us not forget that Malaysian soccer decline all started when it turned Semi-Pro in the late 80s when we are still not ready for it and then went full professional soon after that.

Let us not fall into the same trap. Let us think over it very carefully, have the right people involved in the discussion and make the right decision based on facts and figures and not ruled by their hearts.

The last thing we need is to see Malaysian soccer slide further down the ranking ladder!

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fool's Joke?

Below is the Press Statement released by the FA of Malaysia awhile ago in reference to articles in local newspapers and online portals that the national soccer body's secretary general, Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad had said there is a possible conspiracy within the FAM to remove national coach, Datuk K. Rajagobal.

For starters, I thought that the Press Statement was an April Fool's joke, but apparently it is not!

Basically the statement states that what Azuddin had said in an interview with three sports journalist from the English media on the question about internal conspiracy, had been used as the main content for their report. The statement further added that Azzuddin to the question whether there is an internal conspiracy to remove Rajagobal, had spontaneously replied that in all issues any possibility cannot be ruled out.

The statement goes on to say, in view of the newspaper reports, FAM intends to clear the air to say  that the statement by Azuddin had been used in the wrong context. And at the same time FAM wants to state that there is NO conspiracy within FAM as reported.

This is all so confusing. In first part of the statement it is said that one part of interview about the possible conspiracy was used as the main story by the journalists and in the next paragraph state that it was used in the wrong context and in the same line says that there is NO conspiracy.

So what is this all about. Has pressure been put on Azzuddin to deny what he has said or has the statement been issued so that the secretary general does not get hauled up by the famous Article 88?

And in any case when does the interviewer decides which part of his interview will be the lead in the story the journalists write?

Seriously now, tell  me it is really an April Fool's joke from FA of Malaysia!



                                      SIARAN MEDIA 1 APRIL 2013


Kenyataan kononnya wujud konspirasi dalaman FAM untuk mengugurkan Ketua Jurulatih Pasukan Kebangsaan YBhg Datuk K.Rajagobal. Dengan ini FAM ingin menjelaskan Laporan beberapa media tempatan berhubung perkara ini.

Di dalam wawancara minggu lalu yang dihadiri oleh 3 orang wartawan dari akhbar berbahasa Inggeris, Setiausaha Agung FAM di ajukan soalan samada wujudnya konspirasi dalaman FAM untuk menggugurkan YBhg Datuk K.Rajagobal. Jawapan spontan Setiausaha Agung adalah didalam semua isu segala kemungkinan tidak boleh di ketepikan. Dukacitanya jawapan ini dipetik sebagai kenyataan utama yang di siarkan didalam akhbar.

Sehubungan dengan itu FAM ingin memperjelaskan bahawa kenyataan Setiausaha Agung itu disalah ertikan. Dengan ini FAM ingin menyatakan bahawa TIDAK ada sebarang konspirasi dalaman sebagaimana yang dilaporkan.