Monday, September 29, 2014

A tribute to teachers like Rennie

SAturday, SEPTEMBER 27, 2014 - Malay mail

BY tony mariadass
AT a time when the teaching profession is being besmirched by the UPSR examination leaks, it is good to remember when teachers were held in high esteem especially in the sporting field.

Of late, teachers have been accused of not having the same commitment as their older colleagues when it comes to sports development.

There are various reasons from lack of rewards, changing lifestyle, teachers who prefer to earn extra money through tuition and the diminishing number of school fields.

Tribute to teachers

This column attempts to give credit to those who were the pillars of Malaysian sports — many of whom were teachers.

It is impossible to credit every one because many shy away from publicity, are working in the remote areas or others steal their glory.

Dying breed

Rennie Martin, who celebrated his 80th birthday last Thursday, was among the teachers who did so much for Malaysian sports.

Among those who attended his birthday celebration were Datuk R. Yogeswaran, Brother Felix James Donohue, Karu Selvaratnam, Freddy Vias, N.A. Baskaran, Leslie Armstrong, Dennis Doss and Radha Krishnan.

Key role in development

Rennie’s dedication to athletics was second to none and the sacrifices he made are unthinkable these days.

He would drive athletes around for training and competition, give them pocket money, buy them spikes and be in school the whole day, weekends and school holidays!

The education and sports ministries should recognise and reward teachers like Rennie so they can be icons for teachers.

Rennie with his family from left daughter-in-law Cynthia Laetitia, wife Josebelll, daughter Sumitha, son Suresh and grandchildren Christian Aida and Alexandra.

Rennie began his teaching career in Taiping in 1953.

He went on to teach in St Anthony's school in Pudu (1954), Batu Arang (1955-1960) Rawang (1961-1962), La Salle PJ (1963-68), back to Rawang (1969), Catholic High, PJ (1972-1982), Sultan Ahmad Samad, PJ (1983) and Section 17 School (1987) before he retired in 1988.

Rennie was actually more interested in football and was a referee in the 1960s.

But he was assaulted when he was refereeing a Selangor league match between VOC and Hong Chin at the SIA ground (beside the Istana Negara then).

Only the security provided by the Hong Chin players who put him in a taxi and sent him home saved him from further injuries and Rennie decided to quit the sport.

It was then that his friend, Leslie Armstrong asked him to get involved in athletics.

Rennie was a natural and even turned a basketball player, Ho Yoon Wah into a national jumper who cleared 2.10m to win the gold medal at the 1981 Manila Sea Games.

Rennie rose from a schools coach to a national coach who has gone to the SEA Games and Asian Track and Field.

He helped set up the Rawang AAA, Petaling District AAA, drawn numerous development programmes and the number of athletes who have gone through him over the years probably runs into the thousands.

The only thing that kept him going all those years was his passion for the sport.

Rennie training athletes.

Rennie was so passionate about the development of athletics that he has presented many papers to the Malaysian Athletics Federation, Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) and National Sports Council. He has also written in newspapers how the standard of athletics in the country can be improved and how the MSSM system has to change to expose budding athletes to various events instead of specialising at an early age.

If only they had listened, Malaysian athletics would not be in the doldrums today.

Rennie's articles in newspapers on development.
Rennie had this to say: “As long as we neglect development, sports in schools is dead.

The playing fields keep disappearing, teachers are more interested in giving tuition than being on the field and the education system does not favour sports, we can continue to spend millions of ringgit and not get any returns.”

Many names of teachers mentioned here might not ring a bell but they need to be acknowledged for being responsible for past glories.

Among those who made their marks in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s include Gerald Rozells, the late Bernard Khoo, the late Philip Adolphus, Kirubakaran Rokk, David Fernandez, Datuk Ahmad Shafie (football), Lionel Rajamoney, Michael Perry, C. Ramanathan, T. Krishnan, A. Tripadi, S. Sivapragasam, Tan Choo Mong, T. Thiruselvam, Marina Chin, N. Nadarajah (athletics), Brian Foennader, Louis Rodriques, late Vincent Fernandez, S. Sivapathsundram, Malek Khiew, Teng Cheng Leong, Pritam Singh Sandhu, Gurdial Singh (hockey), B. Rajakulasingham, Indran, B. Sathiasivam, R. Ratnasingam, Jimi Chai (cricket), Aladad Khan (multiple sports), late Mui Fatt Chai, Goh Yea Yen (badminton), Wong Tong Poh (swimming), the late Ung Ket Chow (rugby) and the list goes on.

Many of these teachers are still actively involved in coaching despite being retired. In recent times, we have had K. Sukumaran, P. Gansesmoorthy, C. Nadarajan, Ustaz Md Yazid Yahaya, Sidan Harun, Mat Jusoh Saat, Khairul Annuar Khairuddin (football), S. Arunandy, Khoo Boon Keat, A. Vellurajan, K. Segeran Nair, Tan Eng Hui, R. Magendran, Pritam Kaur, (athletics), S. Sasitheran, R. Vivekananda, N. Ghananathan, K. Sunderasan, Tejar Singh, Yap Gark Soo, Mokhtar Baharuddin, Durai Raj (hockey), K. Kamarajan (cricket), Mazlan Ahmad (swimming), the late Guana Seagarn Sammuel, Yasmin Othman, Nahar Desa, Madeline Parril, Khairul Mohtar, Anita Abdullah, Doris Selvi Thomas, Mathialagan, Abdul Rahman Besar (bowling) to name a few.

There is still hope for schools to become the permanent foundation of Malaysian sports but it needs to be made worthwhile for teachers to be seriously involved.

This is a tribute to teachers like Rennie Martin, the many mentioned in this article and the many more who have been missed out.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Too good to let go!

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 - the malay mail
WHAT is it with sports officials who want to cling to their posts and fight tooth and nail to stay on as long as they can?

Certainly, it cannot be that they want to help the sport because they don’t seem to have done much good during their tenure.

And how the affiliates are blind to all that is happening and keep voting in the same officials is baffling.

And what happened at the Kuala Lumpur Football Association’s (KLFA) annual general meeting last Friday takes the cake.

When names were to be submitted for election, there were a lot of jostling at the table as to who was to be nominated and who was to be elected for certain positons and in the end, those named were elected without contest. What a farce!

Making all this happen was a “king maker”, acting on behalf of a new group wanting to make its way into the KLFA.

What happened next was even more astounding — incumbent president Datuk Astaman Abdul Aziz settled for the deputy president’s post, Datuk Seri Adnan Mohd Ikhsan, the Federal Territories secretary-general, was made the new president of KLFA, and incumbent deputy president Datuk George Frederick demoted himself to executive council member.

Then, we have executive council members who have been in the committee since the 1980s still keeping their seats, although they have done practically nothing to help KLFA except to use it for their own benefit.

It is learnt that Astaman agreed to become the No: 2 man in the association so Adnan can call the shots in an effort to resurrect KLFA.

Astaman is said to have accepted the demotion because he is trying to recover some RM2 million he is said to have lent KLFA. Apparently, he has been paid a partial amount and one way to get back the rest is to remain in the system.

Question: Since when did the president lend money to the association?

Isn’t he supposed to help source for funds from sponsors or fund the association if he has the means?

So, while the players were punished when KLFA was rocked by a match-fi xing scandal recently, how come the officials who managed the association during the period have not been brought to book?

KL, who started off as minnows when they made their debut in the national league in 1979, emerged as kingpins in the late 1980s, but had to suffer the dubious honour of being relegated to the third-tier FAM League after finishing second from the bottom of the table in the Premier League. They have bounced back after a season to return to the Premier League next season.

Astaman apparently agreed to play second fi ddle in the association.
Meanwhile, KLFA do not have a stadium as the Kuala Lumpur Stadium is closed for renovations. The association has even had to move their office to a shophouse.

Hopefully, the new president, with the assistance of the FT Ministry, will be able to improve KLFA’s current position.

But with the same people who had orchestrated the election named the main committee, one wonders if things are going to change at all.

Ramlan Askolani, a former city player, has been named the secretary-general and it is learnt that he was the man behind the revamp. Hopefully, Ramlan can help put things right at KLFA.

For starters, the new management have already given the walking papers to a very powerful lady in the association, who was from the previous camp. Others who saw the axe coming down on them have switched camps.

In a nutshell, everything points to KLFA being used for personal agendas and not for the game.

When we have officials who speak without thinking or knowing the real facts, how can we expect the association to head in the right direction?

Astaman was reported, after the AGM, as saying the KLFA want two teams when the M-League is privatised.

Question: When KLFA can’t even manage one team, how can it handle two?

He went on to say: “Football is a business. By establishing two teams, we are bound to witness a healthy rivalry which will increase the quality of football. They will be governed by one parent body which is the KLFA , but they will be separate entities with separate sponsors and shareholders.

“Manchester has two clubs — United and City — while Merseyside has Liverpool and Everton.

The rivalry is intense and fans are treated to great games.” He is right about football being a business, but business for whom?

The rules are clear that each team will have to be a private entity totally and cannot be managed by one association. Just look at JDT1 and JDT2, which are managed by different bodies.

Professional football in the country has been in existence since we went semi-pro in 1989 and full professional in 1994 and if KLFA are still not a professional entity, how do they expect to become a professional outfit overnight?

And drawing comparisons with the Manchester and Merseyside clubs is truly laughable.

It is indeed sad to see KLFA languishing after all the hard work done by former presidents like Tan Sri Elyas Omar. Until and when it is run like a true professional football outfit, the city side is going to take a long time to see light at the end of the tunnel.

And this is a clear example of the state of football in this country as several other football associations are in the same boat.

TONY MARIADASS is a sports journalist with more than three decades of experience and is passionate about local sports. He can be reached at tmariadass@ Twitter handle:@tmariadass

Monday, September 22, 2014

Doctor for all seasons

Saturday, SEPTEMBER 20, 2014 - the Malay Mail

BY tony mariadass
DATUK DR P.S. NATHAN is among the rare breed of sports personalities who has excelled as a dermatologist, sportsman and administrator — locally and internationally. Dr Nathan, who turns 81 on November 3, is still active as the founding president of the Malaysian Tenpin Bowing Congress (MTBC) and as a consultant dermatologist.
Excelled in sports and professional life
Son of a clerk, Dr Nathan was born in Seremban and is a product of St Paul's Institution and Victoria Institution.
He is much sought after as a dermatologist and his son, Ruban, now works with him.
Former prime minister Tun Hussein Onn presenting a medal to Dr Nathan after Malaysia won the trios World FIQ gold medal in Manila in 1979.
Took up bowling at a late age
His favourite statement “playing for fun is not my style” explains why he excelled even though he started bowling when he was 35.
“Age is only a chronological number. What is important is the biological age,” said Dr Nathan.
“I was very fit having played games all my life — even when I became a doctor. I also played badminton regularly.
“My wife (S. Malathy) got me hooked on bowling. She had been bowling with our neighbour in a morning tea league and suggested I try it.
“I did it to please her and found it challenging. But I also had a knack for it.”
Took up bowling at a late age
“In my first game I got 127 which I was told was not bad considering I used a house ball. The rest was history.” Malathy was also an international bowler.
For them and their friends, bowling didn’t end at the lanes but continued at home.
The husband and wife team entered the Guinness Book of Records for their feat of having featured in three successive AMF Bowling World Cups — from 1975 to 1977.
They also represented the country at the first World Games at Santa Clara, United States in 1981.
Three years earlier, Dr Nathan captained the five-man Malaysian team who won gold at the Bangkok Asian Games where he scored the highest average.
That was the first time bowling was played at the Games.
The other members of the team were Holloway Cheah, Allan Hooi, J.B. Koo and Edward Lim. When the sport made its debut at the 1975 SEAP Games, he was the first Malaysian to win a gold medal.
Dr Nathan receiving his SEA Games singles gold medal at the Bangkok Games.
Not an overnight achievement
In Malaysia, bowling began at a centre in Penang in 1961 and was somewhat of a novelty. Only the affl uent could afford it as it was an expensive game.
Today, bowling centres have sprouted all over the country and remains a favourite sport for the young and old.
A national bowling association was formed in 1965, but it died quietly in 1973.
Dr Nathan gave the sport a new lease of life when he formed MTBC in 1974, and he has been at its helm since.
Parlour game to world level
From being regarded as a parlour game, bowling has grown into one of the top sports in Malaysia, thanks to the suport by the government.
The results of the Malaysian bowling team over the years and their current standing as one of the top bowling nations in the world speak volumes for what Dr Nathan has done.
But the modest doctor refuses to take full credit and insisted it was the people who worked with him who played an instrumental role in elevating the Malaysian bowling scene to its current status.
They include the likes the late Peter Yap, former national coach Sid Allen, former secretary-general Sidney Tung, the current office bearers and the National Sports Council.
Dr Nathan cut a dashing figure in his heyday
World level
He was the Asian Bowling Federation vice president in 1975 and later became president from 1984 to 1988.
Dr Nathan was also the World Tenpin Bowling Association (WTBA) president for three terms.
He was first elected president in 1987 and served two terms before relinquishing the post.
In 1999, he made a comeback when he saw the sport suffering and was elected for the third time in Abu Dhabi.
Among his contributions were putting bowling houses in order, implementing proper ball controls and lane dressing, implementing world rankings, getting neutral equipment facilities and funds for WTBA and holding regular world coaching clinics and certification for coaches.
He even had bowling shortlisted for the Olympics Games at the IOC meeting in Mexico in 2002, but it didn’t make it to the final round.
He was instrumental in getting bowling included in the 1998 KL Commonwealth Games — for the first time in the history of the Games — and the birth of the inaugural Commonwealth Bowling championship in Scotland last year after having put together the Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Federation.
Besides bowling, Dr Nathan also served as vice president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia. He was the chef-de-mission for the 1991 Manila Sea Games and a board member of the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
What more
Asked what more is he looking for the sport, he simply replied: “As long as I can serve the sport and the people want me, I will continue to serve them, “It is the same for my medical profession where as long as my patients believe in me and want to see me, I will serve them.
“I have no succession plans. I believe it will take care of itself when the time comes. There will be people to take over.”
Indian classical music lover
The doctor has other interests too. He loves Indian classical music which is not surprising as his wife was a classical dancer during her younger days. The doctor put his love for music to good use.
He is actively involved in charitable work, having been the secretary of the Kuala Lumpur Home Nursing Service Association.
He has brought the India Beat six times, singlehandedly staging the Charity Concert of Indian Classical Music and Dance.
The proceeds went to the Temple of Fine Arts and setting up a dialysis centre and also the MTBC.
With so much going on in his life, one wonders where he finds the time to put his personal touch in everything he does.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Will the cycle continue?

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 - the malay mail
The Malaysia contingent during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Scotland in July. — Picture by Getty
THE Incheon Asian Games officially begin today and at the end of the Games on October 4, there is going to be another review of the performance of the contingent.
So, what is new? This has happened after every Games and still fresh in our minds is the review of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games last month.
Some drastic measures need to be taken, not just talked about.
Associations that pay no heed to the development of their respective sports and have no proper programmes, training schedules or proper selection methods need to be sidelined until they toe the line.
After each sports debacle, we hear the same old story . that action will be taken against associations that fail to produce results, funds will be cut, only athletes who qualify on merit will be selected and the list goes on, but come the next Games, everyone is on board for another debacle.
Targets are compromised to show associations have won medals and after millions of ringgit spent on every Games, we only aim for minimum medals.
No one wants to strive for more medals because it means more work, pressure and living up to promises.
So everyone chooses the easy way out by setting low targets and saying that anything more is a bonus.
Studies too have been conducted in recent years, but the fi ndings have been swept under the carpet because they speak the truth. And truth hurts and pinpoints the associations that have been slacking.
The things that have been pointed out in these studies include:
a) Athlete preparation . the majority of the NSAs are below the benchmark required
b) Most of the NSAs are below the benchmark for the organisation of national competitions
c) A good number of them are below the benchmark for competing in international competitions
d) An alarming number of them were below the benchmark for competition framework pathway
e) Some of the NSAs were found to be lacking in development, giving recognition and incentives, and preparing their national team.
A shocking finding is that the majority of the NSAs have lost control of their associations to the National Sports Council (NSC), which, after having funded them heavily, has taken over their programmes and athletes.
So now, these NSAs have little say in the selection of their athletes and coaches for programmes, although they claim otherwise.
This needs to be addressed. Otherwise, there is no motivation for the NSAs to establish development pathways.
The NSAs must have a common framework for talent identification and athlete development, without which they have no consistent and agreed mechanism to carry out these processes.
It is obvious that the absence of such a framework has led to the emergence of an NSC-controlled athlete development structure.
On the face of it, Malaysia has many of the requirements to have a successful elite sport system. However, investigations show that the system and the main developers of elite athletes - the NSAs - lack real development. Their shortcomings include:
œ A lack of strategic planning
œ Very few sports with a holistic competition structure and no club structure for most sports
œ Virtually no membership records
œ The need for substantial development of their financial policies and procedures After a number of sports were dropped and some sports associations withdrew, the Malaysian contingent to Incheon comprised 365 athletes and officials and was headed by chef-de-mission Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah.
Malaysia will be participating in 24 of the 36 sports contested, namely aquatics, archery, athletics, badminton, bowling, boxing, cricket, track cycling, equestrian, football, gymnastics, hockey (men & women), kabaddi, karate, rugby, sailing, sepak takraw, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, beach volleyball, weightlifting and wushu. The target is one gold less than the nine won in Guangzhou four years ago.
It would be interesting to see the end-result, but whatever happens, all indications are that another review is in order after the Games.
Whether a serious effort is made to put Malaysian sports on the right path this time around, especially when we spend so much money on sports and have some of the world's best facilities, is left to be seen.
But if we tumble into the same hole, then Malaysian sports will continue to fall short of excellence through our own doing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Zainal eats, breathes and sleeps football

saturday, SEPTEMBER 13, 2014 - The Malay mail


by tony Mariadass
Zainal and his son Zaiza show off the Malaysia Cup after Pahang beat Kelantan 1-0.
ZAINAL ABIDIN HASSAN has seen it all.
He started his career during the glorious football years of 1980s, experienced Malaysia’s decline and is now trying to resurrect the ailing state of the game.
But Zainal, who turns 52 on November 9, is still searching for the magic formula to see Malaysian football fl y high again.
Zainal was a feared striker for Malaysia
After the late Datuk Mokhtar Dahari, Zainal is the most popular footballer of the 1980s and that he is still actively involved speaks of his passion for the game.
Zainal is a household name having played mostly for Selangor and Pahang alternately from 1980 to 1999.
In the end, the Selangor-born lad now has more Pahang blood than Selangor, having gone on to coach and take managerial duties with the east coast giants.
Been there, done that
“I am blessed to have experienced the good, bad and ugly side of Malaysian football. But it is the good which supersedes the rest,” said Zainal Abidin, who is back as Pahang coach and hoping to defend the Malaysia Cup title.
“Football has been my life and it will be till I die. I am still pasasionate as the game has been part of me since I was a kid. “However, I would like to do more because I believe we can still regain our past glories.”
Looking for a successful formula Zainal admitted he is at a lost for a successful formula as Malaysia are still struggling to make a mark when everything — from the benefits accorded, facilities available and professional approach — are available.
“In reality, Malaysian football should be among the top,” said Zainal. “We used to be kingpins when we were amateurs. But now as professionals when everything is systematic, we fail to get the desired results.
“One of the setbacks is we do not have the number of quality players we used to have.
“Those days we easily had 15 to 16 players vying for the first XI. Many players on the bench were all first XI materials. “Today we do have quality players, but in smaller numbers.”
Players lack drive
Zainal pinned it down to the players, many of whom do not strive to be top players.
“Today we have academies and development programmes all over the country. Those days it was players coming through from schools.”
Zainal celebrates winning the 1986 Malaysia Cup final.
Zainal started playing for Selangor in 1980 when he was just 17. In his first stint for the Red Giants, he scored 21 goals in 41 competitive matches before he moved to Pahang in 1983.
It was here the lanky rightback was converted into a striker by former Pahang coach, the late Frank Lord.
The rest is history as Zainal became one of the region’s top strikers. He scored 13 goals and helped Pahang capture the Malaysia Cup for the first time that year by defeating 3–2.
“I was lucky to be coached from a very young age by the legendary Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Minhat. That was where I acquired the basics and skills.
“When I played for school (SM Maxwell), I played as a striker because of my built.
But when I played in Selangor, I played as a defender, following in the footsteps of my brother, Khalid,” said Zainal who has another older brother, Hanifah, who also played for the state.
“But when I moved to Pahang in 1983, Lord felt I was better as a striker.
“That was the best thing that happened the 1986 Golden Boot with 20 goals.
Zainal’s prowess did not go unnoticed and he represented Malaysia at the SEA Games and many other international tournaments.
He finished with 138 international caps plus a further 42 from friendlies for a grand total of 180 appearances for Malaysia.
Zainal is also remembered for winning the SEA Games gold for the first time in 1989 under English coach Trevor Hartley.
Zainal also featured for Malaysia in the inaugural AFF Cup (then called the Tiger Cup) in 1996, leading the Malaysia to the final before losing to Thailand 1–0. He also emerged as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player at the age of 35.
He soon retired from international football although he returned for a final hurrah with Selangor in 1997. He played for them until retirement in 1999.
He then swapped his football boots for futsal shoes to help the then fl edgling Malaysia futsal team, although he would then take up managerial and coaching positions with several teams such as the Under-17 national team and Shahzan Muda.
He was reunited with his old strike partner Dollah Salleh at Pahang in 2011, with Dollah as the head coach and him as the manager.
Their partnership, as usual, was dynamic and Pahang won the Malaysia Cup last season — their first in 21 years. While Dollah left to coach fi rst Police and now the national team, Zainal remained with Pahang as coach.
Midas touch
The Zainal factor in Pahang has been around for almost 25 years and he could well be around for some time more to come as his oldest son, Zaiza, 28, is a member of the Pahang team.
While he has won many honours for Pahang and Selangor, it is the Midas touch for Malaysian football that Zainal is looking for.

Recognition comes in many forms

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2014 - The Malay Mail
DEVELOPMENT is a long word and it is equally long to get recognition working in this area, especially for sports journalists.
Sometimes, one’s work just goes unnoticed while athletes go on through diff erent coaches and gain honour.
Articles on school-level and development tournaments especially do not get much attention from newspaper readers except maybe from those who are directly involved.
Most sports journalists covet awards and strive hard to collect as many as possible.
However, no award can be bigger than being thanked by some retired athlete or offi cial for stories written about them eons ago.
I have had a few surprises like that. Out of the blue I would get an email, a phone call or even a Facebook message from athletes I had covered when they were schoolboys or teenagers, asking if I remembered them some twenty or thirty years later.
Having written on many budding athletes or highlighted their performances or plights, naturally I can’t remember them all.
On Tuesday, I had a request on Facebook to friend one Khaw Hock Seang who said he was a former hockey player.
Hock Seang in his heyday.
I did not recognise the name, but since he was a former sportsman, I accepted.
The next day I get a message from him asking how I was, where I was and if I remembered him.
Embarrassed at not remembering his name, I said I was getting old and he needed to refresh my memory.
Immediately he sent me an article I had written on him when he was playing in the Tun Hussein Onn Cup for Selangor, who won the title in the late 1980s.
Hock Seang was a Junior World Cup goalkeeper of the era.
It was indeed humbling to be remembered by a sportsman whom I had covered more than 25 years ago thanking me for the support.
Hock Seang is now a bank relationship manager with RHB in Klang.
Indeed, such recognition is far more satisfying than any award given by one’s peers.
Don’t get me wrong. Every journalist treasures these awards and I myself have one from the 1990s. But a case like Hock Seang’s warms the cockles of your heart.
I had a similar experience a few years ago. I had an email from a reader who said he had got my email address from the newspapers and was surprised that I was still writing after all these years.
“You will not know my name, but I am the 12-year-old boy in a picture that appeared on the front page of the Malay Mail in the 1980s when you highlighted the plight of a group of boys in Bangsar who had to play football in the middle of a roundabout.”
My memory flashed back to the rainy day I had spotted the boys playing on the roundabout as I was coming back from an assignment.
The article which Hock Seang has kept.
As I had a cameraman with me, we stopped and took pictures of the boys and I spoke to them.
Now in his 30s, the boy who sent me the email said he still had the newspaper cutting.
He said he was the talk of his school when that article came out.
“I really appreciate what Malay Mail did to highlight our plight and it meant a great deal to us. When some of those who played on the roundabout meet once in a while, we still talk about the article.”
Another time, while I was waiting in my car for a friend at the LCCT, a Malay gentleman came around, looking at my number plate and at the Press sticker on my car for 15 minutes.
I got nervous and locked my door and then this man fi nally knocked on my window. Opening it halfway, I asked him what he wanted.
“Awak wartawan dari Malay Mail kan? (You are a journalist from Malay Mail right?)”
I nodded and he immediately started a conversation on how he used to read my articles in the 1980s and 1990s and that he had even met me at the Selangor training ground.
“I recognised your car number plate. But I did not know if it was the right person in the car,” he said.
I got out of the car and for 20 minutes we talked about sports in the country and after my friend arrived, he shook hands with me and parted by saying he was really happy to have seen me after all those years.
I did not know him at all but he certainly made all my years in sports journalism worth their while.
There have been many other instances like these.
What I am trying to say is that for all those who work away from the limelight, especially the development coaches, your day of recognition will come. All your sacrifi ces, hard work and passion will be thanked in one way or another.
So keep up the good work because you are the ones who are moulding the future of Malaysian sports.