Friday, February 24, 2017


  SPORT is meant to be pure, beautiful, entertaining and fairly contested.
But over the years it has been tainted and plagued by all sorts of menace both on and off the field.
While some athletes are guilty of bringing the game to disrepute, some administrators are equally guilty of being overzealous and ambitious.
It’s fine officials offer their services, but there are some who overstay their welcome while others want to be involved in one too many sports.
Perhaps because there is a shortage of capable administrators, several seek to be involved in multiple sports simultaneously.
However, the question is whether they only desire to serve the sport or have hidden agendas.
It’s difficult to accept some officials want to hold key posts in several sports associations purely to serve.
Do they really have the time, and money, to spend on these associations?
There was a time not too long ago when Datuk Dr Shahidan Kassim, the current Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) president, was heading as many as six associations, both at state and national level.
Now we have Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Subahan Kamal, who is also the president of Selangor Hockey Association, vying for one of the deputy president’s posts in the FA of Malaysia (FAM) elections next month.
He has just become FA of Selangor’s (FAS) new president yesterday after winning unopposed.
The 52-year-old Subahan has done well with MHC since becoming president two years ago, taking over from Regent of Pahang, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
Subahan has freed MHC from debt and implemented several programmes to improve hockey.
He is a dynamic and vibrant man who walks the talk and should continue to give his undivided attention to Malaysian hockey.
MHC are heading in the right direction; Subahan cannot afford to take his foot off the pedal.
If he does find himself elected to two more sports bodies, will MHC not suffer from a diffusion of his resources and energies?
Another personality aspiring to wear multiple hats is Kuala Lumpur Badminton president Datuk Norza Zakaria, who is also deputy president of the BA of Malaysia (BAM).
Norza is expected to vie for the president’s post in BAM, contesting against acting president Tan Sri Mohamed Al-Amin Abdul Majid.
The 52-year-old Norza is also the deputy president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), chairman of National Sports Insitute, treasurer of FAM, member of the Federal Territories Sports Council and president of Putra Polo Club.
Like Subahan, Norza is full of passion and enthusiasm for sports, but he could be having too much on his plate?
It’s great to see younger sports officials on the rise but they would do well to concentrate on one or at most two sports, to make a difference to the bodies they helm.
Many aspire in vain to be like former mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Tan Sri Elyas Omar, who was president of BAM, president of FA of Kuala Lumpur, vice-president of FAM and president of Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).
The difference is Elyas was in a position where he could make a difference to sports in general and virtually built Kuala Lumpur into a sports city.
He had the passion and the time. He had good administrators for each sport he helmed and hired capable professional coaches. All the sports bodies he helmed benefited.
Can the current crop of aspiring leaders achieve what Elyas did while they juggle their business and political careers?
It’s sad not many former sportsmen and women are making themselves available to their respective sports as administrators.
Or they do not have a chance to make inroads as long-staying sports officials hold them at bay keeping a tight rein on sports bodies they control.
In the run-up to the FAM polls next month, only current deputy president (acting president) Datuk Afandi Hamzah, who is defending his position, is a former national soccer player from Kelantan.
However, it is encouraging to see three former national referees — Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh, Nik Ahmad Yaakub and Mohd Jamil Zakaria — nominated for FAM exco posts.
Whether they make the cut against heavyweight ‘Datuks’ who are also contesting is left to be seen.
Until and unless Malaysian sports are administered by officials who have a sports background, passion, fresh ideas, desire to stay relevant, and place the sport above themselves, it is continuously going to be shortchanged.

TONY is a sports journalist with close to four decades’ experience and is passionate about local sports.
He can be reached at

Friday, February 17, 2017



TRUE love for sports was
 demonstrated last Saturday at Club Aman when cricket enthusiasts paid tribute to Michael Francis Shepherdson (better known as Mike Shepherdson) on the first anniversary of his death.
A memorial match between Klang Crows and Club Aman was held, where Mike’s son, Aubrey, Mike’s sister Oliver and brother-in-law, S. Rajalingam (teammate of Mike), besides many close friends and fellow cricketers were present.

The late Mike Shepherdson  family members and friends - from left Tan, Lall, Harjit, Dennis, Aubery, Nageswaran, Chris Syers, Bhupinder and front row from left, Olive, Hector, Delilkan and Nageswaran

But what was heart-warming was that the event was organised by an individual who was a friend of Mike and a cricket enthusiast – 65-year-old retiree K.Tharumanathan from Klang.
While the governing body of cricket and the state Mike represented, forgot about this legend, who is said to be the best all-round cricketer the nation has produced, Tharma, as he is fondly known among the cricket circle, kept the legacy of Mike alive.
Tharma, single-handedly organised the event with his own money, buying a challenge trophy and souvenirs for the event, while some well-wishers like Johor Cricket Club president, Datuk Dr Harjit Singh, former Klang Club president K. Nageswaran, former national hockey player K. Balasingam and Klang Crows founder, Lall Bangah, to name a few, donated on the day for the worthy cause.

There was no fanfare over the event. Just a simple game of cricket to honour and remember the late Mike.
Tharma, a former employee of PKNS who retired in 1996 when it was privatised, lives on his pension and is coaching cricket and hockey fulltime in Klang on a voluntary basis!
But his love for both the sports is undying and his association with Mike began in the 70s when he greatly admired Mike’s batting and fielding.
“After Mike retired from TNB, he used to call me and give me a lot of tips on batting fielding and also bowling,” recalled Tharma.
“Mike punished me whenever I played against him. But after the game he took time to buy me tea and explained what to do and not to do especially in my bowling.
“He gave me tips on how to coach children. Not a day goes by that I do not think of this great person and mentor. I miss him a lot. Thanks to Mike and all his mentoring that I am able to run my coaching clinics, said Tharma paying tribute to Mike.

Tharma left preparing for the prize presentation with MC for afternoon Suresh Nunni whon had played for Klang Crows earlier.
Tharma played hockey and cricket for PKNS from1973 to 1988, hockey for Selangor from 1972 to 1976 (under coach was C. Paramalingam) and cricket for Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Terengganu.
He was also involved in a junior development programme from 1996 to 2000 under the Silver State Cricket Coaching Club – where he was coaching 12 schools in Klang
Since 2001 Tharma decided to conduct his own coaching clinics in Klang, were he has children coming from schools in Klang including Tamil schools.

Klang Club and Klang High School allow Tharma to use their ground for free to conduct his clinics on weekends, pubic holidays and school holidays.
Tharma now conducts clinics for about 110 school children from Klang for free.

He depends on well-wishers and friends to donate equipment and some money to run the clinics.

And when Tharma decided to have the memorial match for Mike, friends and cricket enthusiasts were full of praise for Tharma and came forward to be present at the event.
And it turned out to be a reunion for some of the greats of cricket and cricketers of yesteryear with the presence of Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Alex Delilkan, Dennis Sheperdson, S. Rajalingam, Hector Durairatnam, Datuk Dr Harjit Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Col (Rtd) Manjit Singh, K. Kamalanathan, K. Krishnasamy and Tan Kim Heng to name a few.

What was even more meaningful was that Tharma had brought some of his students from his coaching clinics not only to witness some ‘vintage’ cricket but to meet some of the cricket legends and talk to them.

Six kids – including a girl (14-year-old Dhanusri Sri Muhunann - SMK Bkt Tinggi, Klang) also played in the Memorial match.
Dhanusri was also named the ‘Most colourful cricketer’ for the match,

Klang Crows Cricket Club founder Lall Bangah presenting Dhanusri with the most 'colourful player' award with Dennis Shepherdson applauding.

Souvenirs in the form cricket bat keychains were also given to given to the “Future Stars”.

For the record the match played over 30 overs was a closely fought with Club Aman emerging victors narrowly with 159 for nine wickets in 29.3, while Klang Crows chalked 158 in 29 overs all out.
But the true winner that afternoon was the game of cricket and sports!

Aubery giving away challenge trophy to Club Aman captain Nirmal Singh  

While accolades for Mike came freely that afternoon, but one statement stood out – that he was local bred and from the Railway ground in Sentul.

Mike, the double international (cricket and hockey) who is the eldest of the Shepherdson brothers Christie, Denis and Vivian, started playing cricket at the Railway Recreation Club grounds, which was a breeding ground for many other hockey and cricket players and also football who went to represent the nation.
There was a time in the 60s when the national cricket team had seven players from Sentul.
The octogenarian was born in the railway quarters in Sentul and started at a very early age to knock the ball about in the back lanes besides the two cricket grounds that belonged to Malayan Railways.
Mike is arguably the greatest batsman to grace the local scene and his prowess was not only rated in fifties and sixties, but for all time in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Mike’s younger brother Christie, who was equally talented in both hockey and cricket was a member of the Malayan team for the 1958 Tokyo Asian Games too playing as right wing
The other two brothers, Dennis and Vivian reached honour in the late 50s and early 60s when they represented Selangor state as opening bowlers. Dennis went on to represent Federal Territory when it debuted in the Malaysian Cricket Association league in 1975.

Dr Harjit in his address stressed how school and public fields which were breeding ground for athletes had disappeared in the name of development and thus the dwindling number of local grown talent from housing estates, districts and villages.

Datuk Dr Harjit with Aubery Sheperdson

Pro Delilkan pointed out that sportsmen and women cannot be manufactured.
Delilkan, fourth in a family of four boys and two girls,was born into a family with a ‘cricket-mania’ atmosphere.

Nageswaran presenting a souvenir to Alex Delilkan
“My father (hailed from Sri Lanka) as a cricket lover and carried his interest of the game to an extreme. My three older brothers were infused, as I was, by the intense cricket fanaticism that pervaded very nook and corner in our home.
“As far as I can remember my memory is filled with cricket talking, listening to cricket on the radio and watching games. My father even had his own team called – Colonial Cricket Club – playing in the Singapore Division One league.
“With this type of family background – it is understandable that cricket still flows in my blood.
“As we grew up, my father bought us a complete cricket set and the four of us could be seen in the evenings, during weekdays, indulging in fiercely-fought ‘games’. The weekends, were solely devoted to watching our heroes’ in action.”
Alex said sportsmen and women can be manufactured through clinics an academies, but they first have to have the passion for the sport, but it will take a longer time, then those who breathe, eat and sleep the sport they love.
Indeed, it was a delight to witness a sports event filled with so much passion, love and voluntarism still alive, when in present days sports has degenerated to too much politicking , greed, power craze, corruption, cheating and sports managed by officials who are not sportsmen or women.


Future Stars

Girls - Dhanusri Sri Muhunan

Ø Vijay Unni 14 years – Bukit Jalil Sports School
Ø Srikanth Sri Muhunan-SRK Bkt Tinggi Klang
Ø Sanjay Unni- SMK Lasalle Klang
Ø Pradnesh Nair- Uniten
Ø R. Visshvaran – A.C.S Klang
Ø R. Viemanna Ram- SMK Lasalle Klang
Ø Samhith Reddy Vannedi- Harvest Home School, Klang
Ø Neshan Suresh- SMK Bkt Tinggi, Klang
Ø Thishan Suresh- SRK Bkt Tinggi Klang
Ø Tharan Mathava Thurai- SMK Lasalle Klang
Ø J Ameet Singh- Segi College
Ø Sachdev Singh- Ex schoolboy
Ø K. Jagvinder Singh- Ex schoolboy

Other awards given out were:
1.    Vijay Unni 14 years old – Best batsman (scored 38 runs in 40 balls)
2.    Deepak Menon – Best bowler ( 5 wickets -33 runs-6 overs)
3.    Nirmal Singh- Best Fielder
4.    J. Ameet Singh – Best All-rounder – 29 runs in 22 balls , 2 wickets - 25 runs in 5 overs

TONY is a sports
journalist with close to
four decades’ experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at

Friday, February 10, 2017


Level Field 


 INDEED the election for the president’s post in the FA of Malaysia (FAM) on Mar 25 has become as intriguing as its analogue in the political arena.
While former Kelantan FA president Tan Sri Annuar Musa has confirmed acceptance of his nomination, the other three — Tunku Mahkota of Johor (TMJ) Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, Putrajaya Corporation president and FAM integrity committee chairman Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat, and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin — have yet to do so.
The deadline for acceptance is Monday and the final list of contestants is to be announced a week later.
While TMJ seems to be the choice of 14 affiliates who were granted an audience by Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar of Johor, at which they sought his approval of his son’s candidature, the latter has yet to officially submit his acceptance to FAM.
Aseh and Khairy, too, have not submitted their acceptance forms. This has caused much guessing as to what is in store.
One person who could well play ‘kingmaker’ in the polls is current secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin.
It is learnt Hamidin, who has been nominated for deputy president, is withdrawing.
If that happens, a role for him as strategist comes into play, as he is expected to be retained as secretary-general by the new president who takes over from the incumbent, the Regent of Pahang, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who is stepping down.
Hamidin enjoys strong support from the affilliates and is poised to play an influential role in the polls.
Although 14 affiliates — Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu, Kedah, Perlis, Armed Forces, Malacca, Johor, Malaysian Malays Football Association, Malaysian Chinese Football Association, Malaysian Indian Sports Council and Malaysian Coaches Association — have shown support for TMJ, in FAM’s politics what is apparent is not necessarily what really pans out.
Last minute switches of allegiance are common as history has demonstrated.
Six of FAM’s 20 affiliates did not attend the gathering in Johor, namely Negri Sembilan, Kelantan, Perak, Police, Penang and Pahang.
Does that mean they do not support TMJ?
This is where Hamidin could play a key role with the camp he backs.
While several scenarios are being sketched out, an antidote for this head-twirling maneuvering was put forth by Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr. A.E. Delilkan, a respected figure in Malaysian cricket and the medical profession.
He summarised his advice on sports administration in general and sports leadership as follows:
Bring meritocracy as a basis for selection of sportsmen/women to represent the nation.
Former national/international players should organise and run the game and not influential non-sportsmen/women.
Delilkan’s leadership formula for national sports associations is as follows:
For president: A respected national figure, a national leader — from royalty, politics, or philanthropy.
Purpose of the president: to attract sponsorship.
The president should not be involved in the running of the game, for example, in the selection of coaches/trainers or players to represent the country
There should be two sub-divisions 
for officials:
1. Administrative chief or CEO (preferably a business personality)
 To run all business aspects (funding, sponsorship)
 To run organisation of sports meetings/tournaments
 Should not be involved in the running of the game (selection etc)
2. Director/coordinator of the game/sport
 Independent decision makers (no connection with influential personalities who might not know which end of the bat/racquet to hold or are more adept at making a racket of situations for their personal agendas.
 A former sports icon (preferably a former national player/former foreign sports icon second choice)
 In charge of and responsible for selection of players to represent the country, oversee selection committee comprising former national/state players
 To ensure player selection based on meritocracy, oversee coaching, training, management, development programmes to maintain and improve the game.
Indeed food for thought but how many NSA’s will take heed of his advice?

TONY is a sports
journalist with close to
four decades’ experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at