Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Laos Finishes Ahead of Malaysia - Shameful...

Laos won the pre-SEA Games football tournament and yes, they used their U-23 squad while Malaysia who used their U-19, finished second behind them but for all intents and purpose, can we measure our national squad's performance with Laos?

I say yes because Laos is an amatuer nation in football and impoverished, economically compared to us. Apparently, Laos has been using Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Vietnam's V-League club as their base. Two points to note on this club, one, their name appears on the A-Boards during EPL matches and number two, Kiatisak Senamuang used to play there - I think he is at Chonburi club now.

Malaysia was quite awful judging by their inability to take on the Laotian in defence. Watching the match, the Laotian strikeforce just forced their way through and surprise, surprise, they looked more skillful than us - who have a professional league!

If this is our future team, then I guess we will continue to rot in the abyss of football dump. You always hear those PR Mat Salleh football experts from overseas, who when visiting here will say Malaysian footballers are skillful - well its a load of crap. Yesterday night's match just confirmed it.

Even though we sent an U-19 team, finishing behind Laos is not an excuse. Of course when they come back, words like "good exposure", "experience", "players showed good commitment but did not play to instructions", " good future ahead" will be spouted out from various FAM officials. You have been warned! :)

Teachers, Please Help SPI To Become A Sports Icon Again

Today's Star Metro carried a story titled "Bringing back glory to SPI"

Read the story by copying the link at


Being an Old Paulian myself, of course I would read this story first because when you go to a school like St Paul's Instituition (SPI), the spirit remains with you forever, even way after you leave school.

Coming back to this story, the days when SPI was famous for hockey has long gone - now it's school in Tampin and Gemencheh that hogs the limelight in Negeri Sembilan (NS). Why and whatever happened?

I think at the end of the day, its down to dedicated teachers. Yes, the late Ashvin Patel (remembered he taught me Sejarah back in the days) was the inspiration behind the glory hockey days in SPI. Well, for the life of me, I am no hockey player and I hated hockey but when I went to The Sun in the sports desk, Menon, my then Boss and Sports Editor, made hockey as one of my beat when he heard I hated hockey in my interview.

I think I started liking hockey after that - a) because easy to get stories from that beat b) easy to cover the matches even though the national junior league and even the senior league matches was a big yawn, because all the sports writers covering the match will share information on how the goal was scored even though most of us will be chit chatting about matters not related to hockey!

Ok, enough of digressing. To put the short and the long together, teachers play an important role in nurturing our future stars. Today, I think there is not enough of them out there. I don't hear SPI's name anymore excelling in sports. Is it because teachers are more interested to conduct tuition after school? Or pupils are not interested in sports?

It is like the chicken and egg conundrum - blame the teacher or the student?

I think its more the teachers than the students as they are 'supposed' to nurture and impress good values onto the students be it in studies or sports.

So teachers, you better get ya butts moving and put SPI back at where it belongs - the peak of sporting excellence. No excuses, because it is not to say that SPI is producing straight As students who appears on the front pages of the local media come announcement of exam results time!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Help Not One, Help All

Mother Nature is on a rampage now - well it is to be accepted since we are nicely raping our Earth from its resources.

Well, certain people will benefit from this raping (we know who you are) but then, let us spare a thought for those less fortunate, those who are and will not make money from exploiting the Earth. The poor souls in Indonesia, Phillipines and Samoa.

What irritates me is the the way we Malaysians help people - always double standards. Why are we going all out to help the Indons but we turn a blind eye towards the poor Phillipinos and Samoa? Is it because they are far away and they don't worship a common God?

When helping, we should look at everyone as God's creation, not just because we are of the same religion. This one-sided attitude is a human weakness, not the religion. I am sure all religions' preach Godliness, goodness and kindness to fellow humans. The only sad thing is, nobody wants to do it!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Dr Alban Can’t Cut It Anymore, A Has Been?

Dr Alban used to be a star, well that's what I thought in my schooling days. I mean who could ever forget "It's My Life" booming through the radio in shopping complexs (back in the days in Seremban - where got malls, but complexes...), in school during Teacher’s Day and car stereos, especially those ‘feng-tao’ fellas in their modified cars.

But now, I hear that Dr Alban singing on Hitz.FM with Sasi The Don? What? Yea, you got that right,B! I mean Dr Alban’s star quality has gone down so much that his he has to team-up with our local guy who of course is the reggae man, but from somewhere in Klang or Kajang?

This is like a demotion of Dr Alban, I guess he can’t cut it anymore that he needs to come down to a small country (music-industry wise) like Malaysia to con innocent Asians like us into listening his new track?

Anyway nothing great on the song, just chorus of some local Malaysian girls singing, with reggae rap in between both Dr Alban and Sasi. I don’t know why Hitz.FM is playing it up so much like as if it’s the next big hit in the world!

Of course, our singers tak sedar diri lar, one thinks he is from Jamaica while local rapper Kraft (sounds cheesy if you get what I mean, and also catchy Kraft cheese wrapper?) thinks he is from somewhere in South Central, LA.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

1Malaysia F1 Team Going to be A Good1?

Today, I don’t know whether to feel happy or sceptical of our new F1 team called 1Malaysia F1 team.

While the funding seems to be coming from both government and private sector, as a tax payer, it would be good to know how much of our (read you and me ) money is going to be contributed towards this venture which our PM says is not merely a sporting activity but an element of marketing for Proton, Malaysia and also, Air Asia and Naza brand names to be popularised.

To me, why do we need an F1 team and also one that has the 1Malaysia to it? To me, the recent things which happened (shall not say it as everyone knows what happened recently) is not 1Malaysia as our PM envisioned. I think, 1Malaysia needs to start working on this at home first and must be successful, before shouting it loud to the whole world.

Ok, back to sports, now, reading today’s reports – looking for a suitable Malaysian driver. Hmm, we all know what happened to Alex Yoong at Minardi, slowest driver and what an embarrassment to us. Remember all the hype of him joining the team and how Mark Webber was treated like the so-called 2nd driver in the team but now, look at where Mark Webber is!

Another name is Fairuz Fauzy but can any our Malaysian drivers hack it? Every time we read in the media, same story, “our drivers has the potential to make it, a star in the making and etc”.

Even Japan for all their technology and history in F1 is struggling to get a world-class driver to regularly win points. Let’s not talk about regular podium finishes. Can we do it?

We have always been know as world-class organisers but having this F1 team made me think what tangible benefits can we gain from it other than being a supporter of F1 sports, marketing Malaysia to the masses and a feel good factor of having an F1 team based away from Europe?

Another interesting point is that our technical and pit crew of 200 will all be Malaysian… can this be done? Also getting UTM and U of Petronas involved to participate – the sceptic in me is questioning getting this local cast involved in this project in a short juncture. I mean, our universities are not really rated highly overseas judging by our rankings which we are even behind Singapore’s NUS.

Can’t we maybe get our people to ‘belajar’ from the Mat Salleh experts first before we go ahead on with a somewhat 100% local flavour?

Well, let us just watch on how our new F1 Lotus team shapes up and I for one would be interested to see, number 1, who is the local driver and number 2, can we perform and not just make up the numbers.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Elia, Oranje's Latest Star

Elia in full flight
Eljero Elia is a name many football fans do not know but after scoring his first goal for Holland in their 1-0 win over Scotland last week, my guess is, he will be a name teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United will come a calling by next season.

A winner of the Johan Cruyff award which is awarded for the best young player in Holland, Elia is now starring for the Dutch-flavoured Hamburg in the Bundesliga.

Before heading to Hamburg, Elia was with Steve McClaren’s FC Twente before making the move in July which somehow helped him in a way, get a call up for Bert van Marwijk’s national side.

Making his debut against Japan on Sept 5, Elia proved to be an excellent wide player, coming on for Bayern Munchen star Arjen Robben at half time and producing two superb assists to help the Dutch clinch a 3-0 win over the former Asian champions.

His second match though opened many football pundits and fans’ eyes with the only goal in their win against Scotland in a meaningless World Cup qualifier as the Dutch have already qualified for the World Cup.

His Oranje career started with the U-19s in 2005 and with rapid progression, made his U-21 debut in the beginning of 2006. On the club scene, he excelled at ADO Den Haag’s youth team and made his professional debut when he was just 17-years old. Problems in ADO Den Haag’s team saw FC Twente take advantage by signing him and the rest as they say, is history.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Celtic's Asian Stars


Clockwise : Koki Mizuno, Ki Sung-yong and Zheng Zhi

Shunsuke Nakamura probably paved the way for Asians to make its presence felt in the Scottish Premier League (SPL) and thanks to him, we have Zheng Zhi and Korean starlet Ki Sung-yong making their way to Glasgow Celtics, on top of Japan's Koki Mizuno who has been there since last year.

It also makes interesting reading that as usual, the East Asian are showing the way forward. We wonder when the West Asian players who have the talent and physical attributes, will make a smiliar journey to Europe? Back to home, for all the talk that we performed superbly in that dubious friendly (note friendly) against Man Utd, when are our players going to make moves such as this?

We are not asking them to go to that level, even if they can play in UAE, Saudi, Japan or Korea, it would be great. Ok enough of digressing about our football team, which I am doing out of frustration!

Let's start about Zheng Zhi - China's national team skipper and natural all rounder! The twice China's Player of the Year has a chance to resurrect his career at least in the SPL after Charlton were demoted and he would only be the second player from China to feature in the SPL after Du Wei, who sadly, never found his footing there.

Mizuno on the other hand came in last year from JEF United and is quite comfortable on both sides of the flank and has a few caps on the Japanese national team. However, he hasn't really set Celtic on fire like his compatriot, Nakamura, who happens to be yours truly's favourite Asian player.

Ki is only 20 but I think a move to Celtic now is better to cut his teeth before looking at the more challenging EPL few years down the road. His worth is so great that his ex-club, FC Seoul is reluctant to transfer him now but would only send him in January as his team sits on top of the K-League. This is FC Seoul's second transfer after selling another star Lee Chung-yong to Bolton.

With Celtic out of the Champions League, these Asian players would at least need to ensure the SPL title does head to Rangers since Scotland has only two teams... right!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Time To Get The Bigger Boys

The National Banks Sports Council (NBSC) had its bienal AGM yesterday as true to some whispers in the background the same team (2007-2009) was retained after yesterday's AGM which looked more like a "Saya Setuju" meeting where every motion was passed without questions.

I may be wrong as the papers for the AGM was done perfect or just the attendees was not too bothered to ask or probe any questions on it. But never mind on that, it's done and dusted.

Looking at the team for the term 2009-2011, the President comes from Exim Bank while the Deputy President comes from Bank Rakyat. The questions that boggles my mind is the pedigree of the financial instituition's sporting background, not the individual.

We all know how rich Maybank's sporting history is while CIMB are hiring people to narrow the gap in inter-bank sports.

Why sports people from Maybank, CIMB or even RHB are not in that high level appointment (meaning the president and deputy president positions) beats the hell out of me. In this era of cost cutting, getting the right people from those financial instituitions can assist NBSC to cut cost, especially hiring venues for the their sports organisation.

In fact, they can probably get those venues for free, and in turn, they can lower the entrance fees and encourage more members to participate in the various sports they organise. Maybank has an excellent sports facility which can house athletes to live and train there, so why nobody ever though of putting a senior Maybank person there?

An insider told me that they have approached many high level (read:senior management) people from various instituition but all declined due to work commitments. If that is the case, I think the committee needs to put in more thought and find out why these key decision makers are not interested to take on this job? What are the reasons? Can somebody tell us? Is there a stumbling block within or outside the organisation that is making things tough for senior management to come in?

Also, a little bird told me that NBSC don't make much cash or normally break even - so it will be a mystery what the new exco or old exco (not much difference?) are going to do about this moving forward? As bankers, can't we think of various way to raise more capital?

In this age where sports are moving towards profesionalism, maybe NBSC can do simple things and not move one step back to please different cliques or factions within the organisation. The first thing to do is to get the right banks at the top and more senior management presence to move it forward in looking at ways to increase its financial status and also keeping the cost of participation low.

Maybe the new committee needs to sit down and brainstorm on getting CEOs and MDs of each bank to be in the exco - that will be a start though....

Monday, 4 May 2009

AFC's West Asian tussle

This is really interesting times in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Stories of how Mohamed bin Hammam iron fisted reign is slowly but surely coming to an end is a welcome relief.

As a former staff and an Asian football observer and follower, I think karma has a way of showing up to those who do bad unto others. This was a person who was hell bent of getting rid most of the Malaysian staff. Run a check now on people who worked under Dato' Peter Velappan's regime and you will see who many is left now.

Forcing Malaysian staff to go on contract, threatning to move AFC away from KL and treating his fellow West Asians as if they are football Gods in Asia when none of them even reach the quarter finals of a World Cup is some of the things he has done when he took over. The one that takes the cake is asking Malaysians to go for English classes...

Anyhow, my vote is for Sheikh Salman or whoever who goes against Hamamm. My hope for Sheikh Salman to treat all corners of Asia the same and not to always give priority to the West Asian Arab countries.

Whispers were going around that he was out to oust Dr Chung Mong-jung when he took over as AFC chief back then as from a FIFA standpoint, Hamamm is ranked lower in FIFA. So, try and amend the statutes to suit his ambitions...

Anyway, all the best Sheikh Salman and hope Asia makes an informed decision!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

BJSS and BPSS shouldn't play in the Junior League

On Saturday, 2 May, I read my friend Aftar's article in The Star about Bukit Jalil Sports School's going on a local holiday if they do the double in the Junior Hockey League.

The way the coach S. Prakash was quoted as saying, "The pressure is definitely on my boys to live up to their status as the number one team in the junior league."

Please, please lar... this the best team in the country for junior hockey, these boys eat, drink and sleep hockey. Not winning the title would be injustice to the very foundation of this school, read, Sports School or Sekolah Sukan if English is challenging for one to understand.

I also wonder why do they need to compete in the junior league. It is not a level playing field when you consider how bad sports is treated in our national school with academic qualification the utmost priority and sports being treated like a leper in most schools. Is it any wonder why we are still backwards in sports considering the millions we get and the pampering our athletes get?

To be a BJSS coach, even a seasoned player without a coaching cert can coach them to glory so I wonder why this Prakash guy was quoted as he sounded like "Wow, this league is so tough and my players are like achieving success based on my coaching ability versus the more tougher and stronger teams playing us"!

Heard enough of this crap and is it a wonder why we lag far behind in the world of hockey. In fact, just disband BJSS and BPSS for the junior league as they serve no purpose competing other than to dishearten and kill the morale of younger players. The fact that these two teams comprises of only one race is really not pleasing to all but let's leave this to another day.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Malaysian football has always been Like That

I am quite entertained to see Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) getting rammed by the throat, be it from running the game in the country right up to its poor secretariat staff (pity Saifuddin and Kelly, my ex-colleagues) after that 5-0 shame to UAE.

The rot has been there long time ago and coach B. Sathianathan is a brave man even though I am sure he has one leg already out of FAM's HQ in Kelana Jaya. He just did the right thing of calling a spade, a spade! What wrong did he do?

Tell me, if you are in his position with three fit players, wouldn't you get freaked out, knowing that even if 11 players were fit, media will still roast you...but three...

I like what the jovial Eric Samuel of Star said in his comment piece that everything will be discussed at the all powerful FAM Exco but knowing the members, things will be back to normal in no time, meaning this incident or happening will just continue even when I am 50 unless some sort of power could be clipped from the state affiliates. At the end of the day, the states need to play an important role but when you get half past six players from the states, what can the national coach do?

I think the only thing we can do is to work from down to the top. Let us not stray too far but look at Japan and Korea in terms of development. Why waste time sending our boys for trials or training at EPL clubs? Where is our R.O.I.? How many boys benefited and came back as half decent players?

I think if our players can even play in the J-League, K-League or even in Saudi Arabia or UAE's leagues, then its a major step in football for us. It is a know fact that MSL is crap, full stop. Why do our powers that be pretend its not by hauling up Sathia and even criticizing him in the media? Let's look at the AFC Cup for instance. This is a second tier tournament and til today, has any MSL side gone to the final? Why none of our state teams focus on this tournament, why just be contend with Malaysia Cup, FA Cup and the league title? From the attitude shown here, we know that state teams are the main culprits. When was the last time I heard a Malaysian players was coveted by foreign teams, why no one has moved abroad?

The signs are always there about the sad state of local football but we are of course oblivious to it until a crushing defeat hits our team. All in say is, football needs political will and a massive dose of 'unity' by getting the Chinese and Indians back in the game. Without them, our team will continue this downward spiral. Mark my words, one race teams never succeed!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Sathia is Right to Be Pissed with Losers

I don't blame national coach B. Sathianathan if he quits officially after the 5-0 thrashing by United Arab Emirates (UAE), I mean who could blame him for coaching a crappy team like Malaysia. Opps, that you and me's national team.

Yea, you read it right. He said prior to the game, only three players are fully fit. You have to be kidding me when you read this kind of statements in the papers. I mean, where is the professionalism in our players, why can't they maintain their own training schedule, why must they be reminded and spoon fed by the coach? Aren't we professional or in a professional-era?

However, as many of us fans know, Malaysian football is in denial. Claims of professionalism but amateur in attitude and everything. As you know, our players are mainly "gaya lebih" with their Nike outfits, MP3s and gelled up hair. I have said it before and I am saying it again, their boots have more talent than the players.

In my AFC days, I visited UAE on work assignment for the AFC U-17 tournament and I was posted in Abu Dhabi for two weeks and my venue was the Al Wahda Stadium which is the home club of their best player back then and now, Ismail Mattar. (He played in that 5-0 match)

One thing I noticed is the passion of the club officials and the squad of course. They have dedicated staff to run the club, from youth until the senior team. Yes, UAE clubs have more money than our state teams but that shouldn't be an excuse for our players lack of initiative and professionalism.

What can't we have our own Ismail Mattar, who was once coveted by teams from Europe and even Brazil? Heck, Al Ain club from UAE also won the first AFC Champions League and UAE's citizen compared to us, is relatively small as you would find more foreigners from Indians (from Kerala mainly), Pakistanis and Filipinos and the Mat Salleh in Dubai, Abu Dhabi areas among the seven (I think) Emirates.

Bit The Dust in Semis

I played in my company's sports club badminton tournament and sadly I lost in the semis. On the hindsight I would say that was good a result because I haven't played in a long time and put on damn a lot of weight.

But the defeat hurts as we lost a match we could win because of numerous unforced errors, simple shots like hitting out, to the net, half court smashes going astray etc. Not taking away any credit from my opponents but its one of those days that you feel, Shit, I could have done better!

Anyway, my new year resolution is to play regular badminton with my regular group. If I could do that, regain my old form and hopefully, my size, then I guess you guys out there better watch out!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Taxis at KL Tower - where the hell are they?

I went for the TV9 Rebirth event on an email invite and I must say the event was ok and the food was ok, too.

It was going back to office that irritated me as to my own discovery, Malaysia's own taxi service sucks and is very rotten to the core. Maybe the Tourism Ministry might do their own checking on the service provided at the KL Tower.
Imagine it was raining and no taxi was in sight to head home. Imagine again, what an embarrassment when tourists asked for taxi and none was in sight, what a bloody shame, the main KL tourist spot where all the tourists head to.. no taxi because of rain.
But then again, that's Malaysia for you. When opportunity is presented, they go running. When no opportunity, they will complain and bitch to the powers-that-be.