Read the Malay Mail today and it is interesting that national hockey coach Sarjit Singh has blamed his predecessors for the team's failure to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.
HOCKEY/OLYMPIC QUALIFIER > Sarjit: It wasn’t my fault
SARJIT SINGH is disappointed he has been victimised for the country’s failure to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.
The former national skipper has absolved himself of blame and pointed the finger at the previous team management who he feels should be held accountable.
“The damage was done even before I was appointed national coach,” said the 45-year-old, who has worked with the team for more than 15 months after replacing Wallace Tan on Jan 23 last year.
“With the sixth place finish at the 2006 Doha Asian Games, we knew it won’t be easy in the qualifiers, especially with world champions Germany there,” added Sarjit, whose salary is in the spotlight as the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have requested that the Na- tional Sports Council (NSC) give him an increment despite the team’s failure to reach the final in Kakamigahara, Japan.
“How come my salary is being brought up now? What about the time when the team qualified for the Sultan Azlan Cup final for the first time in 13 years? “Or even the third place finish at the Asia Cup in India last September? “When I was appointed, I was given a target of reaching the 2012 London Olympics. I would like a chance to do my job and if I fail, I will step down.
“Many parties don’t support the team. During the impressive performance at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, the team were rated as the saviours of Malaysian hockey.
“But one bad match against Italy, and we are back to zero. How are the players suppose to keep their focus till the next Olympics?” The Batu Pahat-born Sarjit’s first job with MHF was in 2004 when he was named the National Juniors coach.
He was entrusted to get the team to the 2005 Junior World Cup in Rotterdam, Holland, from the Junior Asia Cup.
However, the team failed to finish in the top three and were eliminated from the World Cup, only for the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to accept a request from the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) to allow four Asian teams a place in the Junior World Cup.
In Rotterdam, Sarjit’s boys could only finish a disappointing 10th, but he was still retained as coach for the 2009 Junior World Cup which Malaysia will co-host with Singapore.
He was promoted to the senior side after Wallace Tan failed to win a medal at the Asian Games.
Sarjit’s next assignment is the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup from May 8-18 in Ipoh.
“Many expect us to win the tournament after the poor outing in Japan, but we are one of the lowest-ranked teams.
“There are four Olympic-bound nations and Argentina and India, who are two strong hockey nations,” said Sarjit.
“We will do our best but the team need positive vibes and not harsh comments every time they fail.
There will be no progress then.”