Friday, January 30, 2009

KOAM - Kesatuan Olahraga Amat Malang

Aku cukup benci dengan apa yang berlaku dalam Kesatuan Olahraga Amatur Malaysia (KOAM). Namanya pun sudah amatur, maka tingkah-laku, etika dan mutu kerja pun amaturlah.

Apabila aku dipelawa menjadi panelis Isu Semasa di TV1 dua minggu lalu di sisi Menteri Belia dan Sukan, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob dan Timbalan Presiden Persekutuan Kebangsaan Berbasikal Malaysia (PKBM), Datuk Naim Mohamad, aku menyentuh dua sukan secara khusus, iaitu bola sepak dan olahraga.

Bola sepak kerana menjadi ikutan ramai manakala olahraga adalah asas kepada semua jenis sukan. Malangnya kedua-duanya terperangkap dalam kemelut, kalau tidak dari segi prestasi, kemelut kepemimpinan.

Aku menegaskan KOAM tidak menangani tuduhan mencabul pegawai seranta di Taiwan tahun lalu dengan telus. Kini pegawai yang dituduh dilantik menganggotai jawatankuasa kejurulatihan dan pembangunan KOAM yang dipengerusikan oleh bekas kakitangan Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM), Karim Ibrahim. Pegawai itu akan secara terus mempunyai pengaruh terhadap program latihan KOAM.

Roslinda Samsu mengugut akan bersara jika keadaan ini dibiarkan berterusan. Berani kerana benar. Aku salute orang macam Roslinda. Dia bukan saja beraksi dalam satu acara teknikal yang memerlukan keberanian, malah anak jati Kedah ini berani bersuara pada saat orang lain diam menikus! Malang sekali kebajikan atlit seperti Roslinda yang mengharum nama negara di peringkat Asia, Komanwel dan Olimpik diabaikan. Kepada presiden KOAM, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, undurlah diri dan biarkan Karim Ibrahim menjadi presiden!

Sila baca di sini dan klik di sini.

Let's open our doors

Loose cannon with Mr Mohajerani

Why don't we open our doors to foreigners, grant them citizenship and ask them to don our yellow and black strip? Let's treat this as a short-term measure while we seek to provide remedial measures to our footballing woes. I discussed this issue with former Iran coach, Heshmat Mohajerani, at the Media Centre at the Doha Asian Games in 2006. Read here and
here for his profile.

I proposed this to Sultan Ahmad Shah in 2007 during the Press conference following his son Tengku Abdullah's resignation from FA of Malaysia but His Royal Highness shot it down. YB Khairy Jamaluddin too is not interested. Read this forum here and another forum here.

My idea is for the national team to rediscover the winning feeling, even at Asean level. Mind you, we last won the SEA Games gold medal almost 20 years ago. We failed to climb the podium in the next five editions until the Under-23 age limit was imposed in 2001. Since then we bagged the silver in 2001, bronze in 2003, bronze again in 2005 but returned empty-handed from Korat in 2007.

We finished runners-up in the inaugural Tiger Cup in 1996 but failed dismally in 1998, finished third in 2000, fourth in 2002, third in 2004, third in 2006 but failed to advance beyond the group stage in 2008/09. Our kiasu neighbours meanwhile have tasted that winning feeling, with the help of Mat Sallehs and Africans, of course, on two occasions! Only when the feel good factor envelopes the country, then we can cajole our fans to fill the stadium!
The team will definitely pose a bigger attacking threat if we have someone in the calibre of Christian Bekamenga to partner Safee Sali, no disrespect to the others. Bekamenga was eligible in 2006 because he was uncapped and had strong attachment to Negeri Sembilan and Malaysia that he named his daughter after our pretty songbird, Siti Nurhaliza. He later left for Indonesia and was picked for the Cameroon Olympic team before joining French club FC Nantes in 2008.

Cintahokitoo keeps MHF on their toes

Do drop by at this blog. The blogger aims to keep the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) on their toes.

Throwing their weight around

KL 1998 gold medallist, Hidayat Hamidon

Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob had to intervene as six national weightlifters led by 2002 Commonwealth Games triple gold medallist Amirul Hamizan Ibrahim and KL'98 gold medallist Hidayat Hamidon were given a "moral lift" with the removal of Stefan Stefanov as the head coach. Read here

Ismail is certainly not the first Minister to intervene in a direct dispute between athlete and the national body.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein was required to act when 14 bowlers rebelled against the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) in 2000 and demanded Sid Allen be removed as the national coach. It ended with the keglers apologising to the national body. But I don't wish to dwell on it, lest that I be sued for it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sultan under siege

Hard-hitting opinion pieces seldom find space in the sports pages of the Star but yesterday they sent a clear message to the FA of Malaysia (FAM) president, Sultan Ahmad Shah. Read here. Some State FAs are clearly not happy with the FAM secretariat, judging from Kosmo's report here

Friday, January 23, 2009

The best football website in the country?

I think I'm not exaggerating if I consider FA of Selangor's official website here as the best in the country, even better than that of FA of Malaysia's! With communication between departments in FAM sorely lacking, updating www.fam.org.my is certainly an insurmountable task! Before FAS came up with this website, the fans' point of reference was this website.

Get shirty!

Although some say our football is stuck in perpetual darkness, a number of Malaysians remain loyal to the game. Or perhaps they are merely clinging on to past glories or are they by nature eternal optimists? Some have the habit of collecting jerseys, local ones mind you, and their passion is shared by many. Astro's recently-married Hakim Amir is a case in point as he has a blog here while Faiz's collection is cool. Want to buy Perak jerseys online? Go here

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Malaysia 0 UAE 5, and Sathia is giving up

Sathianathan, Bathenay and FAM media officer, Zaid Jamaludin
A study of contrast

Coach B. Sathianathan sounded as if he was ready to throw in the towel shortly after his side were whitewashed 5-0 by a technically superior United Arab Emirates in the opening Group C tie of the 2011 Asian Cup qualifiers at the KL Stadium in Cheras.

"I will be meeting with my bosses at FAM and let them know my feelings and if they feel that I should resign, I will go. But not before I tell them the harsh reality of our game.

"Our M-League is just not good enough to help raise the standard and maintain our players' fitness level. From the fitness tests conducted, only three met expectations."

What is the solution to stop the rot?

"I don't know, I have been talking about the same thing for the past 10 years," said Sathianathan who came under fire after the recent AFF Suzuki Cup where Malaysia failed to advance to the semi-finals for the first time since 1998.

Read the report of the Malaysia-UAE clash here and here.

The margin did not reflect the true complexion of the match especially in the first 20 minutes, with the visitors struggling to impose their authority on the wet pitch. But Aussie ref Benjamin Williams turned partypooper when he adjudged Hardi Jaafar to have fouled nippy left flanker Ismael Salem in the 44th minute. Go here to study the incident yourself!
I don't wish to question the referee's credibility but I left the stadium feeling as if Williams and assistant referee Matt Cream, despite having been candidates for the AFC Awards in their respective categories in 2007, were from the Aussie outback with no experience in football whatsoever but I'm being biased here, I guess.

I did ask Kedah left flanker Khyril Muhymeen Zambri what actually took place and he revealed according to Hardi during half-time, it was Ismael who knocked into him.
But that's football.
UAE boss Dominique Bathenay was happy to open their campaign to qualify for Qatar 2011 with a hefty win.

"It's always good to start with a win and I was happy to see Ismail Matar ending his goal drought with two well-taken goals," said the former France midfielder. So confident he was that Bathenay said he was looking forward to a win against Uzbekistan in their next match in February.

I asked him "were you happy with the standard of refereeing?" "Since we won I don't have any complains."

Williams' dubious decisions angered the 6,000-odd Malaysian fans. To vent their frustration, they threw bottles onto the pitch before half-time. Williams who plays guitar as a hobby, had to wait until he was sure of a safe passage back to the dressing room during the interval.

My sentiments exactly, oh and that's Williams on the right

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Malaysia v UAE

Indra (left) snapping on Wright-Philips' heels - zuma press

Ismail Matar

Hardi (left) chasing Essien - sportsmalaysia.net

Ahmad Khalil - AFP

Something that will be missing in tonight's Asian Cup qualifiers between Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates is the atmosphere one usually gets if a match is held in an Arab nation.
Since Malaysians in Klang Valley have little faith in the domestic game and its purveyors, I doubt it if there would be loudhailers and atmospheric pipe music to generate an incredible atmosphere. In short, Malaysia will be short of fan power and vocal support.
Anyhow, Malaysia's key players: Norhafiz Zamani Misbah, Khyril Muhymeen Zambri, Hardi Jaafar, Indra Putra Mahayuddin

UAE's key players: Ismail Matar, the MVP of the FIFA World Under-20 Youth Championship in 2003 and Ahmad Khalil, Asian Young Player of the Year for 2008.

UAE's prospects: Coach Dominique Bathenay who once played alongside Michel Platini at St Etienne is keen to open their campaign with a win after a disappointing result in the recent Gulf Cup. He has not studied footage of the Malaysian team, meaning he is underestimating Malaysia's strengths. Malaysia must attack the heart of their defence through speed and precision.
Malaysia's prospects: Keeper Syamsuri Mustaffa will be back manning the posts, while Kl Plus' Norhafiz Zamani Misbah leading the rearguard. Hardi Jaafar's left peg and Indra Putra Mahayuddin's attacking instincts are crucial to B. Sathianathan's plans.
Prediction: A draw

Monday, January 19, 2009

FAM's loss, FAM's gain

The beautiful island of Maldives is now home to former FIFA refereee Amir Sharifuddin Wong (picture). He touched down last December as the director of referees of the FA of Maldives, also known by its acronym FAM. He has a blog here. Perhaps he might want to consider helping out FA of Malaysia once his stint there is over, since the referee's department has come under great criticism of late!

Cadangan jurulatih merangkap blogger

Cadangan jurulatih yang memiliki blog ini pernah diemel kepada Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM) pada 2007. Barangkali tidak mendapat reaksi positif sekretariat di Wisma FAM.

CADANGAN KE ARAH PENAMBAHBAIKAN BOLASEPAK NEGARA
(ASPEK PENTADBIRAN & TEKNIKAL ERA PROFESSIONAL)


Bolasepak Malaysia telah mengalami zaman kemuraman sejak 20 tahun yang lalu. Perkara ini mungkin tidak dipersetujui atau disangkal oleh mereka yang terlibat secara langsung dalam era peralihan ini, namun hakikatnya adalah benar. Pelbagai pendekatan diambil dan dilaksanakan namun semua seperti tidak kena. Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku Sultan Pahang yang juga Presiden FAM bersama Timbalan Presiden FAM Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Tengku Mahkota Pahang (ketika itu) telah cuba menjelmakan sesuatu yang baru dalam bolasepak Malaysia dan seharusnya dengan pendekatan yang sesuai dan sempura ditambah dengan pelaksana yang baik, segala perancangan yang diatur seharusnya menjelmakan keputusan yang baik. Sebaliknya, amat malang sekali apabila sebahagian besar yang menduduki kerusi penentu dasar terdiri daripada mereka yang hanya hadir sebagai memenuhi korum. Bertambah parah apabila kedua-dua DYMM Tuanku Presiden dan DYTM Tengku Timbalan Presiden tidak diberi pandangan dan nasihat yang tepat dalam pelbagai perlaksanaan dan pendekatan dalam mengangkat martabat bolasepak negara, baik dari segi polisi, pendekatan, keputusan dan perlaksanaan.

Rentetan dari pelbagai masalah dan kelemahan yang timbul, kemuncak ketidakpuasan peminat bolasepak tanahair tiba tatkala negara menjadi tuan rumah Kejohanan Bolasepak Piala Asia baru-baru ini ekoran persembahan hambar pasukan kebangsaan dalam pertandingan tersebut. Di seluruh pelosok ruang, FAM dikritik hebat sehingga suara-suara kepada penyingkiran keseluruhan kepimpinan FAM kedengaran di sana sini. Ianya jelas terpampang di dada-dada akhbar (media cetak & elektronik) yang mahukan mereka yang lebih arif dan jujur serta komited dalam mentadbir dan mengurus bolasepak negara, diberi tempat untuk melaksanakannya. Saya tidak terkecuali dalam menyuarakan pandangan dan kritikan demi kemajuan dan kebangkitan bolasepak negara.

Kini dengan peralihan kepimpinan bolasepak negara Generasi Keempat (pada tafsiran saya), adalah menjadi harapan seluruh rakyat Malaysia agar satu pendekatan yang lebih efektif dapat diambil dan dilaksanakan untuk mengembalikan semula kecemerlangan bolasepak negara. Seharusnya tugas ini menjadi tanggungjawab pelbagai pihak yang berkaitan namun FAM, selaku pembuat dasar bolasepak Kebangsaan tidak dapat lari dari menjadi peneraju utama dan umum mulai saat ini akan mula memerhatikan dan menilai setiap tindak tanduk yang diambil samada ianya dilakukan demi kepentingan bolasepak secara umumnya ataupun atas dasar kepentingan peribadi yang sering menjadi agenda utama mereka yang masuk menjejaki arena kepimpinan bolasepak negara. Wallahualam.


3. CADANGAN

Dengan pemilihan YBhg Datuk selaku pentadbir dan tenaga utama FAM dalam memastikan kelancaran setiap cadangan, polisi dan segala perkara yang berkaitan, maka sukalah saya dengan rendah hati memberi beberapa pandangan ikhlas selaku individu yang terlibat secara langsung dalam bolasepak negara sebagai Jurulatih, untuk membantu mencapai aspirasi peminat sukan negara (umumnya) dan pencinta bolasepak tanahair (khasnya) ke arah mengembalikan kegemilangan bolasepak negara, DALAM ERA PROFESIONAL & KOMERSIAL (bukan lagi AMATUR sepertimana SEBELUMNYA dan SEKARANG INI). Kepercayaan yang diberikan oleh DYMM Tuanku Presiden kepada YBhg Datuk dalam mentadbir FAM merupakan satu amanah yang besar dan berat dan lahir dari kepercayaan dan keyakinan Tuanku akan kebolehan dan kemampuan YBhg Datuk. Sebagai antara individu yang agak vokal dan lantang dalam mengkritik sistem bolasepak Malaysia, saya tidak mahu hanya digelar sebagai pengkritik atau tukang mencari kesalahan orang lain semata-mata, sebaliknya mampu melontarkan sedikit pandangan dan cadangan yang positif, demi peningkatan dan kebaikan bolasepak Malaysia umumnya, insyaAllah.

3.1 SEKRETARIAT FAM / PBN

Sepertimana yang YBhg Datuk sering tafsirkan peranan FAM selaku Sekretariat dalam melaksanakan segala polisi dan cadangan serta keputusan yang telah dibuat oleh Ahli Majlis FAM maka saya melihat bahawa beberapa perkara perlu dikemaskinikan dan dipertingkatkan.

3.1.1 FAM perlu miliki kewibawaan untuk membawa Persatuan Bolasepak Negeri (PBN) bekerjasama dan mematuhi serta menghormati setiap keputusan dan polisi yang telah diputuskan oleh FAM. Tanpa perlu dinafikan, sekarang ini PBN lebih berkuasa untuk mempengaruhi FAM dalam menentukan banyak hal dan keputusan. Ini jelas mendedahkan kelemahan Sekretariat FAM maka seharusnya perkara ini perlu diatasi SEGERA.

3.1.2 Dalam era bolasepak profesional, pendekatan dan aspek pentadbiran yang diamalkan oleh FAM dan PBN adalah agak ketinggalan. Bolasepak profesional seharusnya diurus dalam konsep perniagaan tetapi apa yang berlaku adalah sebaliknya. PBN masih lagi bersikap umpama peminta sedekah, mengharapkan simpati untuk mendapatkan sumbangan kewangan. FAM wajar memperkenalkan satu sistem pentadbiran yang lebih efektif dengan mengadakan sesi penerangan bagi menjelaskan betapa pentingnya ia ditadbir sebagai sebuah entiti perniagaan.

3.1.3 FAM/PBN perlu menubuhkan Unit Korporat/Pemasaran dan melantik individu profesional dalam bidang ini bagi memasarkan produk masing-masing serta mendapatkan penglibatan penaja dalam memenuhi kantung kewangan masing-masing. Bayangkan setakat ini, tidak satu pun PBN yang memiliki laman web sendiri untuk memasarkan produk mereka. Ini era profesional dan bukan lagi era amatur.

3.1.4 Setiap individu yang terpilih atau dilantik ke mana-mana jawatan dalam FAM sewajarnya melepaskan jawatan mereka di peringkat PBN. Ini bagi mengelakkan berlakunya konflik kepentingan antara PBN dan FAM. Ini membolehkan individu berkenaan dapat melaksanakan tugasnya dengan lebih adil dan bebas.

3.2 LIGA MALAYSIA

FAM gah dan bangga dengan pengenalan Liga M (Liga Super dan Liga Premier) tetapi hakikatnya ia tak ubah seperti sebuah liga tepi jalan yang dianjurkan oleh “Kelab Kampung”. Bayangkan sebuah liga peringkat kebangsaan, ditontoni hanya oleh ratusan penonton, bahkan lebih buruk dalam Liga Premier yang menampilkan kelab-kelab, stadium hampir kosong. Adakah ini taraf sebuah liga profesional yang kita banggakan? Amat malang apabila PBN yang mana Presidennya kerap memperkenalkan “POLISI DANGKAL”. Antara yang popular ialah :-

3.2.1 Tak perlu guna pemain import

3.2.2 Hanya guna anak tempatan

3.2.3 Bimbing pemain-pemain muda dan beri mereka “TEMPOH” untuk menimba pengalaman


Ini bukan perkara yang boleh dipandang mudah oleh FAM dan PBN. Ini soal pendekatan dan soal polisi. Ianya berkait rapat dengan soal kualiti dan mutu. Bayangkan jutaan ringgit dilaburkan untuk membayar gaji jurulatih dan pemain tetapi pulangannya tiada. Apakah ini kaedah pentadbiran dan pengurusan bolasepak profesional? Hanya ratusan ringgit yang diperolehi hasil dari bayaran masuk penonton. Bayangkan bagaimana PBN mampu melunaskan hutang sewa stadium, yuran pegawai-pegawai perlawanan. Apabila tiada pendapatan maka timbul masalah PBN untuk membayar gaji jurulatih dan pemain. Tidakkah kita tidak terasa malu? Penonton membayar tiket untuk menyaksikan keputusan dan kemenangan. Andai polisi popular (mendedahkan pemain untuk menimba pengalaman, adalah lebih baik kita kembali ke era amatur). Dalam hal ini, sekali lagi FAM perlu menyedarkan PBN betapa soal kualiti dan mutu tidak boleh dipandang ringan dan ianya perlu menjadi penekanan utama dalam membentuk sebuah pasukan yang mantap untuk menarik minat penonton serta yang paling dilupakan, ialah penaja. Bolasepak profesional amat mementingkan soal kewangan, soal perbelanjaan dan pendapatan. Jika ini dapat disedarkan, maka sudah tentu kualiti bolasepak negara kita akan turut meningkat.

3.3 PENGELOLAAN LIGA – KOMERSIAL / KEWANGAN

Di negara kita FAM mengendalikan 3(Tiga) pertandingan utama dalam Liga Profesional :-

3.3.1 Liga Super / Liga Premier

3.3.2 Piala FA

3.3.3 Piala Malaysia

Ketiga-tiga pertandingan ini ditaja oleh hanya 1(Satu) penaja sahaja. Dalam hal ini saya mencadangkan agar FAM memperkenalkan pelbagai Penaja bagi setiap pertandingan yang berbeza :-

3.3.4 Liga Super atas nama Penaja A

3.3.5 Liga Premier atas nama Penaja B

3.3.6 Piala FA atas nama Penaja C

3.3.7 Piala Malaysia atas nama Penaja D


Secara tidak langsung, kantung FAM juga akan bertambah dari pelbagai sumbangan Penaja. Saya amat yakin kaedah ini mampu dilaksanakan dengan kebijaksanaan FAM. Tambahan pula saya amat yakin dengan ketelusan yang boleh diperbaiki, banyak penaja tempatan/antarabangsa yang sanggup tampil menaja Liga Malaysia. Wallahualam.

3.4 FORMAT PERTANDINGAN

Di negara bolasepak yang maju dan berjaya, liga bolasepak profesional merupakan pentas yang amat penting dalam menentukan tahap kejayaan bolasepak negara mereka. Liga profesional merupakan pentas pemilihan pemain-pemain terbaik dalam usaha membentuk sebuah pasukan kebangsaan yang mantap. Saya penuh yakin FAM tidak terkecuali dalam mengimpikan perkara yang sama.. Tetapi perlaksanaannya tidak seiring dengan perlaksanaan dan pencapaian negara-negara lain yang telah berjaya. FAM memilih untuk melakukan sesuatu yang unik yang kononnya merupakan tradisi bolasepak negara kita tetapi tidak membantu mencapai apa yang diimpikan. Mana mungkin kita dapat melahirkan pemain kebangsaan yang berkualiti dan berdaya saing jika Liga Profesional kita sendiri tidak menepati apa yang hendak kita capai?

“Liga profesional di negara lain tamat dengan kemuncaknya ialah satu Pertandingan Akhir (jika di Malaysia, ianya ialah Piala Malaysia), setelah liga profesional masing-masing sampai ke penghujung. Maknanya semua kelab/pasukan yang bersaing akan tamat serentak pada penghujung musim. Tetapi ianya tidak berlaku di Malaysia. Hanya separuh daripada 24-28 kelab/pasukan akan menamatkan saingan masing-masing di separuh musim liga, manakala selebihnya meneruskan musim liga masing-masing sehingga ke penghujungnya”.

Cuba bayangkan bagaimana kelab/pasukan yang telah terhenti saingan mereka di pertengahan musim, mengharungi sisa musim tersebut tanpa sebarang pendapatan untuk membayar gaji jurulatih dan pemain mereka sedangkan ikatan kontrak mereka berakhir di hujung musim. Tanpa sumber pendapatan bagaimana mungkin mereka menunaikan tanggungjawab mereka sebagai majikan yang baik? Tidak pernahkan FAM terfikir akan perkara ini? Dulu FAM memberi bantuan kewangan kepada PBN untuk mentadbirurus kewangan pasukan masing-masing, tetapi sekarang tidak lagi. FAM sendiri sudah tidak mampu membiayai perbelanjaan kewangan kakitangan dan jurulatih sendiri.



Saya yakin, kini tiba masanya satu perubahan demi kebaikan dan peningkatan bolasepak negara, YBhg Datuk usulkan kepada Jawatankuasa Pertandingan untuk dipertimbangkan dan dilaksanakan. Di pihak saya, berikut adalah cadangan kerdil yang mungkin mampu menyuntik sedikit ilham agar dapat merancang dan melaksanakannya dengan lebih baik dan efektif, insyaAllah.

3.4.1 Liga Utama

Liga Utama hanya disertai oleh PBN. Ini bagi membolehkan para penyokong hanya menumpukan sokongan mereka kepada pasukan negeri sahaja. Sekarang ini, sebuah negeri diwakili oleh 2-3 kelab yang secara tidak langsung telah memecah-belahkan kumpulan penyokong mereka. Lojiknya, stadium dipenuhi dan pendapatan PBN akan bertambah.

3.4.2 Liga Pelapis

Dengan PBN menghadapi masalah kewangan untuk mentadbirurus dan menyediakan sebuah pasukan pelapis, sewajarnya PBN melantik sebuah kelab gabungan yang mempunyai kemampuan kewangan yang baik untuk menguruskan sebuah pasukan pelapis dan diselia oleh PBN. Ini secara tidak langsung meringankan beban PBN untuk menanggung kos pengurusan. Liga antara IPT juga boleh diiktiraf sebagai sebuah lagi Liga Pelapis bagi mengisi ruang membekal barisan pemain pelapis yang berkualiti.

3.4.3 Liga Remaja (U18, U16, U14, U12)

Pembentukan dan pengendalian pasukan remaja diserahkan kepada sekolah-sekolah terpilih. Ini secara tidak langsung memberi ruang pemilihan yang lebih luas dan positif. Sepertimana pasukan Liga Pelapis, ianya juga perlu diselia oleh PBN untuk memastikan kualiti dan pendekatan seiring dengan polisi yang telah ditetapkan oleh FAM.

Dengan ini, pertandingan Liga Premier dan Piala FAM (yang dilaksanakan sekarang dicadangkan supaya dimansuhkan. FAM sewajarnya menitikberatkan soal KUALITI daripada KUANTITI). Format pertandingan yang sedia ada tidak menyumbang kepada sebarang kebaikan dan peningkatan mutu bolasepak negara sebaliknya hanya mengundang pelbagai masalah yang tidak sepatutnya berlaku dalam era bolasepak profesional ini.
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3.4.4 Piala FA

Format Piala FA boleh dikekalkan sepertimana sekarang dan dibuka kepada semua pasukan yang terlibat di dalam Liga Utama.

3.4.5 Piala Malaysia

Pertandingan Piala Malaysia yang dianggap sebagai acara tradisi selepas pengenalan bolasepak era profesional, boleh diteruskan. Saya mengesyorkan supaya ianya dikendalikan selepas tamat Liga Utama dan penyertaannya dibuka kepada semua pasukan dengan format sedia ada yang membahagikan pasukan-pasukan kepada beberapa kumpulan tertentu.

Dengan format ini, setidak-tidaknya ia memberi lebih keadilan kepada pasukan-pasukan yang bertanding mengakhiri musim bolasepak serentak dan tidak ujud diskriminasi antara pasukan-pasukan yang terlibat. Pemain-pemain juga mampu mempamerkan konsistensi permainan mereka dan secara tidak langsung tidak menunjukkan jurang prestasi antara kelompok pemain-pemain tertentu (elit).

3.4.6 Piala AFC

Setakat ini, pemilihan pasukan-pasukan untuk mewakili negara ke pertandingan-pertandingan anjuran Konfederasi Bolasepak Asia (AFC) dibuat atas pencapaian mereka dalam pertandingan Piala FA dan Piala Malaysia. Ini sekaligus tidak mengiktiraf pencapaian dan konsistensi pasukan yang menjuarai Liga. Ini seharusnya diubah kerana sesebuah pasukan terbaik diiktiraf melalui pencapaian mereka melalui proses ketahanan, konsistensi dalam mengharungi Liga dan kaedah ini digunapakai di seluruh negara yang menganjurkan Liga Profesional, sebaliknya FAM memilih kaedah yang unik dan pasukan yang mengungguli Liga diketepikan daripada beraksi di peringkat yang lebih tinggi di peringkat benua. Dalam hal ini, saya suka mencadangkan agar pasukan yang menjuarai Liga dan Piala Malaysia dipilih untuk mewakili negara dalam pertandingan anjuran AFC di masa yang terdekat.


Demikian antara beberapa perkara yang mampu saya sumbangkan untuk renungan dan pertimbangan YBhg Datuk dan FAM dalam usaha kita meningkatkan mutu bolasepak negara. Tiada niat di hati saya untuk menonjolkan kebijaksanaan atau kehebatan saya seolah-olah saya sahaja yang lebih memahami akan apa yang diperlukan oleh bolasepak negara, sebaliknya lebih menjurus kepada berkongsi pandangan dan ilham hasil pengalaman dan penglibatan saya dalam arena bolasepak untuk membantu membangunkan bolasepak negara daripada terus diperlekehkan dan dikecam. Sebagai insan kerdil yang mencintai sukan bolasepak dan mengimpikan martabat bolasepak negara pulih dan dihormat, inilah satu-satunya cara yang mampu saya sumbangkan.

Ampun dan maaf jika saya terguna bahasa yang kurang wajar dan sesungguhnya semua itu tidak saya sengajakan. Wallahulam.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Contohi daya juang mereka


Moustapha Abdel Ghaly (kiri) bersama Loose Cannon


Artikel berikut adalah nukilan Loose Cannon yang disiarkan dalam kolum Garis Tepi akhbar Kosmo! hari ini. Boleh juga klik di sini

Ambil iktibar pengorbanan pemain Palestin

TANGGAL 11 Mac 2001 tidak banyak membawa makna kepada kebanyakan kita.

Namun masih segar dalam ingatan penulis bagaimana pasukan bola sepak kebangsaan bimbingan bekas pengurus Espanyol, Allan Harris diselubungi campuran rasa bersalah, gelisah dan sedih akibat satu kekalahan yang sukar ditelan.

Kekalahan bukan satu fenomena baru buat pasukan kita. Yang memeranjatkan wartawan membuat liputan Kejohanan Pra-Piala Dunia di Hong Kong ketika itu ialah kemenangan 1-0 berpihak kepada Palestin.

Aneh bukan, bagaimana barisan yang dibentuk di kalangan pemain dalam liga bergelar profesional tersungkur di tangan pasukan yang tidak pernah beraksi di tanah air mereka sendiri.

Bagi berlaku adil, penulis mengakui Malaysia menguasai permainan di Stadium Hong Kong itu.

Bobby Pian pula mencipta sejarah tersendiri, menjadi anak Sarawak dan kaum Kelabit pertama dianugerah lilitan kapten di lengan.

Namun apabila Bobby tewas dalam pergelutan dengan Mohammed Aljeesh yang kemudian melambungkan bola dari jarak 25 meter yang singgah di palang sebelum menggegar jaring Mazlan Wahid, ia membawa pelbagai tafsiran.

Ia adalah kemenangan sulung buat pasukan Palestin dalam Pra-Piala Dunia, apatah lagi misi sulung mereka dalam pertandingan anjuran FIFA sejak diiktiraf pada 1998.
Wajah Harris merah padam cuba merungkai di mana silapnya, apatah lagi beberapa hari terdahulu dua jaringan Akmal Rizal Ahmad Rakhli menundukkan Hong Kong di gelanggang mereka sendiri.
Jurulatih Palestin, Moustapha Abdel Ghaly menyimpulkannya sebagai kesudahan daripada semangat dan daya juang anak didiknya yang luar biasa.

Penulis sempat berbual di kamar hotelnya membincangkan bagaimana beliau membina pasukan di sebalik konflik yang tiada noktahnya.

"Seorang daripada pemain tengah kami Tareq Al-Quto terbunuh dalam satu pertempuran ketika Intifada kedua pada 2000," kata Moustapha yang berasal dari Mesir.

"Tidak mudah mengumpul pemain yang terpaksa beraksi sambil menyedari bahawa ada di kalangan keluarga mereka yang terpaksa bermalam di khemah pelarian dan ada pula yang terbunuh."

Kapten Palestin, Saeb Jendeya, pemain pertahanan bertubuh tegap dan bermisai tebal umpama Tom Selleck, mengenang saat semua kegiatan bola sepak terhenti ketika Intifada yang pertama pada 1987.

"Saya berhenti belajar pada berusia 12 tahun dan sebaliknya menyertai rakan-rakan membaling batu ke arah tentera Zionis. Takkan saya hendak duduk diam ketika penduduk lain dibunuh."

Berbanding pemain tempatan yang rata-rata harus bersyukur mendapat punca rezeki daripada industri bola sepak tempatan, pemain Palestin menjadikan bola sepak sebagai satu bentuk escapism dan 'political statement'.

Lapan tahun berlalu dan nampaknya nasib pasukan Palestin terumbang-ambing.

Pemain negara khasnya dan atlet tempatan amnya harus mengambil iktibar daripada perjuangan atlet Palestin dan bagaimana mereka masih sanggup memberi komitmen 100 peratus biarpun dijajah, dihalau dan diseksa di halaman sendiri.

Kesusahan ini menjadikan mereka berdepan realiti berbeza lantas membuatkan mereka lebih bersemangat dan kuat dari segi mental.

Bercakap mengenai semangat, penulis mengucapkan tahniah kepada RTM kerana menyiarkan segmen Nostalgia dalam rancangan Sekilas Liga Malaysia.

Penulis berharap generasi masa kini, sama ada pemain, jurulatih dan penyokong tempatan meninjau bagaimana antara lain Soh Chin Aun membuat bentesan kemas bagi menafikan bintang Brazil, Tostao di samping tindakan-tindakan penyudah bintang-bintang terdahulu.
Alangkah lebih baik jika RTM berusaha menayang semula gol-gol dari era 2000 hingga 2008 sebagai usaha menaikkan semangat pemain dan penyokong menjelang pertemuan dengan Emiriyah Arab Bersatu dalam pra-Piala Asia Rabu ini.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Two years on and the Red Devils are coming

The Manchester United juggernaut will travel to Kuala Lumpur on July 26. Personally I feel the club's tour of Asia, namely China, South Korea, Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur, is little more than a globe-trotting postscript to their season.

For the Old Trafford moneymen who helped make the club the richest and most recognised brand in the world, however, the tour is a vital cog in a global business plan aimed at cashing in on their vast international fan base.

We need little reminding that the game between United and a Malaysian selection was supposed to be held on July 27, 2007, a date that clashed with the latter stages of the Asian Cup, AFC's showpiece event. I pointed out United could come the following year, the year after that and even make annual excursions to Kuala Lumpur until we celebrate the nation's centenary in 2057.

As a school-going fan, I was enthralled by Mickey Thomas, Lou Macari and Martin Buchan, to name a few, at the Merdeka Stadium sometime in the early 1980s. In 1995 I remember the Red Devils' trip to the New Straits Times Press headquarters ahead of their two matches against a Selangor Selection at Shah Alam Stadium. They came without Eric Cantona and Alex Ferguson then.

Like my fellow Malaysians, I enjoyed the distinction of being the first to watch Ruud van Nistelrooy and Juan Sebastian Veron in the famous red jersey apart from bearing witness to Akmal Rizal Rakhli's audacious 35-metre effort which rocked Fabien Barthez's crossbar at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil in 2001.

The national Under-23 team, strengthened by a few seniors, were whitewashed 6-0. So, did the defeat transform our fortunes overnight? Except that it gave the Malaysian players a chance to swap jerseys with the millionaires from Manchester.

Anyway I hope to be at the stadium come July 26. Read here

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Aiming a loose cannon on TV1

The loose cannon was let loose on TV1 on Tuesday for almost an hour, sharing the stage with Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) deputy president, Datuk Naim Mohamad. The topic was, as you can see, Cabaran Sukan 2009. Hafizal Hamad was the compere.

I suggested a grim outlook for the year, with a number of associations still embroiled in internal bickering, notably the notorious Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU). Thankfully the Minister revealed the Malaysian Taekwondo Association saga which was triggered by its de-registration in 2005 is coming to an end, while I suggested Datuk Lee Chong Wei must start winning the major titles. It is the only way for him to justify the world No 1 tag.

Ismail said 2008 was a great year, with lawn bowl's Safuan Said recognised as the world No 1, Nicol David winning 10 titles and Chong Wei scooping the silver medal in the Beijing Olympics. However from the layman's point of view, we cannot run away from the fact a country's sporting prowess is judged mainly by its performance in sports that enjoy mass appeal. A medal in squash or bowling does not create the same lasting impact as athletics or football, for example.

How would you feel if a Malaysian finished eighth in the men's100m final of the Olympic Games? Can you equate that with us winning a medal in some other sports, archery maybe? If football were to earn the right to compete at the Olympics, let alone win a medal, I am certain the whole country would be enveloped by the feel good factor. A sprinter winning the 100m gold even at SEA Games would be a cause for celebration. Its impact would be greated as opposed to a martial art exponent climbing the highest podium.

Preparation for the London 2012 Olympics must start immediately as I pointed out countries like Great Britain have already identified a dedicated support group (sports scientists) for each athlete.

Badminton, cycling and archery appear to be the thrust for the National Sports Council but hockey needs to be given a hand as well as it has failed to qualify for Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

The pool of talent, I suggested, was too small for comfort. Naim pointed out it takes quite a while to produce champions but I said someone must be held accountable for every single sen spent.

I suggested NSC to monitor its funds being channelled to the associations. I contended that a big stumbling block is that the stakeholders do not share the same page or move on the same wavelength!

One mental barrier that needs to be overcome is our excitement in competing at the SEA Games when we should be raising the bar and start focusing on the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games.

There were many issues left untouched, such as the effectiveness of the Cabinet Committee on Sports Development chaired by Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak or the Sports Development Act. Next time, maybe!

BAM oh BAM

Felicitations to Datuk Lee Chong Wei on his recent win in the Malaysian Open Super Series which will surely serve to boost his morale as he bids for the major ones like the World Championship and All-England titles. Off the court, it seems there is an attempt to unseat Datuk Nadzmi Salleh as president of the BA of Malaysia judging from Berita Harian's column here.

Deputy president Datuk Roland Wong is expected to vacate his seat in the July elections and I see former BAM secretary Datuk Ir Mohamed Al-Amin Abdul Majid, a vice-president by virtue of his Perak BA presidency, making a comeback into the limelight.

However Al-Amin (picture, courtesy of ancom.listedcompany.com) has denied it in his SMS to me.
"Nope...am happy as it is," the former politician responded to my question that he could be interested in going for the top post. Well I guess he is fully occupied with his duties as chairman of Small and Medium Industries Development Corporation (SMIDEC) , Country View Berhad, Gabongan Pemborong Bumiputera Perak Berhad, Nylex Malaysia and Chemical Industries Council of Malaysia (CICM) as well as a director of MCIS Zurich and Ancom Berhad.

Al-Amin, an Aston Villa fan since his student days at Birmingham, served as BAM secretary at the height of the intense bickering between the national body and Nusa Mahsuri. Though we used to disagree on many issues, Al-Amin and I could sit down and have breakfast together like we did in Hong Kong during the Thomas Cup in 1998.

But covering badminton and trying to be objective those days used to give me severe headaches. I remember vividly being put on the firing line by the then BAM president Datuk Dr Abdullah Fadzil Che Wan, Al-Amin and Toh Puan Aishah Ong as they threatened to sue me just because of one word back in 1998.

The following article was carried by the Malay Mail in July 1998.

ROSLIN HASHIM is expected to be included in the Commonwealth Games squad in a compromise move by the BA of Malaysia but their internecine feud with Nusa Mahsuri has to be stopped.

BAM-Nusa bickering, triggered by the professional outfit's pullout from BAM training for Thomas Cup `96, needs a long-term solution to avoid a recurrence.

Nusa, often the trouble-makers, must learn to open their mouths only when necessary and stop making the Minister the trouble shooter.

While BAM, often the recalcitrant parent body, should, among others, be open towards ideas and not treat Nusa as their direct rivals. Rather they should encourage the growth of more clubs. Nusa and BAM, if they were really sincere in developing the game, have a lot of thinking to do. First they have to get rid of malicious and sinister plots to undermine each other. Chuck aside personal interests and vendettas.

Instead of hidden agendas, the two bodies can work hand-in-hand with a little bit of common sense. There are several points for Nusa to consider:

* Human beings are governed by rules. Nusa must register themselves as an affiliate to any State BA. BAM were right in questioning the need to deal with Nusa when they are merely a club not affiliated to any State BA. BAM are a confederation of State BAs and clubs like Nusa should technically be affiliated to a State BA. According to the BAM constitution the State
BA can take in associate members and Nusa could be part of a State BA rather than just being affiliated to them.


* Time and again Nusa have failed to go through the proper channels in voicing out their dissatisfaction towards BAM. From now onwards they mustn't shoot off their mouths unnecessarily.

* Nusa must let their rackets do the talking. Once their players produce the desired results on the international stage, they can attract sponsors, then they can really stand on their own. At the moment they do not have any bargaining power. Their best-known flagbearer Rashid Sidek is drawing his pension while Roslin and Ismail Saman are still seeking their first title. They must prove their worth by bagging as many titles as possible.

* One way of maintaining their sponsors is by keeping a good and healthy image. So Nusa cannot afford to have bad publicity surrounding them. If they need to criticise the parent body, do it in a civilised manner. They must earn the respect.

* Nusa must not act as if they are trying to run the game in Malaysia. Humility is a treasured commodity. Concentrate on churning out more players.

* BAM, in the meantime, should consider the following suggestions:

* BAM should strengthen their administration. They should keep up with the times. Badminton has moved far from its roots. Professionalism is still at its infancy but the sport is moving towards a full professional set-up. BAM can kick-start a new era by amending their constitution to enable Nusa to become an associate member. As it is, the associate members are limited to agencies such as PDRM, MSSM, Masum and Armed Forces.

* Share the burden of producing shuttlers with clubs. Encourage the setting up of more clubs and work together for the benefit of the game. Indonesia, for instance, take pride in unearthing talents from Djarum Kudus, Bimantara Tangkas or Pelita Bakrie. Perhaps BAM can study their concept, adopt and adjust accordingly to suit the local scenario. Indonesia develop the game via regional circuits divided into several zones. For example, Java alone are divided into Jakarta, East Java, Central Java and West Java. All meets are open to all youth categories (21-19, Under-19, 18-16, 15-13). And they have established 34 Pusdiklat (badminton training and education centre) nationwide. What happened to the Academy? Remember the 1,001 courts project? The intention was good but is the machinery really working?

* BAM President Datuk Dr Abdullah Fadzil Che Wan has the tendency to jump the gun. He must be more open minded and make decisions without malice. Dr Fadzil must take the trouble to learn more about the day-to-day running of BAM instead of being too dependant on its officials. If he doesn't have the time, perhaps Dr Fadzil can consider making way for someone else who has the time to lead the association into the next millennium.

* BAM must stop coming up with directives according to their whims and fancies. A clear set of rules pertaining to training is needed. Any act of indiscipline by the players can be dealt with fairly.

* If BAM treat Nusa players as individuals with regards to their registration, they have to call up shuttlers under their own banner through their respective BAs too. For instance BAM will have to go through Penang BA to enlist Ong Ewe Hock.

But for the game to develop and for BAM to move ahead with the times, all parties, from the top echelon right down to the players, have to be sincere.

Otherwise today's scheduled durian party at BAM, right after the exco meeting and press conference, merely symbolises the thorny issues they have to overcome in future.

Then perhaps Nusa can consider changing their name, for a start.

The next day the Malay Mail carried this footnote to a story on Rashid

* FOOTNOTE: BA of Malaysia (BAM) have pointed out that the word malice, used in our comment yesterday about their president Datuk Dr Abdullah Fadzil Che Wan, was too harsh. We agree that the word may have been somewhat inappropriate and are sorry if it had caused any distress. There certainly was no malice intended.

I thought at that time Fadzil and Al-Amin, being politicians as they were then, were flexing their muscles!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Syamsuri is recalled

Malaysia's most popular player in 2008 has been replaced by the most popular player in 2006 for the 2011 Asian Cup qualifiers against United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the KL Stadium in Cheras on Jan 21.

T-Team keeper Syamsuri Mustaffa who last played for the country in early 2007, has been recalled in place of Helmi Eliza Elias of Kedah. It is likely that Syamsuri be given the task to man the posts ahead of MyTeam's Syed Adney Syed Hussein and Perlis' Farizal Marlias.

While Helmi will be remembered not for his heroics but his fumble which led to Vietnam's winning goal in the recent AFF Suzuki Cup, Syamsuri created a history of sorts with a long-range goal from his area in the Hanoi SEA Games almost six years ago. His goal (against Vietnam of all teams), earned him the Play of the Day in CNN's sports segment.
Coach B. Sathianathan has also recalled Terengganu-born duo Mazuki Yusof and Rosdi Talib in the 27-man squad.

UAE is coached by former France midfielder, Dominique Bathenay, an old team mate of Michel Platini.
Bathenay is at present in Oman for the Gulf Cup where UAE, winners in 2007, had just been knocked out from the competition. Oman is presently coached by former Malaysia tactician, Claude Le Roy.

In support of Gaza

Note who's behind Portsmouth, here and read what former Malaysia football coach Claude Le Roy has to say here, and browse through under the sub-head Arab leaders, here.

Respected football writer Gabriele Marcotti provides an insight on football's code of conduct here which is surely supported by Barca boss Guardiola here

The Middle East area is in turmoil because of Israel, and despite initiatives such as this here I doubt it will create the desired effect.

Blogging from FAM

National football Under-18 coach, Ong Kim Swee, has initiated a new era for FA of Malaysia.

The former international defender has created a blog for footy fans to keep tabs on his team. See here. Kudos to Ong and FAM IT officer, Wan Nizar Taib. Both are currently in Doha for a friendly tournament. I would give them and the blog a big A for effort and presentation!

But administratively, Rodzali Yacob, beat them to it. He runs the referee's blog here. For those who have nothing but obscenities for the men in black (or a variety of colours these days), feel free to visit his blog to have a better understanding of the game. I would suggest these blogs to be linked with the official FAM website.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Kenanganku bersama Ronaljo

Maaf, gambar di Doha pada 2001 tak terang

Sistem pesanan ringkasku daripada http://www.utusanlfc.blogspot.com/ pada jam 9.27 pagi berbunyi: "Bro, Johari Shawal meninggal 8am tadi sakit paru2. Jenazah di hospital Muar". Sudah tentu aku terkejut. Cepat-cepat aku "forward"kan sms itu kepada rakan-rakan lain, khususnya pegawai-pegawai sukan yang aku fikir mengenali arwah.
Sila layari blog rakan arwah di sini and a touching tribute from New Straits Times' Arnaz M Khairul here

Kenanganku dengan arwah Jo pelbagai. Namun yang paling kuingati ialah ketika menumpang kamarnya di Doha, Qatar pada Mac 2001. Apabila pasukan negara tewas mengejut 1-0 kepada Palestin di Hong Kong pada pusingan pertama di Hong Kong, aku sudah berkira-kira orang besar NSTP tidak akan meluluskan pemergian wakil empat akhbar yang bernaung di bawahnya.
Jadi aku mencongak untuk pergi dengan belanja sendiri.
Ia bukan kali pertama aku berbuat demikian. Aku pergi sendiri ke Boustead Travels untuk membuat tempahan tiket ke Jepun pada 1999 untuk menyaksikan Shinji Ono, Junichi Inamoto dan Yuji Nakazawa bermain di Stadium Tokyo pada pra-Olimpik, tempat di mana Akmal Rizal Ahmad Rakhli menyemai benih kasih bersama gadis yang kini bergelar isterinya.
Untuk misi ke Doha, aku dimaklumkan bahawa Utusan Malaysia menghantar Jo. Dialah satu-satunya wakil media Malaysia yang dihantar membuat liputan pusingan kedua untuk kumpulan yang merangkumi Qatar, Hong Kong, Malaysia dan Palestin. Aku membuat urusan agar penerbanganku sama dengan Jo dan secara kebetulan sama pula dengan setiausaha agung Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM), Datuk Dell Akbar Khan.
Kami mendarat di Doha, tak silap aku, dah tengah malam, jadi hendak cari hotel pun susah. Dell mencadangkan agar kami menumpang bilik pegawai FAM. Jadi sambil aku menggalas beg, Jo menarik "luggage"nya lalu kami mengetuk pintu kamar Saifuddin Abu Bakar, pegawai pentadbir pasukan. Mahu tak mahu, Saifuddin terpaksa menerima kehadiran kami yang sudah menunjuk muka menagih simpati.
Sambil membuat bilik Saifuddin macam biliknya sendiri, Jo yang suka membuat lawak dengan wajah selamba mencadangkan kami berdua bermalam saja di kolam renang kalau tidak ada yang sudi menumpangkan dua musafir ini.
"Memang saya tidak boleh lupakan malam itu," kata Saifuddin, yang kini menjawat tugas penolong setiausaha agung FAM.
"Saya masih teringat bagaimana Jo menyorong begnya yang besar lebih kurang macam orangnya. Saya terkejut dengan pemergiannya. Salam takziah kepada keluarganya."
Keesokannya, aku membontonti Jo dalam mencari penginapan. Selesai urusan di kaunter dengan seorang kakitangan hotel yang berbangsa Nepal, kami pun mencari bilik kecil yang menjadi tempat kami melepas lelah dan melelapkan mata sepanjang minggu berkenaan.
Disebabkan hanya kami berdua selaku wakil media, Jo dan aku tidak membawa haluan masing-masing. Akupun buat cara menumpang, dan tidak "scoop" Jo, sebaliknya berkongsi maklumat.
Selain mengalas perut dengan puree dan makanan ala Arab dan Pakistan, Jo dan aku mengambil kesempatan bersiar-siar di bandaraya Doha pada waktu malam.
Kami dibawa ke Doha Corniche di mana pelawat boleh menaiki bot dan tentunya tidak aku lupakan pengalaman bermain sand dunes atau gumuk pasir, kira-kira satu jam dari Doha. Gambar-gambar dalam albumku dirakam oleh jari-jemari Jo.
Di negara-negara Arab seperti Qatar, kemudahan pengangkutan tidak secanggih Kuala Lumpur. Kalau hendak pergi ke stadium pada waktu malam, pastikan anda sewa teksi untuk pulang. Kalau tidak, sama ada menumpang bas pasukan atau sekali lagi buat muka kesian dan tagih lah simpati dengan sesiapa. Stadium-stadium bola sepak di Doha agak berjauhan dari pusat bandar.
Pada kesempatan itu juga, Jo dan aku merebut peluang menemu ramah beberapa individu penting dalam Doha menghadapi Sukan Asia 2006.
Jo kerap membuat liputan lumba basikal, olahraga dan bola sepak. Sekembali dari Doha, aku jarang berkesempatan berborak dengan Jo. Cuma apabila Persatuan Penulis-penulis Sukan Malaysia (SAM) atau Utusan menyertai mana-mana kejohanan bola sepak antara media, Jo pasti turun padang.
"Nak tengok macam mana Ronaljo main, hah ni dia," dengan wajah selambanya. Itulah wajah yang abadi dalam kenangan.
Tidak lama kemudian, aku mendengar dia dinaikkan pangkat menjadi ketua biro di Kangar. Aku dimaklumkan arwah dijangkiti tibi. Al-Fatihah dan takziah kepada keluarganya dan warga kerja Utusan Malaysia.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tutup jalan, buka jalan

Seorang bekas bintang bola sepak kebangsaan yang menganggotai skuad pre-Olimpik 1980 didakwa bertindak ala gangster sambil mengugut hendak membakar sederet rumah hanya kerana isu jalan yang ditutup berdekatan kawasan perumahannya baru-baru ini.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A different kind of performance

Now Nurul is into verbal gymnastics

Nik Nor Azura (second from right) . Pic courtesy of Berita Harian


IN the west, venturing into the world of broadcasting is a natural progression for most athletes.

I think it is nice to see our former athletes swapping their sports attire for a broadcasting suit. For former national gymnast Nurul Fatiha Abdul Hamid, she no longer limits herself to leotards and issues surrounding the world of gymnastics.

On New Year's day, she appeared as the Info Sukan presenter over TV1 at 1.30pm and exactly 12 hours later at Gelanggang@1. Credit should be given to Haji Shaukei Kahar, the former TV3 sports presenter who gave Nurul the break at Silver Sports.
Nurul who regards Hafizal Hamad as a source of inspiration, is certainly not the only former female athlete to have taken the broadcasting plunge.

Nik Nor Azura Nik Mahmood, the former sprinter from Terengganu, is at present one of Media Prima's assets. The HotFM DJ and TV3's Malaysia Hari Ini presenter was once the nation's fastest girl but her inability to better G. Shanti's mark coupled with a series of injuries put paid to her track ambitions.

Long before Nik Nor Azura made her entry into the TV world, Marina Chin Bhatt performed admirably as a sports presenter for RTM's Dunia Sukan every Saturday afternoon, flanked by Haji Abdullah Hasim. This was in the 80s, when Malaysians shared one thing in common - that we had only three TV channels to watch.

Dunia Sukan was my main source of French football league's news and footage. Other than that, I would look forward to going back to Atok's place in Kluang, where we could access World of Sports on SBC.

Even before the advent of cable TV in Malaysia, RTM and TV3 made sure my weekends were filled with highlights of Italian Soccer, Big League Soccer and Football Made in Germany. Unlike today, live telecasts those days were restricted to the FA Cup final, the European Cup final (now you and I and the whole world call it the UEFA Champions League final) and selected matches.