Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The two sides of YB Khairy, part 1

“Rizal, can you get feedback from the media guys, Eric (Samuel of the Star), Chris (Raj of NST) and Khawari (Isa of BH)…tell me what they think and what they want ahead of the council meeting. What they think about the foreign players specifically.”

The individual on the opposite end of the phone was YB Khairy Jamaluddin, the FA of Malaysia deputy president and Member of Parliament of Rembau. I was then a part-time media officer for FAM, a stint that lasted for a mere two months. Placing the call was one of Khairy’s aides, Tengku Zuhri Aziz, the deputy director of Akademi Pemuda and now Malay Mail columnist.

It was understandable that Khairy was so anxious to get things right and for him to be updated on the journalistic grapevine for looming on the horizons was a crucial FAM Council meeting he was about to chair.

Sultan of Pahang was indisposed. So too was the other deputy president, Datuk Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad. Khairy knew earlier he had to step into the breach, and he did it with ease.

In his opening remarks, Khairy touched on the need for FAM to be consistent in determining their policies, adding that the Press would not want a Council that flip-flops (he did not use the term).

In that meeting that took place at the Millennium Hotel on my birthday (imagine having to work on a Saturday), the Council decided to do away with foreign players for the 2009 season.

Although Khairy was in favour of retaining the quota, the rest of the Council members were not. In fact the issue was already discussed and deliberated at length at the competitions committee level and they wanted the Council to endorse it.

A Kedah FA representative too said aye to the idea, saying that the state association were financially burdened with the huge salaries of their foreign trio, Marlon James, Bernard Huggins and Nelson San Martin.

The decision drew ire from all quarters. Chris, Eric and Khawari too were against the idea of banning foreign players altogether but Khairy understood majority rules. And the FAM Council is a different ball game as opposed to the Pemuda Umno.

Khairy was powerless to stem the tide. But as the team manager of the national team manager, Khairy was known to be a problem-solver.

National coach B Sathianathan has nothing but good words for Khairy.

“Never once did Khairy interfered in the coaching aspects or team selection. He fully understood his role as a trouble-shooter and a motivator. The way he spoke to the players reflected his knowledge of the game. The players liked him and gave him due respect. He made sure I was not taxed with problems. If there were any, Khairy was quick to provide a solution,” said Sathianathan.

For those who dealt with him directly, they felt Khairy was open to ideas and often allowed the experts or relevant individuals to make key decisions.

But click on the rewind button to 2006, my impression of Khairy was that he was an obnoxious bloke who used his position as the Prime Minister’s son-in-law to further his interests. To be continued…

Next: The day KJ made the phone call to the Malay Mail…

Sunday, March 29, 2009

An almost Polish-ed performance

Our guy leading the Frenchman...AP photo

He was within a whisker of becoming another world champion in our midst. Still congratulations, Azizulhasni Awang. It was an almost Polish-ed performance in Poland by the pocketrocketman. The Dungun-born rider lost to Frenchman Gregory Bauge over three rounds in the men's sprint final in Pruszkow, a day after Rizal Tisin pedalled to the bronze in the 1km race in the UCI track cycling World Championship. A silver and a bronze however signal Malaysia's intent for the Asian Games 2010 and London Olympics 2012.

Confessions of a footballer

A footballer who almost made the grade poses an interesting food for thought here. The China-based young coach articulates his thoughts well, a trait you seldom find in a footballer. Little wonder he's plying his trade in China.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Historic day for Rizal, no, not me...


Rizal Tisin emerged from Azizulhasni Awang's shadows to make history early this morning with a bronze medal in the UCI World Cycling Championships in Pruszkow, Poland. Read here. Not bad for someone who almost quit cycling altogether a few months ago. Well done my better known namesake! Arnaz M Khairul of the New Straits Times must have jumped for joy upon hearing the news!

A night to remember

Lee Ah Chai holding the National Sportsman of the Year trophy on behalf of his son, Datuk Chong Wei
New Straits Times journo Arnaz M Khairul and 1985 National Sportsman of the Year, Rosman Alwi
Hasbullah Awang preparing for the live cross-over
Lawn bowler Siti Zalina Ahmad's mind must be wandering...she was after all under suspension
Two years ago Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said's uncle Dato' Shake performed. This time it was Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob's son Dafi.

Datuk Dr M Jegathesan and M. Kumaresan who spent the few minutes shortly after the event fending off tauntings about Samy Vellu that night. Apart from selling cars, M is also an active MIC leader

Nicol David has grown accustomed to the media attention

...and the glare of the spotlight

Contrasting fortunes for past Sports Ministers

Previous Sports Ministers were handed contrasting fortunes in the UMNO elections on Thursday. As we are fully aware, the top two politicians in UMNO once helmed the Sports Ministry. One of the newly-elected vice-presidents was also a Sports Minister.

Two former Sports Ministers failed to grab a seat in the UMNO Supreme Council. But the present Minister did. Now why is it important to have a really capable politician to helm the Ministry, widely considered a junior portfolio?

The PM-in-waiting became the youngest Sports Minister in 1986 at the age of 33 and was hailed as one of the best the country has ever had. Was instrumental in the successful staging of the 1989 SEA Games. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak too suggested the allocation of an area for the sport school at Bukit Jalil and was behind the introduction of the National Sports Policy in 1988.

This Muarian was said to be a reluctant Sports Minister. Imagine the chief executive of a rich state appointed to a junior Ministerial post. Under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Malaysian sports reached a low with the soccer bribery scandal in 1994/1995 but rose to an all-time high with the enormous success of Commonwealth Games in September 1998. He also oversaw the inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Loose cannon wrote a birthday piece for the new UMNO vice-president during the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002. "Malay Mail, uh, always comes up with a different angle," said Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. Will be best remembered for invoking the Sports Development Act on the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union. Played a significant role in getting Alex Yoong to be Malaysia's first Formula One driver.

A cultured academician from Sungai Mati, Muar, Datuk Ghani Othman initiated the Rakan Sukan programme. The adoption of the various sports by corporate giants was a boon. He too proposed the Sports Development Act to police sports associations and curtail malpractices, bickering, infighting and mismanagement.

Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said's aides claimed she succeeded in creating the "feel good" factor. Oh yes, she was indeed good in creating...Picture by loose cannon who managed to sneak into the Games Village during the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.

The incumbent is Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob..."I have contributed this much..."

Is the new UMNO youth chief going to be the next Sports Minister?

Juara di hati peminat

Tumpang glamour...dari kiri loose cannon, Ketua Pengarah MSN, Datuk Zolkples Embong, Datuk Misbun Sidek, Ketua Setiausaha Kementerian Belia dan Sukan, Datuk Mohd Yassin Salleh beberapa minit selepas Misbun memenangi anugerah jurulatih terbaik pada majlis Anugerah Sukan Kebangsaan 2008 di Mandarin Oriental pada Isnin lalu

Apabila Zurina Waji mempelawa aku menulis mengenai Misbun Sidek untuk sebuah majalah tahun lalu, aku tahu siapa yang harus aku jadikan pakar rujuk - bekas pengarang Dunia Sukan dan wartawan Utusan Malaysia, Nasir Ahmad. Maka terhasil artikel berikut.

“SIAPA nama emak awak?”

Sejurus mendengar jawapan, sebuah jarum peniti secara perlahan dimasukkan ke dalam ibu jari kaki penulis.

Sepanjang sesi rawatan ibarat akupuntur itu, jari-jemari Misbun Sidek cukup berhati-hati. Ketika itu beberapa kerat wartawan yang menyertai rombongan pasukan negara menghadapi pusingan kelayakan Piala Thomas di Manila turut menerima rawatan sama di kamarnya.

Peristiwa 10 tahun lalu itu sedikit sebanyak menggambarkan sekilas lalu personaliti Misbun, kini bergelar Datuk.

Beliau bukan sekadar bekas pemain, jurulatih, abang, anak dan mentor. Beliau juga guru, ahli psikologi, pembimbing dan apabila perlu, pengubat duka lara dan pengamal rawatan alternatif.

Disebabkan misteri dan uniknya personaliti Misbun, beliau adalah seorang ikon bagi sukan badminton.

Namun Misbun yang bergelar jurulatih masa kini cukup berbeza dengan Misbun seorang pemain.

Wartawan Berita Harian, Nasir Ahmad, yang membuat liputan kerjaya Misbun selama satu dekad untuk akhbar Utusan Malaysia, menganggap bekas juara kebangsaan itu lebih mesra dan terbuka sesudah persaraannya.

“Misbun seorang yang mudah didekati hanya selepas beliau tidak lagi bermain. Dalam tempoh 10 tahun itu, rasanya saya tidak 'mengenali' siapa Misbun sebenarnya.

“Malah pada ketika itu, adik beradiknya Razif dan Jalani juga 'pening' berdepan dengan karenah Misbun yang lebih selesa tinggal berasingan. Keadaan menjadi lebih rumit untuk berhubung dengannya selepas beliau tewas kepada Liem Swie King pada final Piala Dunia Alba 1982.

“Malah sikap dan kehidupan Misbun bertambah 'misteri' apabila beliau mengambil keputusan untuk menjadi 'anak angkat' kepada seorang tukang urut di Ampang.

“Beliau manusia berbeza setiap hari. Kemesraan hari ini bukan satu jaminan esoknya sama seperti semalam. Perwatakannya sangat sukar difahami.

“Beliau seorang yang sangat tidak selesa kalau tersiar berita-berita yang pada pandangannya sesuatu yang negatif walaupun kita mempunyai tujuan positif.

“Sebagai contoh, apabila beliau tidak lagi bermain untuk Malaysia selepas Piala Thomas 1988, Misbun menimba ilmu pengurusan sukan ke Amerika Syarikat untuk beberapa bulan. Tiba-tiba dia cuba merebut tempat sebagai perseorangan ketiga skuad Piala Thomas 1990.

“Presiden Persatuan Badminton Malaysia (BAM) ketika itu, Tan Sri Elyas Omar, mempelawa Misbun yang kebetulan akan kembali ke tanah air pada awal 1990 ketika skuad negara sedang buat persiapan ke pusingan akhir di Tokyo. Saya menunggu Misbun di Lapangan Terbang Subang bersama Allahyarham Datuk Sidek untuk dapat pengesahan daripada mulutnya sendiri.

“Saya terkejut kerana beliau serius menyahut pelawaan Elyas sedangkan beliau sendiri mengaku tidak pernah memegang raket sejak berada di Amerika. Tentunya beliau sukar mengembalikan tahap tertinggi dalam tempoh singkat. Dalam penulisan saya untuk beberapa hari berikutnya, saya menentang kemunculan semula Misbun. Saya tidak sanggup melihat statusnya diperlekeh oleh pemain muda ketika itu, Wong Ewe Mun dan Wong Tat Meng.

“Misbun perlu menewaskan kedua-dua pemain ini dalam perlawanan khas di Genting Highlands untuk mendapat tiket sebagai perseorangan ketiga. Dugaan saya menjadi kenyataan. Misbun kecundang dalam perlawanan itu. Namun untuk menjaga 'air mukanya' BAM tetap menyenaraikan Misbun dalam skuad sebagai 'pegawai khas' ke Tokyo.

“Sejak itu hubungan saya dengannya terus renggang. Malah kami tidak bertegur sapa ketika sama-sama berada di Tokyo hinggalah pada 1992 apabila saya ditugaskan sebagai 'ghost writer' dalam ruangan 'Sekilas Pandang' untuk Berita Harian ketika pusingan akhir Piala Thomas di Kuala Lumpur.

“Sebenarnya, kalau kita perhati betul-betul, Misbun satu-satunya atlit yang seolah-olah 'tidak ada perasaan'. Beliau tidak pernah memberi reaksi seperti mana pemain lain yang akan meraikan kejayaan mereka di gelanggang. Sama ada menang atau kalah, beliau hanya sekadar menadah tangan, bersalam dengan lawan dan terus ke bilik persalinan.

“Sama ada pelik, misteri atau apa saja yang ingin ditafsirkan oleh peminat dan wartawan, Misbun mempunyai watak yang mampu menarik ribuan penonton.”

Daya tarikan tersendiri ini menjadikan Misbun duta jenama Sidek yang popular. Pada usia 24 tahun, dua tahun selepas Misbun menerima penghormatan selaku Olahragawan Kebangsaan, beliau dilamar International Management Group (IMG), sebuah badan yang mengurus atlit secara profesional.

Kerjayanya penuh warna warni. Diselang-seli dengan gaya rambut yang berbeza, sekejap dibiarkan kerinting afro, sekejap ala Mohican dan sekejap berjalur kuning di tengah, Misbun menjadi impian penaja yang mahukan keunikan, perbezaan dan ketrampilan.

Karisma seperti ini bukan mudah dicari. Di kalangan atlit negara masa kini, tiada seorangpun yang mampu menonjolkan imej lain daripada yang lain. Kelainan ini yang mampu menaikkan imej sesuatu sukan itu.

Sumbangannya selaku jurulatih juga unik. Bagi wartawan yang selalu mengerumuni Misbun, mereka tidak perlu bersusah-payah memikirkan angle. Dengan caranya tersendiri, Misbun gemar mengalunkan kata-kata penuh falsafah , diselit dengan analogi dan maksud yang tersirat.

Selain mencarta kejayaan Datuk Lee Chong Wei merangkul pingat perak perseorangan lelaki di Sukan Olimpik Beijing, Misbun juga pernah membimbang adiknya, Rashid, meraih gangsa di Atlanta 1996.

Misbun juga bertanggungjawab membawa Muhammad Hafiz Hashim merangkul gelaran Seluruh England 2003, selain melonjakkan Roslin Hashim sebagai pemain perseorangan lelaki nombor satu dunia pada 2001.

Sebagai pemain pula, beliau adalah juara kebangsaan 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986 dan 1987, memenangi emas Sukan SEA Manila 1981, selain pernah menjuarai kejohanan terbuka seperti Terbuka Singapura, Taiwan, Jerman, Sweden dan Kanada.

Misbun juga muncul naib juara Piala Dunia 1982, naib juara Seluruh England 1986 dan membawa cabaran Malaysia ketika muncul naib juara Piala Thomas 1988.

Nasir membuat kesimpulan yang tepat bagi menggambarkan Misbun.

“Misbun tidak dilahirkan sebagai juara tetapi lebih kepada seorang penghibur. Tindakannya mempelbagaikan gaya rambut, memakai sarung berlainan warna pada satu masa, berjoging di tengah hari dan tengah malam, menjadikan Misbun seorang 'juara' di hati peminatnya.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Adilkah pengadil?

Kosmo! mengupas isu kewibawaan pengadil hari ini. Kebetulan aku menumpang satu muka surat dengan tiga politikus. Baca di sini

Menteri v BAM?

Alahai, Pak Menteri, bagaimana ini boleh berlaku? Baca di sini. Pada ketika Persatuan Badminton Malaysia (BAM) menyokong presiden Persekutuan Badminton Dunia (BWF) Dr Kang Young joong, Menteri Belia dan Sukan, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, menandatangani surat sokongan seolah-olah merestui pencalonan Datuk Andrew Kam untuk mencabar Dr Kang!

The passing of a simple and humble man

Negeri Sembilan football has lost one of its greatest servants, K. Dharmarajasingham. Please read here.

Cikgu Rod pula letak jawatan...

Rod (kananlah...yang kiri itu Ali Daei, takkan tak kenal)

Bekas penolong pengadil FIFA, Mohd Rodzali Ya'cob, sudah meletak jawatan selaku pegawai jabatan pengadil Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM). Tindakan mengejut itu menyusul selang beberapa hari sesudah penolong setiausaha agung, Saifuddin Abu Bakar, mengambil tindakan yang sama.
Bezanya Rodzali, atau lebih dikenali sebagai Rod atau Cikgu, sudahpun mengemas barangnya dan hari terakhirnya semalam. Kasihan Rod, dia dilihat sebagai dalang di sebalik beberapa kontroversi dan isu yang membelit jabatan pengadil.
Dikenali sebagai pakar IT di FAM, Rod mesra media. Kalau maklumat di laman web FAM tidak dikemas kini, klik saja ke http://pengadilfam.blogspot.com/ untuk mengetahui pelantikan match commissioner atau referee's assessor.
Bahkan media turut menjadikan blognya itu selaku rujukan jadual perlawanan Liga Super dan Liga Perdana. Apa akan jadi pada blog itu? Aku dengar khabar dia in-between jobs. Satu perkara yang harus kita, selaku pencinta atau konon-konon pencinta bola sepak negara, siasat ialah mengapa kepakaran dan pengalaman yang ada pada pegawai-pegawai sebegini terbuang begitu saja?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

St Hilaire discovers a new Darling-ton

Many in the Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) and the National Sports Council (NSC) would remember Daniel St Hilaire.

The Canadian was Watson Nyambek's coach until 1997 when the former was sacked. He was succeeded by the all too powerful Datuk Paduka Dr Mumtaz Begum Jaffar, now the MAAU vice-president and also the chairman of the National Athletes Welfare Foundation (YAKEB). Watson's career reached his apex with a second place in the Asian Championship in Fukuoka in 1998 but slipped into oblivion after a poor Sydney Olympics and the SEA Games in 2001.

Back in Montreal, St Hilaire has discovered an unpolished gem. It will be a coup of sorts if St Hilaire manages to transform a slam dunk specialist into a world-class high jumper in time for the London Olympics in 2012. Read here.

Match-fixing in lawn bowls?

Lawn bowls, one may perceive, is played by decent folks. TV3's report for the past two days however suggested unscrupulous elements were beginning to creep into the sport. Read here. As the driving force of the Malaysian Lawn Bowls Association, Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid must act quickly and objectively.

Alahai FAM

Aku dilahirkan di Kluang, Johor tapi disebabkan membesar di Batu Pahat, Ipoh dan kemudiannya Kuala Lumpur, aku tidaklah taksub sangat menyokong mana-mana pasukan bola sepak Johor secara membuta-tuli. Tapi dalam kes MBJB, aku bersimpati lah terhadap mereka. Seperti biasa, Berita Harian tidak sedikitpun kasihan kepada FAM dan sekutu-sekutunya. Bacalah di sini.

Managing our assets

Nice stadium, this...but if you happen to sit near the railings at the VIP area of the MBJB Hockey Stadium at Taman Daya in Johor Bahru, would you be able to see what happens at the other end?

Nice turf, there, Education Ministry...

Combating elements

KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 (Bernama) -- Taekwando coach Nelson Bernard Kirby reckons Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said needs at least 19 years to achieve 9th Dan black belt, the highest grade accorded by the International Taekwando Federation (ITF).

He said to achieve this, the tourism minister has to engage in combat training with exponents holding 5th Dan black belt.

"Although she may be busy, I feel it is not impossible for her to achieve the status of Grand Master (9th Dan) at 65 years-old," he said after presenting the 6th Dan black belt to Azalina from Cha'ang-Hon International Taekwando Federation at her office here today.

Kirby who is Azalina's taekwando coach said the 46 year-old minister is in good shape for combat training.

Meanwhile, Azalina said she considers combat sport as an activity to relief stress and that the principles and ethical values of taekwando are good for self development.

"Everyone have a principle in life, mine is taekwando," she said.

Under ITF rules, Azalina needs seven years before she qualifies for the 7 Dan test, eight years for the 8th Dan test and another nine years for the 9th Dan test. However, the ITF can make an exception if the valuers are satisfied that the individual is qualified to take the test.-- BERNAMA

The Malaysian Taekwondo Association (MTA) practises the WTF, not ITF, system. WTF is recognised by the IOC. Was it because of this conflict that led to MTA's de-registration way back in 2005?

Two Datuks from Penang tipped for title

In line for her sixth National Sportswoman of the Year title
Olympic Games finalist

The only two active athletes conferred with Datukships are tipped to take the top honours in the 2008 National Sports Awards on Monday, to be held for the first time ever at the Mandarin Oriental.

Datuk Nicol Ann David notched 10 titles and kept her No 1 ranking throughout 2008 and therefore nobody will begrudge her if she is handed her sixth National Sportswoman of the Year title. She bagged the honour in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 . Interestingly the leading candidate in the men's category is Beijing Olympics finalist, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, Nicol's fellow Penangite. If the duo were to take the limelight, it will be a repeat of the 2005 awards.
But if I may ask both the squash and badminton national bodies, who would succeed the two world-beaters in the foreseeable future?

Pole position in Poland?

Pix taken from Azizul's facebook, without permission

On the western side of Warsaw, Poland, a pool of Malaysia's track cyclists will have a shot at glory next week. On the indoor track made of Siberian pine wood at BGZ Arena in Pruszkow, Azizulhasni Awang, Rizal Tisin and Josiah Ng will compete in the UCI World Championships. Their aspirations have been well-documented. It's interesting to see where our trio stand in the scheme of things. http://www.velodrome.org.uk/ for example predicts Azizul to take third place in men's keirin.

Melbourne-based Azizul is lucky to have his sweetheart near him, read here while the national body was given credit for churning out talents from the track, read here. Truth be told, it was the idea of the National Sports Council (NSC) in the 90s to start focusing on the medal-churning track events!

Poll position

Refer to the polls on the right and please note that 77 percent of the voters thought YB Khairy Jamaluddin should be hauled up by FA of Malaysia disciplinary board for his comments on the domestic game in Malaysiakini.com, 59 percent believed FAM had gone overboard in suspending Reduan Abdullah for one year while 48 percent tipped Kedah coach Azraai Khor Abdullah to become the national coach. Hmm...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Saifuddin quits FAM

Saifuddin...could not resist the lucrative offer

Assistant general secretary of FA of Malaysia, Saifuddin Abu Bakar, has quit the national body to take up a cushy job with a football-related company in the Middle East in June.

It is learnt Saifuddin who rejoined FAM in 2007 after a stint with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), tendered his resignation last week. The football fraternity were earlier alerted to the possibility of a bigwig in FAM resigning to seek greener pastures here. FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah has apparently given his blessings to Saifuddin, who has a wealth of experience in organising competitions.

Saifuddin's resignation will probably create a tussle for the post that comes with a car and an annual salary of almost RM100,000. FA of Selangor secretary Hamidin Mohd Amin may not be interested to be the No 2 to general secretary, Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Football, politics and politicians...

Readers of this blog may not agree with me but politics and sports in Malaysia do mix. They are intertwined, hence this posting. Picture this scenario - a president of a regional footballing body has taken action in his capacity as chairman of a political party's disciplinary board against a president of a State FA, president of a reality tv show and a former State FA president.

Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen Ismail is the president of Asean Football Federation (AFF) and a former deputy president of FA of Malaysia (FAM). The former Cabinet minister earlier today chaired the meeting which decided to bar Malacca FA president Datuk Ali Rustam from contesting the UMNO elections next week, but MyTeam president YB Khairy Jamaluddin, a current deputy president of FAM, was let off with a stern warning. Former Selangor FA president Datuk Seri Mohd Khir Toyo was found not guilty.

So is football a platform to further one's interests?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Let's drop names

My fellow Malaysians, if you happen to land yourself into hot soup, don' t fret. Take your father along to meet the authorities and whoever has the power to determine your fate. Imply that you are well-connected and possibly above the law.

If your father had passed on, you may consider taking your father-in-law or stepfather or you may pick one gentleman by the roadside and claim that he's somehow related to you and then pay a courtesy call to the powers-that-be.

It would be better still if your father had worked with and under the powers-that-be, like having served as a civil servant at Kemas for example, so that the authorities would have a soft spot over you as you cling on to whatever is left of your dignity.

In Malaysia this practice is acceptable, condoned and in fact encouraged. Malaysia Boleh maah...

Haiya, how I wish I knew this earlier. But even if I did, I may have to take my father-in-law lah, since my Ayah died in his sleep in 1997.

My biggest mistake in life is failing to drop people's name as I climbed the ladder (now no more ladder). In my naivete, I thought passion, knowledge and above all ability would merit some sort of recognition. I was wrong, certainly!

Today, if I landed myself into trouble, whose name would I casually or purposely drop to save my ass? Hmm, let see, Kamaluddin Abdullah Badawi and Zaki Zahid and perhaps the Deputy Prime Minister? For all three, like me, share the same alma mater.

Or NSTP director, Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, so that I could position myself better? Or a few Cabinet Ministers? Lawyers, sports leaders? Members of the royalty? Or tell Pak Lah that his sister was my late Mak's classmate at STF? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh before I forget, read here dan baca di sini

Jawatankuasa tak konsisten?

Ini tersiar dalam Berita Harian hari ini.

FAS, KAFA terlepas hukuman.

JURULATIH Felda United, Reduan Abdullah - digantung setahun pada 26 Februari lalu gara-gara 'bercakap tanpa kebenaran' - mungkin berharap kesnya hanya dibincangkan Jawatankuasa Disiplin Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM), semalam.

Kerana berbeza dengan ketegasan ketara apabila menghukumnya, dua minggu lalu, jawatankuasa sama ‘melakar sejarah’ apabila memutuskan untuk tidak menghukum tiga pihak yang dihadapkan kepadanya, semalam.

Paling beruntung ialah Persatuan Bola Sepak Selangor (FAS) yang ‘terlepas’ biarpun terbukti ada insiden penonton membaling kerusi ke arah tempat duduk orang kenamaan di Stadium Shah Alam ketika aksi bertemu Kelantan, 28 Februari lalu.

Turut beruntung ialah tonggak bentengnya, Khairul Anuar Baharom apabila dakwaan ‘mengeluarkan kata-kata yang menyinggung perasaan pegawai perlawanan’ digugurkan jawatankuasa itu selepas aduan pengadil tidak disokong pembantunya.

Persatuan Bola Sepak Kelantan (Kafa) juga bernasib baik pulang dengan amaran keras selepas jawatankuasa memutuskan bahawa sukar untuk mengenal pasti sama ada penyokongnya membaling pelbagai objek ke padang pada perlawanan sama.

“Isunya ialah sama ada FAS menyediakan kawalan keselamatan mencukupi ataupun tidak. Mereka membuktikan ada lebih 300 anggota polis dan jawatankuasa berpuas hati,” kata pengerusi jawatankuasa, Kamaruddin Abdullah.

Ia bermakna jawatankuasa memilih ‘bertolak ansur’ dan tidak terikat kepada Peraturan Tatatertib FAM - iaitu Kesalahan 19.12 untuk dakwaan ‘apabila penonton merosakkan harta benda stadium seperti kerusi, pintu, pagar dan lain-lain.’

Jika jawatankuasa itu patuh - seperti ketika menghukum Reduan sebelumnya - FAS berdepan hukuman ‘denda RM25,000 selain perlu membayar pada kos sebenar kerosakan harta kepada pentadbir stadium’. Jawatankuasa semalam sekadar mengenakan hukuman minimum - penggantungan dua perlawanan dan denda RM1,000 - terhadap Khairul dan penjaga gol Kelantan, Halim Napi kerana kekasaran terhadap pemain lawan.

Kasihan Redu...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This cannot be!

Ready for battle, either kick or be kicked out

My favourite Minister Datuk Seri Hajjah Azalina Othman Said under investigation?! Oh, this cannot be.

Am I in dreamland? Read here, here, di sini dan di sini.

But like the rest of my fellow Malaysians, I suspect it's going to be NFA lah, no further action lah. Boleh blah lah. Oops, this is not meant for the Minister, after all she was untouchable to the point of calling my bosses up each time I took a dig at her when I was at the Malay Mail.

The MACC must also dig up the old files at the Sports Ministry and the National Sports Council particularly and investigate how the NSC's reserves shrank from RM300 million in 2005 to almost zero in 2008.

But please don't forget Azalina is a qualified lawyer and taekwondo exponent, if words fail her, she can rely on her slick moves! And remember, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, hahahahah! And please visit this website here in what I can describe as a weak attempt to defend Azalina. Maybe I know who the administrator is.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Qilin-g time? Definitely not...

A former PKNP footballer is currently imparting his knowledge to a youth club in Shanghai, China. Check out this website http://www.qilinfootball.com.

I'm sure Shazwan (picture) has tons of stories to share. Teaching kids the proper basics in a huge country like China must be quite a daunting task.

Whether or not he has the necessary credentials is secondary. Once he comes back for good, we need people like Shazwan to work with our kids.

"Educating the coaches, this is to me a priority. I have learnt a lot in my 7 years in Shanghai working with international coaches. We coach kids aged 6 to 16 and when I look back at my playing days, the approach is entirely different. What my youth players get now I did not get even when I was still playing at the age of 24 !!

"No2..Development...What are we doing with our own youth players? We have the potential, that's for sure. I see it for myself, but what went wrong? We need to have a big pool of players to choose from. We can't just select 18 youth players to play for the State, train them for a tournament, then they break up. There has to be continuity. Those who are not selected should also be kept together (district level) and train as usual to compete for places in the State team. This has to start from young.

"No3...Progress...Now our players in the M-League have lost the appetite to improve themselves. It's human nature that if you are doing well, you tend to take your foot off the pedal. Yeah..you can hit 30 goals a season in M-League, but then at international level, you look like a school boy playing against men...Our young players need more exposure to play outside of Malaysia..be it in competition..be it in attaching themselves with overseas clubs...then they'll know that they have to improve to get a slot...over here (foreign kids) we have a few kids being scouted for the USA Cup..they receive offers to continue studies and play football in the US...and they grab it..their parents allow it...To be honest, we have much much better players than these players but if we don't go out and gain those experience, progress will be stagnant...and in the end, those who did go out and gain exposure will eventually be better players than those who stayed."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wooing an Indon

Datuk Lee Chong Wei's All-England final defeat to Lin Dan on Sunday was not a surprise considering his poor record against the supremely agile and nimble-footed Chinese ace. Chong Wei is not exactly alone in the runners-up category as he has his coach, Misbun Sidek (1986) and other fellow Malaysians, Foo Kok Keong (1991), Rashid Sidek (1996) and Ong Ewe Hock (1998) for company. Anyway, that's not the news.

Apparently an Indonesian coach is being wooed to help reduce Rashid's burden in helping raise the standards of the singles shuttlers. The coach will not come cheap. But money is not an issue with BAM, with National Sports Council's support and approval of course. And I'm interested to know what is in the offing for the badminton academy after Datuk Zolkples Embong's visit to Denmark prior to the All-England.

A meaningful March 9

Abah and Mak, who pulled no punches when they interviewed me for the job of son in law in 2000

Salam Maulidur Rasul. Based on Michael H Hart's THE 100 - A RANKING OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS IN HISTORY first published in 1989, Prophet Muhammad's (Peace be Upon Him) unparalled combination of secular and religious influence make him the most influential figure in human history. So happened March 9, 2009 was the day my father in law, Cikgu Abdul Jalil, turned 63.

I first came face to face with my would be Abah on June 3, 2000. My trip to the Malaysia Games or Sukma in Penang courtesy of the Malay Mail was pre-ordained. It co-incided with my plan to pay my would be in-laws a visit. It was meant for me to kill two birds with one stone. The Sunway Hotel in mainland Penang was only half-an-hour away from Kulim. I planned it as such that I would go to Intan's place on a Saturday, when Malay Mail closed shop early (those days lah). My room mate then was photographer Roslin Mat Tahir, who gave me tips on how to smooth talk my way into their hearts!

Renting a taxi was not exactly a great way to impress your would-be in-laws. But since I left the car at home, the only option was to ask the hotel to provide me a taxi. The driver was Rocky who claimed to be a singer moonlighting as a driver. When I alighted from the taxi, I knew instantly the man on the swings was Abah. Reading his newspaper, he welcomed me with an awkward smile. Intan was at the door grinning ear to ear (oh yes I can recall vividly).

Intan had forewarned me of a few things and that Abah was a tough customer but she knew I would pass the test with flying colours because: 1. I did not smoke, 2. My interests were not restricted to sports and 3. I could talk, talk and talk!

Later on I discovered my late Ayah and Abah had a few things in common and they would have made a great pair. Exactly two years after that fateful day of which I underwent the two-hour interview in Kulim, Intan and I were blessed with our first-born, Muhammad 'Akif. That same day Brazil beat Turkey 2-1 in their opening match of the 2002 World Cup. My friends advised me to name the kid after Ilhan Mansiz or Hassan Sas or even Zinedine Zidane but I chose to be rational.

To Abah, happy birthday and our humble apologies for not being able to celebrate it with you.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Scoring goals in the Parliament

Deputy Sports Minister Wee Jeck Seng has my sympathies. He tried to defend the FA of Malaysia and football in general but a number of MPs netted a few goals, I can say. Please read here, Azmi M Anshar's commentary here, yellow card for FAM and the Bernama report here .

Thursday, March 5, 2009

FAM tidak boleh dikritik?

Baca di sini. Namun penulis artikel berkenaan tidak membezakan siapa dan latar belakang yang membuat kenyataan. Reduan Abdullah adalah jurulatih Felda United dan bukan pemegang jawatan FAM. Kolonel Kamaruddin Sakhari adalah kakitangan bergaji FAM yang mengecam ahli jawatankuasa pengadil FAM, manakala Khairy Jamaluddin adalah pemimpin No 3, kalau ikut ranking di FAM, yang berani menongkah arus bercakap "the obvious". Dalam kes Soh Chin Aun, kita harus lihat konteks kenyataannya selaku naib pengerusi jawatankuasa pengadil. Dalam setiap organisasi korporat atau bukan kerajaan, pemegang jawatannya terikat dengan kod etika, antara lain, menghalang mereka daripada membuat kenyataan yang boleh membawa gambaran dan imej buruk kepada persatuan. Lainlah kalau Khairy bercakap dari luar seumpama ketika dia membawa MyTeam menentang pasukan Bawah 20 kebangsaan yang dikutuk dan dicaci pada 2006! Bayangkan kalau aku selaku wartawan sukan Malay Mail memburuk-burukkan akhbar aku sendiri menerusi kenyataan akhbar yang antara lain menyentuh kepemimpinan buruk, produk tak terjual, polisi tidak menentu dan akhir sekali mencadangkan Malay Mail digantung setahun sebelum dijual semula?!! Sudah pasti aku dikenakan tindakan. Berbeza jika kenyataan itu dibuat oleh blogger atau orang luar selaku pembaca Malay Mail!

First class facilities, third class maintenance

Kindly pay a visit to this blog here on the dire need to maintain our sports facilities. And yet we expect first class performance from our athletes! Perhaps Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim and former Selangor State Sports Council top official Datuk Paduka Dr Mumtaz Begum Jaffar can say something on this.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

You are a bad reporter!

I saw on Bernama TV last night the war of words between Many Are Against U president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim and New Straits Times' reporter, Devinder Singh. Among other things, Shahidan said: "You are a bad reporter...don't try to provoke me. I think I overheard Devinder as saying "you are a bad president". I've had my share of verbal judo with a number of officials, coaches and athletes but allow me to congratulate Devinder for having the guts to question, provoke and irritate sports leaders, particularly those who have a political background.

The pimp and the Pied Piper

I've missed a number of Citizen Nades' columns over the weeks. I wish to share with you at least two recent ones here and here.

KJ - Kena Juga?

Malay Mail pic

Read Malaysiakini's interview with YB Khairy Jamaluddin in this blog here. Perhaps when I have the time I will comment on every paragraph. Of course I'm rubbing my hands with glee on this opportunity. Kosmo today however quoted FA of Malaysia general secretary Datuk Azzuddin here. The Malay Mail carried Khairy's clarifications here. Unlike Felda United coach Reduan Abdullah, Khairy is an office-bearer of FAM and is therefore subject to FAM's code of conduct or ethics or whatever!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Condolences to Dell and family

Sardar (squatting, extreme left) in the Asian All-Stars team. Courtesy of Utusan Malaysia's magazine, Dunia Sukan, February 1982. He was speaking to Rahmat Ahmad
Dell, a neighbour and former Selangor team manager Datuk Mazlan Harun

Sardar's brothers, Murzaffar (in yellow) and Dell

Tok Imam Rusli Kamija, the same man who delivered the final rites for Mak, reading the talqin

Reduan and Raja Bola, Ghani Minhat

Seated beside FAM general secretary Azzuddin Ahmad, who took time away from the AFF Council meeting in Petaling Jaya is Abdah Alif, nippy midfielder of the 1980 squad

From left Chow Kwai Lam, Rahim Abdullah, Saifuddin Abu Bakar, Zulkifli and Mohd Shah Norbit and Zainal Abidin Hassan

Hulu Klang assemblyman Saari Sungib (second from left), contributed RM2,500 on behalf of the Selangor government

The moment I snap this picture, Reduan turned away from FAM assistant general secretary Saifuddin, who was given a hard time by all the former internationals following FAM's decision to ban Reduan for 12 months

Former international footballer Sardar Khan Hyder Khan passed away this morning at 8.30am. The eldest brother of former international right-back and FA of Malaysia general secretary Datuk Dell Akbar Khan, Sardar was a member of the all-conquering Selangor side in the 1960s. Surely one of the feathers in his cap was his appearance for the Asian All-Stars in 1967.

Alongside Selangor team mates, keeper Chinna Karuppan, Chow Kwai Lam and M. Chandran, as well as Perak's Foo Fook Chuan - to complement the likes of Vietnamese playmaker Do Thoi Vinh, Indonesian duo Yaacob Sihasaley and Soejipto as well as Iran's Akbar Idifhari, the hard-tackling Sardar did not look out of place but the opposition, the visiting Arsenal side, were in an uncompromising mood, winning the historic match 6-2.

Sardar and Dell were one of quite a number of sibling combinations in Malaysian football. Others include Mok Wai Kin/Mok Wai Hong (1950s), Robert Choe, Richard Choe (1962-1965), Cheng Hock/Loon Teik (1960s), Ali /Isa Bakar (1970s), Namat and Shaharuddin Abdullah, Mohd Shah and Zulkifli Norbit, Harun/Yahya Jusoh (1970s), Abdah/Yunus Alif, Hanapiah Ali/Khalid Ali/Zainal Abidin Hasan (1975, 80-1986), Zaidi and Mubin Mokhtar, Faizal/Khairil Zainal, Mazlan and Sapian Wahid. The most notable pair of siblings in the present era is Aidil Zafuan/Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak.

Our deepest condolences to Dell and family. Sardar is expected to be laid to rest after Zuhur prayers. His residence address is 52, Jalan AU2A/14, Taman Keramat. Al-Fatiha.
UPDATED, March 3, 2009, 7.00am

Malay Mail pays tribute to Sardar here and Utusan Malaysia here.
Sardar's first glimpse of potential was discovered at the Batu Road school where he represented the Under-12. He went through the whole process, competed in the Burnley Cup and later played for Umno - then dubbed the `DreamTeam' in Selangor football - in the early Sixties when they swept all before them. The Umno matches at Police Depot and TPCA Stadium were a pleasure to watch. It was sheer magic, according to former Malay Mail writer, Tony Danker.

Dell said Sardar belonged to the generation that had Choo Seng Quee as their master who taught them the right basics. "The players would not leave the pitch unless they have hit the designated corner as instructed. That was how they mastered the basics."
Recalling the days when Sardar and him were brothers only outside the pitch, Dell said: "No quarters asked, and none given, that in a nutshell described his attitude on the pitch. He gave you hell if you happened to be on the opposing side. In one match between Selangor and Police, I gave Chandran a gash near the ankle, in he came as a substitute for Chandran and he made sure every time I got the ball he was there to hound me. He was gunning for my neck. If you were in his team, he would act as the big brother, guiding you from the back. If otherwise, he was a no-nonsense centre-back. You can ask Rahim Abdullah the 12-inch long stud marks Sardar gave him all those years ago. We were using either boots from Thailand or custom-made by a shop called Broadway in Singapore. The studs were sharpened by walking on the cement at the dressing room."
Dell likened the Chandran-Sardar partnership in central defence to the Soh Chin Aun-Santokh Singh combination in the late 1970s.
"Sardar's tough-tackling and man-marking approach complemented Chandran's speed and anticipation."
"Kopi O keras" was Sardar's way of telling his team mates to impose their authority in the game early.
"We had to show them who's the boss to gain the psychological advantage."
With the blood of the legendary fighting nomadic Khans from the Khyber Pass coursing through their veins, Sardar and Dell, were not one to turn their backs on a challenge. Their father, Hyder Amir Khan, migrated to Kuala Lumpur at the age of 16 and settled down with Zaiton who today is still sharp at 87.
"He was a Pathan from Khyber Pass. He was a cattle trader who knew every nook and corner in the country due to the nature of his business," said Dell of his father who died at the age of 104.
Naturally, Sardar had his run-ins with officials as well, as there was one occasion where he was blacklisted in the 1971 President Park's Cup in Seoul for insubordination. His days in the national team were numbered. Sardar was laid to rest at the AU2 Muslim cemetery, where Mokhtar Dahari and my Mak were buried as well.