Monday, May 31, 2010

With Tunku Imran...

Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar is the only Malaysian, beside Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah, to be elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), an exclusive group still perceived as a club for elite leaders. A founding member of the Squash Racket Association of Malaysia (SRAM), Tunku Imran has helmed the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) since 1998, succeeding Hamzah, who however remains the only Malaysian to hold two coveted posts, that as a vice-president of FIFA and member of IOC.

Pix taken a short while ago for Kafe Sukan's ninth episode. The other guest is Ahmad Khawari Isa, Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM) president

World Cup memorabilia at Olympic Hotel



Fancy taking a close look at Pele's autographed photos? Or Oliver Kahn's gloves? If so, visit the sports-themed Olympic Sports Hotel. Read here

Arena gaining ground, Zainal and Edleen for SA

For Immediate Release


Astro Arena Gaining Ground as the Home for Malaysian Sports


Kuala Lumpur, 26 May 2010 - Astro Arena (CH 801), Malaysia’s first dedicated 24-hour local sports channel on Astro is proving to become synonymous as the home channel for local sports coverage among Malaysians. Based on the recent figures from AC Nielsen Media Research, ASTRO customers instinctively tune into Astro Arena (CH 801) for the best coverage of Malaysian sporting heroes in action.

During the recent Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Kuala Lumpur, Astro Arena (CH 801) triumphed at the Number 1 slot with the highest number of viewers during the LIVE broadcast of the Quarter-final match between Malaysia vs. Denmark held on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 whereby a total of 501,887 Malaysians tuned in to catch the nations battle for a place in the Semi-finals .

It also achieved the highest slot for the LIVE broadcast of the Semi-final matches on Friday, 14 May 2010 as the nation watched with bated breath as the home team contended against defending champions, China, with 485,296 viewers from 7.30pm to 8.40pm.

Lee Choong Khay, Head of Sports Business of Astro said, “It has been three months since the launch of the channel and already we have received encouraging viewership figures. Needless to say, we are very happy as it indicates Malaysians have accepted Astro Arena as the home channel for local sports coverage. This aligns with our mission to bring more sports to Malaysia.”

“Moving forward, Malaysians will have more chances to watch their nation’s sporting heroes closely and see how they fare in some of the regional sports events on Astro Arena, especially in the upcoming events this year such as Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Asian Games in Guangzhou and the first Youth Olympics in Singapore,” Lee added.

From May 9 to the finals on May 16, 2010, Astro SuperSport (CH 811) and Astro Arena (CH 801) broadcasted concurrent matches respectively, of both the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup. Additionally, for the first time ever, the semi-finals and finals matches of both Thomas and Uber Cups were broadcasted in High Definition (HD) over Astro SuperSport HD (CH 831) for Astro’s sports pack customers with Astro B.yond HD subscriptions.

With two channels, home viewers were able to watch more top-rated matches LIVE especially those involving the home team in Bahasa Malaysia commentary on Astro Arena (CH 801) and in English commentary on Astro SuperSport (CH 811).

In addition, Astro Arena will be broadcasting 35 matches of the World Cup in Bahasa Malaysia commentary, highlights and links directly to South Africa from two of its hosts, Edleen Ismail and Zainal Abidin Rawop bringing you a taste of the their World Cup euphoria in South Africa and more.

Astro Arena completes ASTRO’s Family Package with sports offering alongside entertainment, information and education. With Astro Arena, currently there are 31 ASTRO branded and affiliated channels and 10 sports channels, including 2 channels in High Definition and 1 channel for sports pay-per-view on the ASTRO platform.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Malaysian quartet in South Africa

Malaysia will be represented by a quartet of officials in various capacities throughout the FIFA World Cup kicking off on June 11.

Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh will feature as the man in the middle, the first ever Malaysian to officiate a World Cup match. The two previous representatives, the late Mejar Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid and Mat Lazim Awang Hamad, were assistant referees.

Read The Star here and Haresh Deol's tribute here





Former FA of Malaysia (FAM) general secretary and a member of the 1971 pre-Olympics squad, Datuk Dell Akbar Khan Hyder Khan, will be based in Durban as the FIFA venue security officer while Dr Gurucharan Singh is a member of the FIFA medical committee.

Dell and loose cannon

Dell, a former Selangor right-back who featured in the Seoul pre-Olympics in 1971, is the first ever former international to be accorded an appointment at the most prestigious football extravaganza. His job in Durban will be to work with the local police to ensure the security aspects are done according to the FIFA regulations. The former KL chief of police is also a member of the FIFA stadium and security committee headed by Japan's Junji Ogura. Also a member of the committee is Serbia's Ivan Curkovic, former St Etienne goalkeeper.

Overseeing the overall aspect of organisation is Windsor John, as the general co-ordinator of all the venues. He was the man who called the shots on the night Zinedine Zidane was sent-off for that headbutt in Berlin four years ago.

Read loose cannon's posting on the Confederations Cup last year here

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Suara politik di balik NGO

Maaf, lambat sedikit posting ini. Presiden Persatuan Badminton Malaysia (BAM), Datuk Nadzmi Salleh, mendengar beberapa alasan pemain yang menyalahkan media antara faktor kegagalan skuad negara pada Piala Thomas lalu. Jalani Sidek tergelak di sini lalu Persatuan Penulis-penulis Sukan Malaysia (SAM) membalas dengan mengeluarkan kenyataan di sini.

Seterusnya Nadzmi dan BAM minta maaf  di sini.

Terbaru, beberapa badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) mendesak pengurusan tertinggi BAM meletak jawatan dengan menunjuk perasaan di pejabat BAM di Bukit Kiara. Bagus rakyat kita yang prihatin. Tapi tak pula sebelum ini suruh pengurusan FAM, MOM, MSN letak jawatan, ek?
Baca laporan Harian Metro, Berita Harian dan New Straits Times di sini, di sini dan di sini

Siapa agaknya di belakang NGO ini? Aku tidak mahu pertikai tapi benda-benda macam ini lazimnya berbau politik. Bukannya aku tidak pernah berdepan isu macam ini dulu.

Bagi aku, kita harus kaji kenapa seorang tokoh korporat macam Nadzmi bertindak sedemikian. Nadzmi seorang tokoh usahawan yang memenangi pelbagai gelaran. Dia study actuarial science, bukan calang-calang orang boleh belajar study in statistics ni.

Biarpun NGO dan juga dalam banyak forum di dunia siber mendesak Nadzmi meletak jawatan, ia tidak akan membawa apa-apa perubahan jika tiada kajian semula dibuat terhadap corak latihan, sikap pemain, sumbangan jurulatih, sokongan sains sukan dan pengurusan BAM.

Ada yang tersirat di sebalik masalah ini.

Aku mendapat tahu ada usaha-usaha menjatuhkan Nadzmi oleh sesetengah pihak berkepentingan. Mereka mahu letak seorang individu yang mudah dicucuk hidung. Jadi boneka.

Biasalah sukan di Malaysia...sekadar menyediakan ruang untuk orang berkepentingan buat duit. Orang yang ikhlas bekerja, alamat tak lamalah dalam persatuan.

Soalnya, jika Nadzmi diganti, bolehkah penggantinya membawa perubahan, menyuntik tenaga baru di kalangan pemain dan mencarta program jangka masa panjang buat BAM?

Sesudah itu, Reny Rahayu Ishak yang turut hadir menunjuk perasaan di BAM, boleh tubuhkan skuad Sayang BAM, komandannya siapa lagi...orang UMNO jugak lah...Hebat, hebat...jangan sampai aku check siapa connection dia...


Lain kali, kalau nak serah memorandum, bagi cadangan...bukan desak pertukaran tampuk kepemimpinan...itu budak sekolah boleh buat.

Cadanglah antara lain,

1. perlembagaan BAM diubah, hadkan tempoh penggal pemegang jawatan kepada dua penggal atau lapan tahun

2. seorang supremo dilantik mengurus aspek teknikal pasukan negara dan bertanggungjawab atas semua aspek kejurulatihan, kejohanan dan pemain

3. kuasa setiausaha kehormat dibatas

4. kaji semula insentif kepada pemain agar mereka menumpu perhatian kepada kejohanan utama, bukan sekadar menduduki ranking teratas

5. rangka kertas perancangan jangka panjang dari 2010 hingga 2020 dari segi sokongan sains sukan, mengenal pasti bakat, pendedahan luar negara, pembudayaan badminton dari segi sejarah

6. juga mengingatkan BAM agar usah lupa menghantar kad jemputan kepada bekas pemain seperti Datuk Ng Boon Bee, Tan Yee Khan, Billy Ng jika ada kejohanan besar di Malaysia

Perak Cup



IN what is a carbon copy of the Sultan of Selangor Cup and the Sultan Kedah Cup, Perak has come up with their own version for the veterans itching for action, called the Perak Cup.

On May 28, this Friday to be exact, footballers who had in the past worn the Perak and Selangor jerseys would renew their rivalry.

Among those keen to wear again their boots are Azlisham Ebrahim, Hadi Tahir, Shamsul Amri Abu Bakar, Hairil Zamril Rashid, Shahril Arsat, Shahrin Majid, Mubin Mokhtar, M. Chandran, Lim Chan Yew, Nazzab Hidzan, Aiman Firdaus Tan Abdullah, Rauf Ahmad, Yuzaiman Zahari, Azlan Meri, Zami Mohd. Nor and Ahmad Shahrul Azhar Sofian.

There will also be a friendly match between RTM and TV3 on 9.30am the following day, followed by Majalah Stadium Selection against an Artiste Selection (11.15am). The magazine team will be strengthened by the presence of former Perak, Selangor, Kelantan and Armed Forces striker, Khalid Jamlus, now in limbo without a team in the M-League.

The event is organised by Manifest Media Sdn. Bhd, the publisher of Majalah Stadium, Perak State government and Radio Perak FM.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Inter for me

I believe Inter Milan and Bayern Munich deserved to provide the fitting finale to the first final to be held at Madrid since John Robertson's solitary goal ensured Nottingham Forest their second successive European title at the expense of Hamburg, Kevin Keegan and Horst Hrubesch in 1980. As to who would turn out victorious early tomorrow morning, I pick Internazionale.

Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, the modern versions of Herrera and Lattek

Helenio Herrera and Udo Lattek...special breed of coaches

Thursday, May 20, 2010

1980...Hassan, cucuk Hassan

1980 - Nottingham Forest beat Hamburg to win the European Cup, forerunner of the UEFA Champions League, for a second time.

John Lennon shot dead.

Soap opera Dallas' lead character J.R. Ewing is shot.

But Malaysian football reached the pinnacle on that fateful night of Apr 6, 1980, when Hassan Sani slalomed past two Korean defenders before delivering the pass for James Wong to nail home the winning goal that earned Malaysia one of three tickets from Asia to the Moscow Olympic Games.




Karl Weigang's boys beat the Koreans 3-0, drew 1-1 with Japan (bereft of Kunishige Kamamoto and Yasuhiko Okudera), defeated Brunei 3-1, demolished Indonesia 6-1 and the Philippines were whitewashed 8-0 as Soh Chin Aun and gang topped the group. The winner of the group, though, was determined through a playoff, so Chin Aun and Co had to negotiate a replay against second-placed South Korea, who had Huh Jung-moo among them.

The 3-0 win in the opening group tie, when James Wong, Khalid Ali and Abdullah Ali left their names on the scoresheet and substitute Cho Gwang-rae missing a penalty, needed to be consigned to history.

Malaysia's starting line-up read - R. Arumugam, Jamal Nasir Ismail, Soh Chin Aun, Santokh Singh, Kamaruddin Abdullah, Bakri Ibni, Shukor Salleh, Khalid Ali, Abdullah Ali, Hassan Sani, James Wong.

South Korea meanwhile paraded Kim Hwang-ho, Choi Jong-duk, Cho Young-jeung, Lee Jang-soo, Kim Hong-joo, Park Sang-in, Kim Gang-nam, Gwang-rae, Shin Hyun-ho, Chung Hae-won, Huh Jung-moo.

Without the speed and goalscoring instincts of Mokhtar Dahari (retired following a variety of factors), Weigang pinned his tactics on Hassan Sani's fleet foot, the defensive combo of Chin Aun-Santokh, Khalid Ali's versatility and James Wong's lanky presence upfront. 

Much to the delight of the capacity crowd at Merdeka Stadium, Perlis' poster boy Bakri opened the scoring in the 12th minute. The Koreans however equalised through Gang-nam in the 58th minute.

With five minutes remaining, Khalid's headed clearance from a freekick found Hassan in the middle of the park. The rest is history.

The country's decision to boycott the Moscow Games denied the class of 1980 to demonstrate their class at the highest amateur level for football then.

In a recent interview, James revealed that it was a crushing blow.


"It was like the world crushing upon you. Each time I watch the Olympic Games especially the opening ceremonies, it brings back the painful memory of missing the Moscow Games."

Maxis moments...Part 1

Malaysian football shall not be defined solely by milestones such as the Merdeka Tournament inaugurated in 1957 or our appearance in the Munich 1972 Olympic Games or the non-appearance in the Moscow Olympics. The 1994 bribery scandal cast a gloom over our footballing skies, leaving the game almost paralysed. The game has not quite recovered from the huge blow.

That's why we need to hold on to the memories of yore. A way to remind us Malaysia not too long ago was quite respected on the pitch.

Having written extensively on the history, the politics and the tactics of the game for almost two decades, it was somehow nice to walk down memory lane, thanks to an invite from Zareen.

Taking my family to see Datuk Soh Chin Aun, James Wong, Santokh Singh and Hassan Sani in the flesh was worth the drive to KLIA Pan Pacific.

I told my kids: "OK, ini Datuk Soh Chin Aun, dulu boleh score bila-bila dia nak, stokin sampai pergelangan kaki, ini Santokh Singh, ambik freekick pakai outstep, ini James Wong, dia score winning goal Malaysia dalam pra-Olimpik 1980, ni Hassan Sani, yang bagi pass tu"

 "this is Datuk Soh Chin Aun who could score almost at will and rolled his socks down to the ankles, Santokh who could deliver a freekick with the outstep of his boots, James the matchwinner in 1980 and Hassan, who produced the assist".



Along the MEX highway en route to KLIA, I saw a huge Maxis billboard featuring King James.

I think with all the euphoria on everything foreign with the forthcoming World Cup, it's nice for the telco to feature the four legends as part of their promotional campaign.

I shall be writing a series on this, including quotable quotes like "a crushing blow" by James and Chin Aun's "we were lucky"!

On the way back, we saw another huge Maxis billboard near Tesco Ampang, this time featuring a flying Hassan!

p/s I'm not being paid to write this (haha)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hari Guru bukan untuk guru saja

Bertuahnya aku lahir dalam keluarga guru. Ditakdirkan mendirikan rumahtangga pun dengan guru. Posting ini sedikit lewat, tetapi sebagai penghormatan buat semua guruku.

Terima kasih

1. Kepada arwah ibu bapaku yang mendidikku dan menyemai minatku terhadap dunia sukan. Ku doakan agar roh mereka tenang di alam barzakh.

2. Kepada kakakku, Hazlinda, kerana jika tanpa dorongannya yang membaca iklan Pre-Editorial Training Scheme (PETS) di New Straits Times pada 1991, aku tidak berada di mana aku berdiri sekarang.

3. Kepada mak mudaku, Haslina, kerana menjadi hos perkahwinan aku di Batu Pahat.

4. Kepada cikgu tadikaku, Cikgu Kamisah, dan Cikgu Normah, Cikgu Badrul, Cikgu Azmi, Cikgu Badariah dan ramai lain, juga Mrs Ng yang selalu menyuruh aku keluar kelas kerana buat perangai masa subjek Bahasa Inggeris, William Goldman, for exposing us to English the way it was spoken by a native.

5. Kepada Nashruladin Abdul Rahman, bekas ketua pengarang berita Berita Harian yang mengendalikan kelas Pets IV, yang menganggap aku seorang introvert.

6. Kepada bos-bos lama di Harian Metro, Mior Kamarul Shahid (kini Datuk) dan Ahmad Puad Onah yang selalu menyuruh aku membuat artikel bisnes dan Orang Jual Orang di Harian Metro pada 1991.

7. Kepada Zian Johari, kerana mengambil aku bertugas di meja sukan Berita Harian dengan bermula di Jaguh di bawah Ishak Dalib serta menyuruh aku turun naik anak tangga bawa air dan sandwich setiap kali Jaguh bermesyuarat pada Rabu.

8. Kepada Hishamuddin Aun (kini Datuk) kerana memberi peluang aku menjadi penulis lebih baik serta mengirim aku ke Piala Thomas di Jakarta 94, Kejohanan Jemputan Toulon di Perancis 95 dan Sukan SEA Chiangmai 95 sebelum aku dipindahkan ke meja berita.

9. Kepada Nasir Ahmad, yang kuanggap mentor kerana seorang yang kebijaksanaanya membaca situasi serta menuturkan kata-kata: "hero hindustan akan menang akhirnya".

10. Kepada Ibrahim Yahaya dan Manja Ismail (kedua-duanya Datuk) kerana menghantar aku membuat liputan Menteri-menteri, Parlimen dan politik meskipun sekadar sembilan bulan.

11. Kepada Saodi Mat Atar, yang menulis semula berita mengenai usaha Persatuan Sepak Takraw Malaysia (PSM) memanggil semula trio emas - Nordin Sabaruddin, Malek Shamsuddin dan Rehan Mohd Din - untuk Sukan SEA di Singapura "kau tulis macam ni, Zian sukan kalau kita main sentimen, masukkan background".

12. Kepada Rosli Safar, yang membawa aku ke Majlis Sukan Negara (MSN) di Stadium Negara dengan kereta Telstarnya.

13. Kepada P. Chandra Segar dan Husin Rahman, dua orang kuat the Malay Mail yang memujuk aku berhijrah ke MM pada September 96.

14. Kepada Khoo Kay Soon, who gave me the space to write in NST's Football Magazine.

15. To the sports editors I had the pleasure of working with, namely Chandra, Johnson Fernandez, Rajan Etickan, TJ Khoo, Tony Mariadass and Mustapha Kamaruddin.

16. Kepada pegawai sukan, atlet dan jurulatih yang memberi kerjasama, berkongsi idea, statistik dan maklumat serta tidak takut menegur apabila aku buat silap - termasuk Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad, Datuk Dell Akbar Khan, Daud Abu Kassim, Datuk Paul Mony Samuel, Datuk Seri Ibrahim Saad, Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, Rasu Maniam, Mumtaz Jaffar, Claude Le Roy, Edwin Ozolin, Morten Frost Hansen, Misbun Sidek, Ahmad Shapawi Ismail, Dr M. Jegathesan, Datuk Zolkples Embong, Hj Zaki Abdul Rahman dan tidak tersebut aku di sini...

17. Kepada rakan-rakan di BH, Metro, MM dan New Straits Times, yang mengutuk, menegur, menilai dan memuji aku.

18. Kepada New Straits Times Press kerana memberi aku VSS pada April 2008.

19. Kepada sahabat-sahabat di RTM, TV3, TV9, Astro Awani dan Astro Arena  kerana memberi aku ruang muncul di kaca TV bermula 2006.

20. Kepada pelayar blog ini yang sentiasa memberi komen dan maklum balas.

21. Last but not least, to Intan...my gem of life...

Ganga seeks an explanation, Razif for secretary?

When Razif Sidek was the chief coach of the national team, his siblings severed their ties with the BA of Malaysia (BAM) to form Nusa Mahsuri in 1994.

Now Razif is touted to be among the candidates to replace P. Ganga Rao. Read the Star's piece here

But in the meantime, Ganga wants to clear his name. Read here. Norbakti Alias, meanwhile, is bidding farewell to the world of sports journalism. Read his final column here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The end of the road

Bye, bye Thomas...among the status updates in the world of facebook.com, clearly referring to the national badminton's team defeat to China in the Thomas Cup semis a short while ago.

  China's victory was carved out in an emphatic fashion - Lin Dan clinching his first ever win over Datuk Lee Chong Wei in Malaysia, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong failing to win a set and Wong Choon Hann's sad exit from international badminton.

   What next for Malaysia?

    If heads were to roll, can that transform our fortunes?

   Study these facts:

* The Thomas Cup victory in 1992 was the Thomas-Uber-Olympic (TUO) project launched in 1988 coming to fruition. Remember Fang Kai Xiang's appointment, followed by Chen Changjie, Han Jian and Yang Yang? They masterminded Malaysia's victory over China in the semis and Indonesia in the final, with Tan Sri Elyas Omar, as the BA of Malaysia president, strategising behind the scenes and Punch Gunalan executing the plans, with the players delivering on the courts. Making cameo appearances in the 1988 and 1990 finals were a portent of things to come in 1992, whereas our last appearance in the final prior to this year's edition was 2002.

* Malaysia's over-reliance on Chong Wei and doubles specialists Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong is dangerous. Neither Chong Wei nor Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong have ever won a major championship, namely the Olympics and the world championship. Lin Dan and Taufik Hidayat, by contrast, seem to know when and how to win the tournaments that matter! Time to stop glossing over the All England!

* Internal strife that led to secretary P. Ganga Rao's sacking had a slight effect on the team, among them the delay in booking for practice time at the tournament venue.

* Time for Syawal Ismail, Misbun Ramdan Misbun, Zulfadli Zulkifli and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin to mature and make up for the shortage of singles players in Chong Wei's class.

* BAM is an example of a sports association being helmed by a corporate figure Datuk Nadzmi Salleh but he has admitted that he has had to play ball with the rest of the volunteers and behave like a politician in order to survive...so is it a case of personnel or system?

Loose cannon, in John Travolta's 1970s suit, had the pleasure of interacting with Nadzmi, Rexy Mainaky and Fairuzizuan Tazari two weeks ago in Kafe Sukan

 
And among the issues discussed were the criticism hurled at BAM

* Read

LIN DAN NOT INTERESTED IN BEING WORLD NO. 1


2010-05-14


KUALA LUMPUR (14 MAY 2010) – Three time world champion Lin Dan is not interested in chasing the mantle of being the World No. 1 ranking badminton player.


The Chinese ace bluntly told a press conference that the 'world No. 1 status does not interest him at all' as he has gained everything possible as a badminton player.


“I won everything that the badminton world has to offer. I have the Olympic gold, the world championships and the All England plus numerous other titles. What more do I want to prove my worth?,” said Lin Dan after he outplayed current World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the first singles in the Thomas Cup semi-final against China at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil tonight.


Lin Dan won 21-17, 21-8 to hand Chong Wei his first defeat in 19 matches with the much awaited Chong Wei-Lin Dan encounter lasting 48 minutes.


The win stretched Lin Dan’s wins over Chong Wei to 14 against six defeats.


Lin Dan, however, praised Chong Wei and said: “Chong Wei is the most difficult opponent to beat. He is one tough player to overcome on court.”


He rates Taufik Hidayat and Chong Wei as the best players with whom he would like to be friends with 'although I do not speak much English.'


“I want to be a better friend with Chong Wei and Taufik,” he quipped with a smile. - www.thomasuberkl2010.com

Lin Dan's statement, if one were to dissect it objectively, is proof enough that BAM ought to revise its incentive scheme which currently rewards players based on the world rankings rather the major titles that matter!

Badminton, nonethless, remains a sport that requires our support.

Former South Korean No 1 lady shuttler, Bang soo-hyun, with loose cannon - Hilton Jakarta, 1994

Loose cannon outside the Queen Elizabeth Stadium which hosted the 1998 Thomas/Uber Cup finals

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thomas Cup and I, part 2

Badminton...it continues to give me heartaches, goosebumps and unbridled joy in equal measure.

In 1992, I was a mere rookie, lost in the ensuing mayhem immediately after Rexy Mainaky's weak retrieval hit the net following Soo Beng Kiang's smash ended the nation's 25-year wait for the Thomas Cup to return to KL. I was practically hanging on to the seniors, listening to the utterances by Elyas Omar, Annuar Musa, Punch Gunalan, Rashid Sidek and his siblings.

I learn a lot by observing Nasir Ahmad conducting his interview with Misbun Sidek. Misbun was the most appropriate choice as BH's columnist, with Nasir, who had been covering badminton since his Utusan Malaysia days in the 80s, as the ghost-writer. Misbun's column was called Sekilas bersama Misbun...but Nasir was the brains behind it, with Zian Johari's nod of approval. Misbun is a dream for sports journos for he likes to come up with quotable quotes and interesting angles.

The following months, badminton dominated the headlines. Not long after the memorable victory, I was tasked to interview the Sideks at Kg Kanchung Darat, Banting. Though I was initially reluctant to join the weekly Jaguh, it dawned on me later that the stint provided me ample opportunity and time to mingle and get to know the athletes better.

In 1994, I was a sidekick to Norbakti Alias, content on covering the Uber Cup, where I spent most of the time ogling at Bang soo-hyun of South Korea. With no pressure whatsoever to come up with Thomas Cup main stories, I was happy to contribute one or two fillers, nothing earth-shattering, just to indicate to the bosses in KL that I was not on vacation. But in Jakarta, Bakti and former NSC director of international preparations, Phua Tai Neng, were under the impression that I was spending most of the time shopping. This I categorically deny (hehe). Each morning Khalid Redza, the legendary NST pixman, would wake me up and then go to the gym of the Jakarta Hilton before having breakfast. There you could practically share a table with the team, namely Rashid, Cheah Soon Kit-Soo Beng Kiang and the debutant pair, Tan Kim Her-Yap Kim Hock. The routine was to look for side stories during the practice session on top of the normal daily report.

The worst part in covering badminton is the timing. The games are usually dragged beyond the deadline. It was customary those days that we sent our stories for first edition (for Sabah and Sarawak readers) by 10.30pm. Deadline for the final edition was 12midnight. Imagine if the final game ended at 11.30pm, you have to take notes and interview and then file in your stories in a matter of a few minutes. Remember, the scoring system was played to 15 points.

On one of the few occasions that the matches dragged almost beyond the deadline, I raised my voice to the then assistant sports editor, Abdul Ghafar Ismail, who was adamant that stories be filed in earlier, in our telephone conversation. (At the press centre, pay phones were a must). "Argh, wei ingat kita kat sini cuti ke"...words coming from someone who was on his overseas assignment. Oh, then I thought: "that's it, this is my first and only overseas assignment". Was it?

Kuiz klasik bola sepak Malaysia

Ini diambil daripada laman web Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM)...www.fam.org.my...


Kuiz Klasik Pusingan 1 (12 May - 26 May 2010)

Pada tahun 1926, Persatuan Negeri Perak, Selangor, N.Sembilan, Melaka dan Persatuan Bolasepak Amatur Singapura telah bergabung menubuhkan sebuah persatuan bernama MFA.
Tujuan MFA pada masa itu adalah untuk membentuk sebuah pasukan Malaya untuk bermain dengan pasukan Australia yang sedang melawat Singapura.

Apakah nama penuh MFA?

Sila hantar jawapan anda ke kuizklasik@malaysiansuperleague.com


Peraturan-peraturan penyertaan adalah seperti berikut:-

1) Penyertaan adalah melalui e-mel sahaja. Hanya penyertaan yang dihantar ke kuizklasik@malaysiansuperleague.com akan dilayan.

2) Setiap penyertaan mesti disertai dengan NAMA, No. IC, No. TELEFON, ALAMAT dan Pusingan keberapa Kuiz.

3) Tempoh penyertaan untuk setiap pusingan kuiz adalah 2 minggu atau 14 hari dari kuiz soalan yang disiarkan di laman web www.malaysiansuperleague.com.

4) Hanya 2 pemenang untuk setiap pusingan kuiz.

5) Setiap individu dihadkan kepada satu penyertaan sahaja.

6) Kuiz ini hanya untuk warganegara Malaysia sahaja.

7) Malaysia Super League Sdn Bhd mempunyai hak mutlak untuk memilih pemenang untuk setiap pusingan kuiz.

8) Kakitangan FAM dan MSL tidak dibenarkan menyertai kuiz ini.


Hadiah-hadiah yang menanti setiap pemenang:-


Monday, May 10, 2010

Nama Mokhtar bukan untuk futsal...

Eloklah nama Allahyarham Mokhtar Dahari diabadikan di Putrajaya. Malangnya futsal bukanlah disiplin sukan yang menjulang nama Mokhtar di persada dunia.

Mokhtar pemain bola sepak 11 sepasukan yang disegani lawan dan kawan. Larian solonya pada lewat 70-dan awal 80-an kekal mekar dalam ingatanku.

Cara mengumpan kepada kawan, menggelecek sebelum meledakkan rembatan sambil berlari mahupun tandukan terbangnya, ah, Mokhtar tidak mungkin menonjol dalam ruang futsal yang kecil. Bakat Mokhtar tidak terbatas dalam ruang sebesar bendang. Sewajarnya nama Muhammad Mokhtar Dahari diabadikan di sebuah stadium besar lagi gagah...Shah Alam ataupun Petaling Jaya...atau di mana saja, asalkan ia stadium bola sepak, bukan futsal.

Maaf, Pak Menteri...kuhargai usahamu menghulurkan penghargaan. Tapi menamakan gelanggang futsal sempena nama Mokhtar, tidak kena pada tempatnya....

Baca laporan Kosmo di sini dan Berita Harian di sini

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Reliving the 1992 Thomas Cup success

If I were one of the big bosses in any of the TV stations, I would issue a directive to the production team to come up with a montage of our best badminton moments, in particular the momentous 1992 Thomas Cup victory, plus of course selected songs as background music not only to boost the team's confidence but also encourage the rakyat to support the team. Broadcast them during prime time, virtually everyday starting immediately until the team's last drop of sweat. But since I'm not in the position to do something, I've compiled the following as my contribution to the Thomas Cup team. Ayuh, Malaysia!




Rashid Sidek's memorable victory over Ardy Wiranata for the first point in 1992


Razif-Jalani were defeated by Gunawan-Eddy Hartono...

But terrier Foo Kok Keong rose to the occasion, beating Alan Budi Kusuma who three months later scooped the first Olympic gold medal in Barcelona



The winning point by Cheah Soon Kit-Soo Beng Kiang...







Pep Guardiola did not utter a single word in the dressing room ahead of the European Cup final against Manchester United in 2009. He switched off the lights and had his players transfixed watching this specially made video...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thomas Cup and I...part 1

In the course of my journalistic career, I was lucky to have covered four Thomas Cup editions. As a rookie reporter writing for Jaguh, the weekly insertion for the main paper Berita Harian, I bore witness to the 1992 Thomas Cup success in the bowels of Stadium Negara!

1994 - in what was my maiden international outing as a sports reporter, the 1994 edition was best remembered for the commotion during the final at Istora Senayan, a throwback to the 1967 final...and Yap Kim Hock-Tan Kim Her's debut as well as Razif-Jalani Sidek's swansong.

1998 - my first trip to Hong Kong, the scrumptious dim sum at the halal canteen and the fact we emerged runners-up to Indonesia. At the airport upon our return, I was given a lecture by Cheah Soon Kit, never an easy character to deal with. Also I liked to poke fun at the BAM general manager, Phua Tai Neng, formerly from the National Sports Council (NSC), saying that his role as the assistant manager included sending faxes to the then PM's wife, Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, now Tun. Earlier that year we qualified for the finals after successfully negotiating the prelims in Manila, where I bought a nice pair of shoes made of crazy horse leather (later stolen at Masjid Negara).

2000 - forgettable edition as BAM was internally rocked by bickering...well what else is new?

By the time the 2004 edition was held, I had given up covering the sport. I had a long list of enemies, mostly within the BA of Malaysia (BAM) set-up.

to be continued...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Di balik tabir Slovakia

Nampaknya dua stesen Astro - Arena dan Awani - memaparkan kisah Harimau Muda A di Slovakia sepanjang dua hari ini. Ada yang tidak kena dengan persiapan anak buah Azraai Khor di Zlate Moravce. Arena yang mengirim Fina Nasrom ke sana baru-baru ini, melaporkan pergeseran Azraai dengan jurulatih penjaga gol, P Mohana Sundram, manakala Awani mendedahkan Azraai tidak lagi "berkuasa", sebaliknya tugasnya diambil alih oleh Ladislav Totkovic atau lebih mesra digelar Laco.

Betulkah Laco (kanan) mengambil alih tempat Azraai?

Sebenarnya, desas-desus Azraai hilang kuasa bertiup kencang selepas media arus perdana melaporkan Laco dilantik selaku penasihat teknikal. Namun Azraai, dalam mesejnya kepada loose cannon menerusi laman sosial Facebook, berkata itu tidak benar, sebaliknya Laco, bekas jurulatih Kosice, membantu memberi input mengenai pihak lawan. Awani malam tadi memetik dua pemain di sana sebagai mengesahkan perkembangan itu. Khabarnya sesetengah pemain sudah mula hilang hormat terhadap Azraai yang disifatkan sebagai jurulatih yang rileks dan tidak menitik beratkan ketegasan dan disiplin, mungkin disebabkan tabiatnya yang melayani anak buahnya seperti orang dewasa.

 Perkembangan ini nampaknya memberi ruang sesetengah pihak menangguk di air yang keruh dan cuba memecah-belahkan pasukan. Laco barangkali diletakkan di situ disebabkan keakrabannya dengan Miroslav Bozik, bekas perancang tengah Negeri Sembilan yang menjadi pengurus projek dan ejen membawa pasukan ke Slovakia.

 Kisah terbaru ini sedikit sebanyak menjejaskan semangat sepasukan di saat mereka bersiap menjelajah ke Amerika Syarikat pula untuk menyertai kejohanan jemputan Green Soccer Bowl 20 Mei ini. Azraai pula berpatah arang dengan Mohana, apabila memutuskan jurulatih penjaga gol itu dikirim pulang ke Wisma FAM secepat mungkin. Di sebalik kemelut ini, setidak-tidaknya dua anak muda, Muslim Ahmad dan K. Gurusamy sedang giat memikat Vion Zlate Moravce dengan niat bermastautin di situ jika ada rezeki. Gurusamy yang beraksi di posisi tengah bertahan menggantikan Gary Steven Robert yang mengalami kecederaan pergelangan kaki. Loose cannon berharap semua pihak tidak mudah melatah. Jika ada unsur-unsur khianat dan kepentingan peribadi, Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM) harus adakan siasatan.


K. Gurusamy menjalani ujian pemilihan Vion Zlate Moravce

Bersama Muslim Ahmad

Mohana Sundram pula boleh pulang ke kampung halaman dan tidak akan menyertai pasukan ke Amerika Syarikat

Gary Steven Robert mengalami kecederaan pergelangan kaki

Monday, May 3, 2010

Celebs + athletes?

Run as one...that's the tagline for this year's Kuala Lumpur International Marathon taking place on June 27. What better way for the fragmented and highly political sports fraternity to show unity for one day than running, walking or trudging along in the marathon.

I was told Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek participated in last year's event. This time around, Shabery should consider calling the sports fraternity to take part as well. Having trained with the Thomas Cup squad alongside his deputy Datuk Razali Ibrahim (picture shows the duo practising at the newly launched Putrajaya futsal centre ahead of the Hari Belia celebration), Shabery is the sort of leader who likes to show the way. Sure some of his policies and decisions are questionable but one thing's for sure, Shabery is a man of action.

Let's start with his staff at the Ministry. Then the National Sports Council (NSC), where director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong can walk side by side with MAAU deputy president, Karim Ibrahim, instead of having a war of words in the Press, and Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim has officials and athletes from four national associations - athletics, kabbadi, swimming and petanque - to call upon and register for the marathon.

FA of Malaysia (FAM) too can enter K. Rajagobal and his band of footballers.





Well, if the likes of Fahrin Ahmad, Atilia Haron, Amy Mastura and Zainalabidin can take time and participate in the marathon, why not our elite athletes, the cream of the crop who are supposed to embody the spirit of sportsmanship, sporting excellence and the Olympic ideals, that it does not matter if you don't win. Video courtesy of runwitme.blogspot.com.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Farewell King Arthur

A man known for his thunderbolt headers. Formed a much-vaunted triumvirate with Ghani Minhat and Robert Choe

Can you recognise Sexton Lourdes, Abdullah Nordin, Edwin Dutton, Ghani Minhat, Robert Choe among them? Arthur second from left, front row

During his heyday

Choo Seng Quee coached Malaysia to the 1958 Merdeka Tournament victory and the 1962 Asian Games bronze medal in Jakarta. Legend has it he would not allow the players to go back unless they hit the designated target during shooting practice...a real taskmaster but more appreciated across the Causeway.

Each time I bumped into him, I got the impression that he was a man of few words. Or he must have thought a journalist too young to see him play would not be interested in listening to him dwelling about the past. Much to my regret, I never did take the opportunity to dig into his past, though I knew him as a legend.
Arthur Koh was a member of the FAM disciplinary board for the past 10 years, having been brought back into the set-up by Datuk Dell Akbar Khan when he was the general secretary. But many will remember him as part of the legendary team of the 50s coached by Uncle Choo Seng Quee. King Arthur is gone. He passed away on Monday, aged 74. Rest in peace.

Kenapa aku tidak setuju dengan Wan Jamak...

Rakan senegeri aku, Wan Jamak Hassan, kata Negeri Sembilan tidak perlu menyertai Piala AFC tahun depan, takut-takut aibkan Malaysia dan FAM.

Janganlah macam ini, coach. Cuba lihat gambaran lebih besar...

Kerana bagi aku, Piala AFC tempat mengasah kemampuan dan mutu permainan pemain dan pasukan kita.

Betul, kita tidak ada pemain import. Jadi ini peluang pemain macam Halim Zainal adik si kembar Faizal dan Khairil, Aliff Shamsuddin, K. Thanaraj asah parang. Selangor dahului Liga Perdana tapi diaibkan Becamex Binh Duong dari Vietnam dan Sriwijaya dari Indonesia. Kedua-duanya diperkuatkan oleh tenaga import.

Sebenarnya, bagi aku, biar kalah tapi menang dalam jangka masa panjang.

Piala AFC sebenarnya macam kursus buru diploma selepas dapat sijil dalam Liga Super. Liga Juara-juara Asia pula macam ijazah sarjana muda.

Dalam bola sepak, tanyalah mana-mana jurulatih. Pengalaman cukup penting.

Macam Negeri Sembilan, ada Idris Karim yang pada usia 19 tahun berdepan Juninho Pernambucano di Toulon, ada Shukor Adan yang mencatur gerak pasukan kebangsaan dari 2001, Zaquan Adha dan Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak yang banyak mengumpul caps antarabangsa. Pengalaman mereka membezakan Negeri Sembilan dengan banyak team lain.

Jika ada pasukan kita yang cemerlang di peringkat Piala AFC (yang mempertemukan pasukan dari kelompok kedua "negara membangun" dari Asia), ini akan menyumbang kepada kebaikan pasukan kebangsaan.

Tinggal lagi, aku nak cadangkan FAM beri peluanglah Negeri Sembilan guna tenaga import untuk Piala AFC saja. Asalkan syarat-syarat AFC dipenuhi. Kalau tidakpun, elok juga buka semula pintu kepada pemain import, macam yang pernah aku sarankan dalam Wisel Penamat dan beberapa rancangan sukan TV lain.

Satu lagi, kepada Menteri Besar Negeri Sembilan, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, elok juga kalau Datuk Seri tawarkan ganjaran lumayan jika cemerlang dalam Piala AFC. Sekurang-kurangnya ini mengajak kita berfikir luar daripada kepompong "jaguh kampung" kita. Mungkin juga boleh kurangkan hadiah kemenangan Piala FA dan Liga Super untuk tampung belanja Piala AFC.

Macam juga atlit negara, tidak payahlah fikir Sukan SEA saja. Bukankah Sukan Asia, Sukan Komanwel dan Sukan Olimpik terbentang luas?