Friday, November 28, 2008

And Federer's favourite footballer is...

Thierry Henry...and Luis Figo.

"I am a huge fan of Barcelona and Basel," said Federer.

I admire these three gentlemen...Trezeguet for his clinical finishing, a real classy marksman, Henry for his overall ability, combining his gazelle-like grace and physical presence to great effect and Tony Yee for his humility, creativity and writing skills.

It was unfortunate that Tony was largely unnoticed and under-appreciated by the Malay Mail management. By contrast Henry and Trezeguet were given due recognition by not only their superiors but football fans around the globe. This picture was taken when Gerard Houllier's men made a transit stop for the 1997 FIFA World Youth Cup at Shah Alam, when the two players were little known outside France.

They eventually lost to Uruguay through a penalty shoot-out but not before I had the good fortune of witnessing one of Trezeguet's trademark goals and Henry's frightening pace (on one occasion, upon receiving a long pass deep from defence, Henry cushioned header the ball over Martin Rivas and simply outpaced the defender before sending his shot wide).

I wrote a preview of the quarterfinal


Playing style: Uruguay play 4-4-2 with one defensive midfielder, one roving playmaker and two solid attacking midfielders making rapid runs to support the two frontrunners. When in possession, the Uruguayans cover so much space with just a few passes. Their build-ups are straightforward, unlike their cousins Argentina or Brazil who prefer to dwell on the ball or lull the opponents into complacency before unleashing their powers. Splendid off the ball running means the South Americans are capable of confusing the opponents with midfield maestro and skipper Christian Callejas the free man with good support from Walter Coelho and Cesar Pellegrin on the left and Inti Podesta and Daniel Lembo or Carlos Diaz on the right. The target upfront is usually towering Marcelo Zalayeta while his partner, Nicolas Olivera, is a fleet-footed southpaw who can throw his marker off balance with his turning.

Strength: Technically adroit, tactically mature and very physical, Uruguay look the perfect machine. Long-haired anchorman Pablo Garcia has yet to really unleash his dead-ball speciality. Had a good match practice in beating United States 3-0 in the second round. Defence have conceded only one goal, to Malaysia's Nik Ahmad Fadly Nik Leh.

Weakness: There is no apparent weakness in the South American side. Every department was in working order in the group matches.

Motivation: Prominence has been given to their more glamorous cousins, Brazil and Argentina, while Uruguay quietly topped Group A with some panache before marching into the quarterfinals.

Probable line-up: Gustavo Munua, Carlos Diaz, Daniel Lembo, MartinRivas, Cesar Eduardo Pellegrin, Pablo Garcia, Christian Callejas, Walter Coelho, Inti Podesta, Marcelo Zalayeta, Nicolas Olivera.


Playing style: Identical to the French senior team, the France Under-20 side play a square back-four with three midfielders forming another defensive block. The midfield runners are entrusted to form the first defensive barrier as well as working hard to launch attacks for skipperThierry `Titi' Henry and Argentine-descent David Trezeguet to capitalise upon with one attacking or sometimes two midfielders in a supporting role. That means coach Gerard Houllier interchanges between 4-3-1-2 or 4-4-2 formation with ease but the former Paris St Germain (PSG) tactician is expected to crowd his engine room to neutralise the danger posed byUruguay midfielders Coelho and Podesta. Henry and Trezeguet must also attack at the byline to force Uruguay wingbacks Pellegrin and Diaz from utilising the gaps on the flanks.

Strength: Monaco duo Henry and Trezeguet are lethal finishers while Bordeaux's Peter Luccin and Rennes' diminutive Yoann Bigne combine well as midfield workhorses. Confidence sky-high after defeating Mexico through a last-minute goal from Luccin.

Weakness: They lack a genuine playmaker in the mould of Zinedine Zidane. Despite the presence of Henry and Trezeguet, France face difficulties in connecting the midfield and the forwardline. The heat may take its toll on Houllier's players. Several of them have succumbed to the heat-stroke in Kuching. Mentally fragile.

Motivation: As European champions, France want to hold the flag high as well as bettering their predecessors' seventh finish in 1977.

Probable line-up: Mickael Landreau, Mickael Silvestre, Willy Sagnol, Jean-Sebastien Jaures, William Gallas, Peter Luccin, Yoann Bigne, Kadjo Afanou, Cedric Mouret, Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet.

The match report

URUGUAY were tactically astute to march into the semifinals of the Youth World Cup for the first time since 1979 at Shah Alam Stadium last night.

Deemed as the home team after winning three matches and drawing one at the main venue, Uruguay - or nicknamed Charuas - were set to match European champions France blow by blow.

In the end, the South Americans could have wrapped up the match without venturing into the heart-stopping penalty shootout if not for some superb goalkeeping by Mickael Landreau who kept the Uruguayans at bay except for Nicolas Olivera's equaliser in the 68th minute.

Uruguay, who finished fourth in the South American under-20 championships early this year, will now take on African's lone representative, Ghana, on Wednesday for a place in the final on Saturday. With the dramatic win, Uruguayan coach Victor Pua handed his more illustrious counterpart, Gerard Houllier, a defeat which was difficult to swallow.

As far as Pua was concerned, his team were more solid overall and fully deserved their place in the last four.

"I think we were the better team overall even if France had a strong patch in the 15 minutes before half time. They pushed us all the way and I have to admit it was the toughest match for us thus far. As the European champions, they are a truly great team.

"I really suffered during the penalties. It is good if your team win but it is a different scenario altogether if you end up on the losing side,"said Pua.

After assessing the opponents' strengths and weaknesses on tape, Pua knew the French looked jaded against Mexico and could have trouble keeping pace with his hard running men.

Furthermore, the French, with the classic formation of four defenders, prefered to adopt the offside strategy which was always risky against fleet-footed opponents.

And, in 18-year-old left-footer Eduardo Pellegrin, Pua had a trumpcard. The left back, who idolises Enzo Francescoli, was instructed to stay close to the byline and pounce on long passes from defence.

In one such move, Uruguay managed to cancel the French opening goal converted by Argentine-descent David Trezeguet.

Anchorman Pablo Garcia saw Pellegrin unmarked near the byline and he threaded the pass when the French defence were caught square.

Rightback Willy Sagnol tried to cover space but Pellegrin had all the time in the world to choose the receiver of his inch-perfect pass. The Danubio player then pumped in the cross for Olivera to chest it home past Landreau for that all-important equaliser.

In the 30 minutes of extra time, Uruguay came close several times and had at least three clear-cut chances to put the issue beyond doubt through Olivera and Pellegrin's replacement, Mario Regueiro.

And of course a tribute to the French team.

IT was the end of an epoch for AS Monaco young star Thierry Henry and several of his French Under-20 colleagues as Les Bleus bid "Au Revoir" to the 11th Youth World Cup last night.

Most of the players in Gerard Houllier's team were together for almost six years since their Under-14 days but it appears that they will go their separate ways after suffering a heart-breaking penalty shootout defeat to Uruguay at Shah Alam Stadium last night.

Henry and centrebacks Philippe Christanval and William Gallas were part of the French Under-14 team coached by Christian Damiano six years ago but two of them did not end the match while the other came in as a substitute last night.

Looking a spent force, Henry was taken off in the 75th minute to make way for Arsenal's Nicolas Anelka while Gallas was given the marching orders after a second bookable offence in the 85th minute for a foul on nippy Nicolas Olivera.

In the 79th minute, Christanval replaced rightback Willy Sagnol who had given Uruguay's leftback Eduardo Pellegrin so much space leading to the equaliser by Olivera in the 67th minute. The defeat was perhaps a relief for Henry. A win for the French would mean another ardous task ahead for Henry who had played 60 matches the whole season.

Apart from helping Monaco to win the French league, Henry was a vital member of Jean Tigana's team that entered the UEFA Cup semi-finals, skipper of the French Under-18 side who took the European title as well as the Toulon tournament earlier this month.

Last night Henry, who turns 20 in August, looked jaded despite showing flashes of brilliance which prompted Spanish champions Real Madrid to pursue his signature. In the first half alone, Henry had the crowd at their feet by thrice outsprinting the Uruguayan defence led by Martin Rivas only to see his feeble attempts saved by keeper Gustavo Munua.

After Argentine-descent David Trezeguet scored his fifth goal of the tournament in the 26th minute, the French then thought the game was theirs for the taking when Henry was released by midfielder Kodjo Afanou in the58th minute but again Munua was up to the challenge.

The Signature Photoshoot

What's all the commotion? Why are there so many men in black? Are Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in town?
Well, actually the four players in the recent Showdown of Champions KL 2008 - Borg, McE, Fed-Ex and Blake - were ferried from Mandarin Oriental to the KLCC Park by using a buggy driven by Lily, a girl, for the signature photoshoot.
A great shot from Teng Wei is the end product. You can judge his work here. Well, notice the autographs?

This is what you get from a normal camera

Hammam v Velappan

Hammam issued a statement following a series of Malay Mail's articles in 2004
Westerners run AFC House...hehehe

It was back in early 2004 that I wrote about the first signs of a rift between Mohamed Bin Hammam and Peter Velappan, with the Malay Mail carrying a series of articles indicating there was a conspiracy designed by his enemies to give Velappan the boot.

Naturally Velappan was not too happy with the report and he even threatened to sue me and the paper. I really did not understand his reasonings then because I felt at that point of time I was doing him a great favour and the articles were meant to defend a fellow Malaysian who had established himself as a respected football administrator. Well, I had plenty of things to write then.

So when I was summoned to Velappan's office a short while after we ran the stories, I was taken aback when one of my sources was there too. He was in fact providing Velappan the ammunition to attack me. Talk about betrayal of the highest order. But I did not stoop to his level. I could have easily revealed to Velappan that person was in fact the snitch, the mole. But I did not. I wanted to protect him. He was not the issue. The real story was that a wedge had been driven between Hammam and Velappan. But sometimes in life, wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

The war of words between Hammam and Velappan is not entirely surprising then. Imagine, Hammam accusing Velappan of having undermined and conspired against previous AFC presidents.

Read Hammam's theories, Tengku Abdullah given the mandate and East and West divide
My question to Velappan is, did he really conspire against Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah and his successor Sultan Ahmad Shah?

To Hammam, I'm pretty sure he was the one who instructed Velappan to write the letter to the Malaysian Government, laying out his demands which among others the diplomatic status for the AFC president.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Surviving England

The Towkay who played as if he owned the pitch

We all miss his marauding runs, work ethics, nose for goals and above all the person in him, dearly

The midfield maestro who once shared the pitch with Uli Hoeness and Ottmar Hitzfeld

Sudanese-Malaysian who enjoyed Karl Weigang's implicit trust

An opportunistic marksman

A reader Julian Kok writes:

"There was an argument not too long ago regarding some Malaysian footballers who can play in the English league. Top of the list, if I am not wrong, is Mokhtar Dahari. Many people agreed that he had the right physique and mental attitude to take on the hardest and toughest defence in the then English First Division.

"The issue is this: Who else from Malaysia's footballing past (and present, if I dare) could have made it. I have broken them down into the divisions in which they could have played years ago... Feel free to add, subtract and offer your kind (or sarcastic/caustic) remarks.

1) English 1st Division (before Premier-ship)

- Mokhtar Dahari

2) 2nd Division

- Soh Chin Aun
- Arumugam
- Santokh Singh
- Shukor Salleh
- Wong Chun Wah
- Jamal Nasir

3) 3rd Division

- Isa Bakar
- James Wong
- Zainal Abidin
- Ong Yu Tiang
- Rosmaini

4) 4th Division

- Khalid ali
- Abdah Alif

I believe there are many others who would have plenty to say about this list.

Best Regards

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Takziah buat Nasir

Bekas Pengarang Majalah Dunia Sukan, penulis badminton dan kini penyunting sukan di Berita Harian, Nasir Ahmad, kehilangan ibunya buat selama-lamanya. Nasir adalah guru dan mentor aku yang menasihatkan aku agar bersabar "kerana hero Hindustan akan menang akhirnya." Salam takziah daripada aku, Intan dan anak-anak.

So, who is Federer's favourite footballer?

Roger just before he boarded the private jet from Shanghai

Last year he was wearing jeans. This year Roger made sure he was properly attired for the dinner with DPM. Blake looks like a film star, I might add

No wonder Cikgu Badiozaman called me Kenit (shorty) those days. The rest of Class 1A, led by monitor Haizan Khir Johari, followed suit. I'm a midget among giants.

Bernama TV's Azlani (left) and Aziman with the Swiss ace

Angela Archer of IMG (foreground) is the link person between the stars and the rest of the world

A lively chat

Venue: Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Time: Late afternoon, sometime last week

Question: I'm upset and disappointed with your decision to relocate.
Answer: No, it is just that we want to have a formal agreement with the Malaysian Government. It is not necessary that we relocate.

Question: I thought whatever issues you have would have been discussed when the Deputy Prime Minister and the Sports Minister paid you a courtesy call last year, shortly after the Asian Cup?
Answer: Yes, I thought so too. We were expecting a follow-up.

Question: Has someone from the Ministry spoken to you and discuss your requests?
Answer: No, not at all. Nobody has come to us.

Question: Is it true you want AFC to be based in the Middle East or Singapore?
Answer: Hahaha...good attempt, you are a journalist, always a journalist.

Question: What is that you want, Sir? Diplomatic status?
Answer: I get zero privileges from the Malaysian Government, you know, there is no agreement that bounds AFC to be based in Malaysia. We must have a formal agreement and clear guidelines that protect the interests of AFC and its employees.

The conversation between AFC president Mohamed bin Hammam and I was witnessed by three others. Some feel AFC should leave, which will allow FA of Malaysia to move to Bukit Jalil. After all I was told that the piece of land that houses Wisma FAM at Kelana Jaya is worth slightly more than what FAM used to get from Dunhill in the 90s.

Read these too letter to editor, AFC's wish list, Peter Velappan's take, Hammam's promises, No way Jose, Hammam extends olive branch

Mr Hammam once offered me a job, saying: "It's better to have with you the devil you know than the devil you don't". I politely declined, insisting that: "Once I become an employee, I wouldn't be able to engage you on the same level."

Mr Hammam with his youngest son, Zayed

Former FIFA general secretary Urs Linsi, loose cannon and PV. PV once threatened to sue me and often called me Rascal... little did he realise I was the only journalist interested to carry stuffs on the AFC and its activities when he was the general secretary. My being labelled a Rascal was simply due to the fact that I do not like to merely skim the surface.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Doa kami buat VCD peddler

Omay bersama isteri dan anak-anak
Selepas lama tidak ketemu Omay atau nama sebenarnya Omar Tarmizi Ahmad Shaibi, aku terserempak dengannya ketika singgah di pejabat lama. Tidak sempat bersembang, Omay memaklumkan kepada aku dia kena pergi pemeriksaan lanjut kerana saluran jantungnya disyaki tersumbat! Pagi tadi aku menerima panggilan bahawa dia terpaksa menjalani pembedahan pintasan jantung. Empat salurannya dah tersumbat. Aku memberitahu rakan-rakan lama di Malay Mail. Di kalangan kakitangan Malay Mail Mac 2006-Mac 2008, Omay dikenali sebagai tukang lawak dan diberi gelaran VCD peddler atau pembantu peribadi kepada politikus, Datuk Dr Jason Goh. Apapun Omay, kami doakan semuanya selamat.

Special mention

From left Loose Cannon armed with a pen, Datuk Abdul Latiff Endot who was then the private principal secretary to the Sports Minister, read the aviator, former National Sports Council (NSC) director-general, Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad and his anointed successor, Datuk Zolkples Embong whose appointment took place almost two years later than the original plan. Picture taken when all four were lighter on the weighing scale

He's a well-connected former journalist

Two names were given special mention by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak in his opening address at the National Sports Convention on Tuesday, that of Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad and former New Straits Times sports journalist, Randhir Singh.
Najib recalled the days when he was the Sports Minister (between 1986-1990) with Randhir always snapping at his heels, whereas Mazlan was the deputy director-general at the National Sports Council (NSC).
Both Mazlan and Randhir attended the convention in different capacities, with the former now serving the Sports Ministry as the Sports Advisory Panel (SAP) chairman while the former journo came and spoke as an observer.
I hold both Mazlan and Randhir in high regard. Mazlan for his contributions and strategic thinking as he oversaw the successful Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in 1998, his foresight in developing programmes at grassroots level for bowling, weightlifting and diving, to name a few, and in managing the myriad of characters that run the scene, without projecting himself too much and in the process overshadow the politicians. And he had no qualms in engaging the Press with his thoughts or anger, as once I found out. I was on the receiving end in 1997 after I wrote a story in the Malay Mail on Watson Nyambek's coach Daniel St Hilaire being shown the door owing to the sprinter's poor showing in the SEA Games, under the heading 10.53 - you're out.
The intro - IT took only 10.53 seconds to send three years of pure hard work by Watson Nyambek and his mentor Daniel St. Hilaire down the MAAU drain. "Ini masalahnya dengan kau ni, tulis tak pakai otak!" (this is the trouble with you, you write without using your brains) was the rollicking I got over the phone shortly after the story was published. Mazlan encouraged discourse between the Press and NSC and he practised an open door policy, particularly at the tailend of his tenure.
Growing up in the 80s, I seldom missed Randhir's column Inside Track, which centred mainly on track and field. Very few can hold a candle to Randhir when it comes to cultivating his contacts especially among officialdom. It is widely known that Randhir enjoys a special relationship with the Sports Ministers down the years. He too gave Sukom'98 chairman, Tan Sri Hashim Mohd Ali, brother-in-law of the former Prime Minister, a hard time yet don't be surprised if the two are slotted in the same flight for a game of golf. Occasionally Randhir keeps quite a number of prominent figures company at the golf course.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A topic for the National Sports Convention

Perhaps the ongoing National Sports Convention should also discuss some of the points raised by kijangmas here. I've reproduced excerpts of his brutally honest posting below, without his permission.

Even sports are caught up in this crippling racial imbroglio. Pay TV operator, Astro, somehow deemed it cute and proper to spin short promo clips of Malaysian Olympians talking in their “mother” tongues. Lee Chong Wei and other ethnic-Chinese Malaysian athletes uttered their hopes in Mandarin, likewise others spoke in Tamil and English. Only ethnic-Malay Olympians spoke in Bahasa Malaysia, as if the National Language has been relegated to be on par with the other languages and only applicable to the Malays. I’m sure many of us would be interested in Lee Chong Wei’s aspirations. But we will never know because he is speaking in the national language of China and not even the Hokkien or Cantonese of his household! So in effect, barely a fifth of Malaysians knew what the heck Lee Chong Wei and the ethnic-Chinese Malaysian Olympians were saying and seven percent or less could comprehend the Tamil utterances of the ethnic–Tamil athletes. Hence, is it really a wonder why Lee Chong Wei’s endeavour to Olympic Silver was not followed with the passion of the past by the nation and hardly celebrated upon his triumphal return? Why no open top motorcade processions in the kampungs di setiap pelusuk tanah air, like the 1992 Thomas Cup heroes? Because Mandarin-speaking Chong Wei was not regarded as “one of us” by the ubiquitous Malay masses out there? What was Astro trying to prove?

Events such as the Olympics, where our athletes are supposed to represent the country as a cohesive, united nationalistic Malaysian Race -- as uttered in our battle hymn, “Satu Bangsa, Satu Negara, Malaysia Berjaya” – would require complete cohesion with a sense of shared destiny, not a patchwork of variegated ethnic groups, tribes and suku kaums whose only affinity with one another is their mutual contempt and suspicion.

What happened to our cohesive, triumphal sports teams? Remember our football and hockey teams of the sixties, seventies and eighties? And our Thomas Cup winners of 1992? Recall how cohesive they were and how patriotic we were then? Remember our 1975 World Cup hockey team? We almost made it to the final if not for two heartbreak goals by ultimate champions India. Yes, we were perched on top of the world. Remember our Bangsa Malaysia hockey team of that period? Khairuddin Zainal the rock in goal, skipper Sri Shanmuganathan marshalling the defense with authority, and Poon Fook Loke the bane of opposing defenses. They were Anak Malaysia, they were Bangsa Malaysia, they were our Pasukan Kebangsaan! What’s the state of Malaysian hockey now? We cannot even make the cut to a crowded 12 team field in the Beijing Olympics. What happened to the Foo Keat Songs, Sarjit Singhs and M. Mahendrans of Malaysian hockey? How come Malays now dominate our hockey scene? Do we have to blame this on the NEP as well? I don’t recall any 70% quota on national representation

Did we view our football legends, Mokhtar Dahari, Soh Chin Aun, R. Arumugam and Santokh Singh, through race-tinted lenses? Of course not. They were members of the Bangsa Malaysia team that reigned supreme in Asia, even won the Bronze at the 1974 Teheran Asian Games and qualified for the 1972 and 1980 Olympics. Remember when Malaysian football dominated Southeast Asia and was superior to South Korea, Japan and the West Asian teams that are today regular attendees in World Cups? Can we recall Chin Aun, Arumugam and Santokh talking on TV in any other language but Bahasa Malaysia? Of course not. They were proud members of Bangsa Malaysia, confidently speaking in one voice. Chin Aun – the Babaesque Malacca native -- was the unquestioned skipper, leader and libero for a decade. He was the Towkay. Remember? Would we ever have another ethnic-Chinese captain of the Malaysian football team? Heck no. Forget that question. Let’s make it simpler. Can anyone name one ethnic-Chinese player in our current pasukan kebangsaan? No? Remember when we had Chow Chee Keong or Lim Fung Kee or Wong Kam Fook in goal; Chin Aun in defense; Wong Choon Wah the midfield general; and Yip Chee Keong in attack – all on the same field for Malaysia at the same time? Later came the likes of Lim Chuan Chin, Ong Yu Tiang, James Wong, Wong Hung Nung, Lee Kin Hong, Chow Siew Yai, Khan Hung Meng, Tang Siew Seng and Lim Teong Kim. These were fantastic players, many good enough to pursue professional careers in foreign lands.

We were a cohesive group of 45,000 screaming and laughing members of Bangsa Malaysia at Merdeka Stadium. On many occasions, I was there as a member of this Bangsa Malaysia. I can vividly recall our 1977 KL SEA Games Dream Team that trashed then-Burma 9-1 and overpowered Thailand 2-0 in the final. In fact, I can still utter their names as they are etched in the collective memories of my generation. Heck, I’ll say it now as they deserved to be remembered for posterity. This team of seven Malays (Jamal Nasir, Yahaya Jusoh, Abdah Alif, Shukor Salleh, Bakri Ibni, Isa Bakar and Mokhtar Dahari), two ethnic-Chinese (Soh Chin Aun and James Wong), an ethnic-Tamil (R. Arumugam) a Punjabi Sikh (Santokh Singh) and a Sarawak Dayak substitute (James Yaakub) were the embodiment of the Malaysian Race, the Bangsa Malaysia. These were the idols of Malaysian sports fans across the land. The Malaysian football team was our team, the Bangsa Malaysia team. At the neighbourhood padang, my gang took turns to mimic Arumugam in goal and Chin Aun as the libero and, of course, SuperMokh, Mokhtar Dahari. My buddy, Ow Chak Yoon would mimic the RTM running commentary as the rest of us scurry after the tattered football; his impersonation of Zulkarnaen Hassan in ecstasy over a Malaysian goal was uncanny, surreal, and reverberates in my ears whenever I look at old faded photographs of my classmates. Oh yes, every ethnic-Chinese in my Standard Six class wanted to be Mokhtar Dahari on the field. I always imagined I was the great Chin Aun, elegantly caressing the ball with imperious presence in the Malaysian backline. Race was never an issue. These football legends belonged to all of us Bangsa Malaysia, speaking in one voice, striving for the same goal. Three decades later, our sports teams have degenerated into a collection of Mandarin, Tamil and English- and Manglish-speaking individuals, with Bahasa Malaysia uttered only by the Malays, and even that in mutually-unintelligible Kelantanese, Kedahan and assorted Borneo dialects. No wonder we have become minnows in team sports, where team mates could hardly communicate, let alone strategise. Our football team is now ranked 160 by FIFA, sandwiched between such powerhouses as Lesotho and St. Lucia. Where the heck is St. Lucia? Our hockey team has all but dissipated under the astroturf. Our badminton team is a shambles. These are just a small sampling of the price we all pay for our lack of national unity, lack of national identity, lack of national cohesion. I think it is utterly Scandalous. Kita semua sudah gila ka?

Friday, November 7, 2008


What does the US President-elect have in common with the rest?

The US President, come January

The new MHF president

The Prime Minister-in-waiting

Was just a step away from the Prime Ministership
Former Sports Minister (left) and wife (right)

The Twin Towers...the towering figures in the national football team

A southpaw and 1996 Olympics silver medallist

Under Signore Benito's Fascist regime, Serie A was conceived

"Victory belongs to the most persevering" is attributed to this Corsican.

He is the progenitor of a beautiful chick

A skeleton in Clinton's closet
The man behind numerous thrillers

He and his girlfriend will arrive in KL on Nov 17

Once the chief operating officer of FA of Malaysia

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Easy job for MHF

The 99-page proposal by the Group of 102 ex-international hockey players to resuscitate the game is now in public domain and can be dissected here, the answers to our hockey woes

A small group of ex-players worked on the proposal which was submitted to the Ministry of Sports recently, supported by 37 Olympians, 29 World Cuppers, nine former national coaches, two former national team managers, 10 former national captains, one former World XI and 10 former Asian All Stars.

The new Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) president, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, and his team plus the two committees he intends to form (read here), will not have to crack their heads and split hairs. All they need to do is to implement the ideas expressed by the Group of 102!

And how lucky can MHF get. The Prime Minister in-waiting is from Pahang, and so is the Minister of Youth and Sports. Both are subjects of the State of Pahang, of which Tengku Abdullah is the royal second-in-command after his Ayahanda, Sultan Ahmad Shah. I'm very sure Tengku Abdullah will garner the necessary support to make things happen. If not, he will have to forget hockey and focus his energy on becoming the president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Tun M and I part deux

( From left) renowned psychiatrist Tan Sri M. Mahadevan, renowned blogger the Tun and renowned businessman, Datuk Abdul Razak Latiff

Among my collection of Tun's books, these two now bear the Tun's autograph

The Tun and Datuk Malek Mydin. Malek's in-laws reside about 200 metres away from my in-laws' place in Kulim. Way back in 1993, I covered Malek as he huffed and puffed his way en route to finishing the East Coast Tour, or Jelajah Pantai Timur organised by the Wilayah Persekutuan Cycling Association. His brother Mutalib was a mechanic for one of the teams. Fame has not changed his much, as once he said hello to me at an R&R on the highway.

Former First Cartel chairman and Le Tour de Langkawi's driving force, Datuk Wan Lokman Wan Ibrahim (left), carries his camera wherever he goes, while Mahadevan did not ride on this particular day. "I've just recovered from flu," he told me. We chatted briefly about Botak Chin, as the Malay Mail once ran a series of articles on the plan to make a film based on the notorious criminal, here. I remember covering Wan Lokman during LTDL'97, the only edition which brought the peloton across the South China Sea, from Sabah back to Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi. "It was a logistical nightmare," he recalled. As for me, I enjoyed the experience of boarding the C-130, though. The food was not bad!

My guess is the Tun endorses Razak's bid in becoming the Equestrian Association of Malaysia (EAM) president. The incumbent is Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis, who once served under Tun in the Cabinet. To understand the scenario, read here and here

Saturday, November 1, 2008

TBJ toppled

Incumbent Tengku Abdul Majid Sultan Iskandar has suffered the ignominy of being defeated by Malacca's Nur Azmi Ahmad in the tussle for the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) deputy presidency. Nur Azmi garnered 26 votes as opposed to 14 for Tengku Majid.

Next, Tengku Majid will probably be focusing his energy on being the president of the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA). His brother-in-law Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has the unenviable task of giving MHF a new breath of fresh air.

The MHF line-up 2008-2010:

President: Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah
Deputy president: Nur Azmi Ahmad
Vice-presidents: Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohd Noh (28 votes), Datuk Rahim Arif (29), M. Gobinathan (25), Datuk Dr S.S Cheema (19)
Secretary: Hashim Mohd Yusof
Treasurer: S. Sanjilatheeban (29)

Read here to get a glimpse of what's in store for Tengku Abdullah.