Say What

Published: Tuesday January 21, 2014 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday January 21, 2014 MYT 1:24:00 PM

It’s an almighty mess in Malaysian hockey

Paul Revington of South Africa has quit as the national hockey chief coach, citing stress as the main cause of his decision but many within the game feel there's more to it than that. - Filepic

Paul Revington of South Africa has quit as the national hockey chief coach, citing stress as the main cause of his decision but many within the game feel there's more to it than that. - Filepic

ALL is not well in Malaysian hockey. It is a nest of intrigue and heavy politicking.

South African Paul Revington may be the latest victim of such a conspiracy plot. He first quit in June last year. Then, Revington was diplomatic about it, saying “outside interference” forced him to resign. He was then persuaded to return and he did.

Revington quit for the second time on Sunday. This time, there is no turning back. Again, he refused to say anything bad about the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC). Instead, he cited “health reasons”.

“Although I have tried extremely hard to fight the onset of a stress-related illness since June 2013, I am still not functioning close to my maximum capacity and it has been affecting the quality of my day-to-day work,” said Revington in his press conference on Monday.

Although he did not say it, Revington is believed to be fed up of the politicking and decided to throw in the towel with the World Cup Finals just five months away.

Revington’s decision to quit came as no surprise to the hockey fraternity.

Rumours of him quitting started swirling two months ago. And there was talk of K. Dharmaraj and his coaching staff of K. Gobinathan and Nor Azlan Bakar being given the job of handling the national team.

True enough, soon after Revington resigned, Dharmaraj and Co were given the job of taking the side to the Finals.

Revington had completed the hard part – helping Malaysia qualify for the Finals. Under Revington, the national side improved by leaps and bounds and they made the Finals for the first time since 2002.

The MHC have set the team the target of a 10th place finish out of 12 teams in the Finals. It’s certainly not a difficult task for Revington to fulfil it but he chose not to be a part of the team any more.

What was also shocking was the absence of the coaching committee members, including chairman Manjit Majid Abdullah, when the MHC announced Revington’s replacement on Sunday.

In the past, the appointments of coaches were discussed by the coaching committee and their recommendations were then brought to the MHC council for ratification. Surprisingly, this did not happen on Sunday.

Then, what is the role of the coaching committee?

This is certainly food for thought.

It’s high time the MHC appointed an independent panel to check if there is outside interference which caused Revington to give up.

He has coached for 12 years now. Before coming to Malaysia, he was coach of South Africa and then Ireland.

“The pressure level then was greater than what I faced here in Malaysia,” he said on Monday.

And yet five months before the biggest event in world hockey, he chose to quit.

It really does make one wonder!

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