Tengku Abdullah said he would not hesitate to take the drastic move if there is no 100 commitment from the players. - NIK NAIZI HUSIN/The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah is ready to withdraw the national team from next month’s Incheon Asian Games in South Korea.
He said he would not hesitate to take the drastic move if “there is no 100 commitment from the players”.
In fact, Tengku Abdullah put forth the pull-out suggestion at the MHC council meeting but it was shot down by the council members. Instead, the council endorsed the replacement of the entire team management with a new set of officials.
Tengku Abdullah said he was concerned about the player power in the team and their lack of discipline.
He added that he will hold a meeting with the players to thrash out the problems in the team.
“I am willing to pull the team out for the Games if there’re no improvements. If the players are not able to give 100% to the team, they should say so and leave. There is no point in sending a team to the Asiad if the players are not disciplined enough to work and give their best,” said Tengku Abdullah after the council meeting.
Tengku Abdullah added that a report by a panel set up to investigate the World Cup debacle contained many issues, including some highlighted by the players.
He, however, said the report will not be made public.
But he did reveal that player power was among the reasons why Malaysia performed badly at the World Cup as well as the Commonwealth Games.
The Malaysians finished last in the 12-team World Cup in The Hague, Holland, in June. In the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Malaysia, finished seventh and also lost 4-2 to minnows Trinidad and Tobago in a group match.
K. Dharmaraj was the coach of the two tournaments. The MHC yesterday replaced him with Project 2016 coach A. Arulselvaraj.
Tengku Abdullah was also not pleased with some of his officials, warning them not to make unnecessary comments in the media and aggravating the issue.
Arulselvaraj was an assistant to Paul Revington when the South African took over as national coach in August 2012. Arulselvaraj, however, was moved to the Project squad in January this year when Revington quit the team. Tengku Abdullah then elevated National Juniors coach Dharmaraj to the senior team position.
On his new appointment, Arulselvaraj said: “I accept the challenge and will do my best. I will take some time out to look at the programme that is in place and make the necessary changes. One of the things that I will do is to look at the players in the squad. Then, I will work on the areas that have been identified as our weaknesses.
“I am familiar with the players as I have worked with them before. But with a short period of time left, it will be an uphill task for all of us,.”