Say What

Sunday, 10 August 2014 | MYT 8:18 PM

The axe for Dharmaraj?

IT IS now imminent that there will be a new coach for the national hockey team.  

And desperately, too as the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have brought forward their council meeting to 1pm today to discuss present coach K. Dharmaraj’s fate.  

E-mails were sent out to all the 51 MHC council members at 10.22pm on Saturday, hardly giving those from outstation time to sort out their leave to attend the meeting in Kuala Lumpur. 

It goes to show how urgent the matter is and how the MHC are going about it as they are going to have two meetings. 

The grapevine has it there is a pow-wow at 11am today between the MHC council members and the National Sports Council (NSC), the pay masters.  

It is apparent that the MHC council meeting has been called to rubber stamp the decision made during the MHC-NSC meeting. 

With the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, less than 40 days away, the MHC believe they are running out of time. Initially, the MHC council meeting was slated for Aug 18.  

Three names have been bandied around in recent weeks as the likely replacement for Dharmaraj. One is Tan Beng Hai, the director of coaching and a former national coach. 

The other is Stephen van Huizen, who steered Malaysia to the silver medal in the 2010 Asian Games. Stephen was also the coach in 1999 when Malaysia qualified for the 2000 Olympics. 

The third name that has cropped up is A. Arulselvaraj, who was the assistant coach to Paul Revington from August 2012 to January 2014. Following Revington’s decision to quit the team, Arulselvaraj was demoted to the 2016 Project squad. 

The council members certainly need to put on their thinking caps as the national team’s future is in their hands. They need to take note of a number of things before deciding Dharmaraj’s fate. 

Why is there no meeting between the team management and Dharmaraj to find out the issues or problems faced by the team? 

Since the team came back from the dismal seventh showing at the recent Glasgow Commonwealth Games, there has been no meeting by any MHC officials with Dharmaraj or team manager George Koshy (Beng Hai acted as manager for the Glasgow Games) to get their views. 

And how about power play by some of the senior players to get Dharmaraj out as coach? 

The player power thing has been going on for the last few months, but was largely ignored by the MHC. A number of senior players are said to be unhappy with the coach, claiming he gave preferential treatment to certain players.  

It is interesting to see how the MHC council is going to decide on Dharmaraj’s fate as they hardly have time to think it through thoroughly. The Council members will also be briefed by a panel set up to investigate Malaysia’s performance in the World Cup in The Hague, Holland, in June where Malaysia finished last in the 12-team tournament. 

That report is supposed to shed some light on what went on behind the scenes during training prior to the World Cup. 

The council members certainly need to come up with the right decision. Will the change bring about the desired result – gold medal in Incheon? 

This is a no-win situation. The MHC are damned if they change the coach or damned if they don’t.


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