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Tuesday January 15, 2013
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is close to German hockey coach Paul Lissek’s heart. It is his home away from home.
So when there was a coaching vacancy in Malaysia, Lissek offered himself. After all, he was the Malaysian coach from 2000-2004.
He waited for five months but nothing materialised despite the many promises. And when South Korea offered him a job as chief coach, Lissek decided to take up the offer.
“I’m leaving for Seoul with a heavy heart. I had always wanted to work with the Malaysian youngsters on a long-term plan. But South Korea made me an offer which I could not refuse. Now, my job is to make them a world force again and it’s a major challenge for any coach,” said Lissek before flying off to South Korea yesterday.
It is believed that Lissek was the National Sports Council’s (NSC) choice to take charge of the Project 2017 team. They believed that Lissek would have been able to groom a solid team to act as a feeder for future national teams. Unfortunately, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) were not too keen on having Lissek on board.
“I am not at all disappointed that the MHC do not want me. I have enjoyed working here in Malaysia and have had many good moments. Malaysia is my second home and always will be.
“I have a lot of good friends here and more importantly I have worked with some of the best talents here. So, it is with a heavy heart that I take on the Korean job,” said Lissek, who worked as consultant to the Australian team prior to last year’s Olympic Games.
Lissek’s love affair with Malaysia started in 1971 when he came as a player with the German national team on a playing tour.
He was back again in 1975, playing in the Kuala Lumpur World Cup. After that, he came frequently to Malaysia as coach of the German junior and senior teams.
It was in Malaysia that Lissek found world acclaim as a coach. He took Germany to two Junior World Cup titles – in 1982 in Kuala Lumpur and in Ipoh in 1989.
“I have always enjoyed coming to Malaysia ever since that first time in 1971,” reminisced the 65-year-old Lissek.
Lissek’s stint as the Malaysian national coach started in 1998.
He was approached to take over the team by then NSC director general Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad. He came for three months to take charge of the Commonwealth Games team and they went on to win a silver medal.
In 2000, he was appointed the chief coach until 2004. After that, he acted as consultant to the national team and also handled the NSC’s hockey development programmes like the Tunas Cemerlang.
Lissek said his only regret was that he never managed to complete all the programmes that he initiated.
“In Malaysia, everything is done on an ad hoc basis. Nothing is done to see a programme becomes fruitful. Maybe it’s the culture in Malaysia. I really believe that if you start something you should go all the way to finish it. Only then will you reap the fruits. Half way measures rarely work.
“I still believe that Malaysia can be developed into a world beaters. There is no shortage of talents in Malaysia,” said Lissek.
Will he return as a coach in Malaysia in the future?
“There is always a possibility. If not, I would love to come and live here,” Lissek said.
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