KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will ask the National Sports Council (NSC) to retain German Paul Lissek as the coach of the team, who are preparing for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Madrid next year.
The MHF top officials met with their president, Sultan Azlan Shah, at Istana Perak yesterday and they decided to make an attempt to get the NSC to change their mind about re-designating Lissek to handle the development squad.
The MHF secretary, S. Satgunam, said yesterday that the MHF viewed the change as bad timing and felt that there should be no shake-up to the coaching set up in the national team, especially when the qualifiers are just five months away.
The president was concerned about the decision by the NSC to remove Lissek as the coach at this juncture, said Satgunam.
He felt that the timing was bad and that it was not fair to ask a local or another foreign coach to take over now. The president will have a discussion with the NSC director general (Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad) tomorrow.
Besides Satgunam, the others who were present at the meeting with Sultan Azlan were the deputy president, Tan Sri P. Alagendra, the vice-presidents, Datuk Bashir Abdul Majid, Roy Rajasingam and Dr S.S. Cheema, and the treasurer, George Koshy.
The NSC decided last week to re-designate Lissek following the national team's poor performance in the Asia Cup where they finished fifth.
They lost to Japan in a group match and it cost them a place in the semi-finals.
On Monday, several senior players indicated that they might quit the national team if Lissek was no longer their coach.
They are waiting for Lissek to return from holiday before they make a final decision.
Satgunam called on the players not to make any rash decisions but to concentrate on their duties with the team.
He reminded the players that they were representing the country and not any individual.
If players quit because there is a change of coach, then they are not giving due consideration to the national team or to their country. Changes in the coaching set up are normal, said Satgunam.
We have to emphasise that we did not make the change in the coaching set up in the national team.
Lissek has been asked to do development work by his employers (the NSC).
Satgunam said that they hoped the players would leave it to the MHF to resolve the matter.
We do not need players to get involved in the matter. We do understand why they want Lissek to stay but the decision is not in the MHF's hands. It is for the NSC and Lissek to decide, he said.
Satgunam also said that he spoke to Yahya Atan yesterday morning on the offer to be the interim coach of the team but the natonal Under-16 coach was adamant not to take up the offer.
The national team are scheduled to begin training on Oct 16.
Their next assignment is the Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad from Oct 24-30.