KUALA LUMPUR: It's down to two former national players for the job of national hockey coach. Former teammates Wallace Tan and Stephen van Huizen are the two candidates short-listed. One of them will be named as coach later this month after a meeting between the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) and the National Sports Council (NSC).
Five coaches had applied for the job after German Paul Lissek was dropped after the Madrid pre-Olympic debacle in March.
The MHF trimmed the list down to three, with Colin Sta Maria the other player on the shortlist. Two other hopefuls, Dr Balbir Singh and A. Arulselvaraj, were dropped.
The NSC have been discussing with both their employers if they can be seconded to the NSC or if they have to quit their jobs.
Wallace is a sports officer with the Maybank and has been synonymous with the Tigers hockey team in the Malaysia Hockey League. He has also had stints as coach of the women's national team and also handled the men during the 1999 Brunei SEA Games.
Stephen is employed by Bumiputra Commercial Bank. From 1990 to 2002, he was part of the national team either as chief coach or assistant to the foreign coaches.
He worked under Australian Terry Walsh from 1990-1994, Germans Volker Knapp (1994-1998) and Lissek (1998-2002). He is also credited for taking Malaysia to the 2002 Olympics in Sydney. During his 12-year stint with the national team Stephen was seconded to the NSC on a full time basis.
NSC director-general Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad confirmed yesterday that the final choice was now between Wallace or Stephen.
We have finally received word from the two employers and now it is up to the MHF to make the choice.