[This in old post (1.07.2014) – Still relevant though. For your reading pleasure].
I love sports. I not only watch sports, I also participate whenever I have the chance. I seldom decline invitations from friends to play futsal, soccer, badminton, bowling or hockey. Therefore, I follow the development of sports in this country and the world with much interest.
I watched the recently concluded Rabobank Hockey World Cup, followed the Malaysian Super League, The FIFA World Cup, Wimbledon Tennis plus many other sports.
I don’t think I have enough sleep during weekdays, therefore, weekend will always be a welcomed break for me.
Improving Sports In Malaysia
Recently, V. Thomas of Sungai Buloh, Selangor, has raised valid points in NST July 23rd, 2014, regarding the disastrous performance of Malaysia’s hockey team in the recent Hockey World Cup in The Hague.
Malaysia finished last among 12 nations. He cited:
Despite various local competitions, the quality of hockey has not improved and there is only a limited number of capable players. Previously, the bastion of hockey was in urban areas, especially in the secondary schools. Most of these schools have lost their hockey fields and hockey no longer played at these schools.
I must say that I concur with what V.Thomas has said above and also most of his article and therefore, I feel compelled to write this piece on my blog and hopefully someone will take notice and do something to improve the poor state of sports in this country.
The Poor State of Sports In Malaysia
Despite millions being poured into sports development in this country, the truth is sports are not taken seriously in Malaysia.
Although there are Sports Science subject offered at the universities, sports itself is not a subject in school.
Yes, there is Physical Education (Pendidikan Jasmani) but it is not given much emphasis.
It is not considered a worthwhile subject even though it could do wonders to national unity and pride.
There is 1Murid 1Sukan but there is no specially qualified sports teacher to guide the pupils.
Some schools don’t even have a field big enough for pupils to play soccer, let alone other facilities such as hockey field as V.Thomas lamented in his article.
Some don’t even have any field at all or the size of their field is too small to be considered as a field.
While we wasted millions of ringgit on Sport Schools and other sports development programs that only concentrate on certain areas and children, why not expand it to the whole nation.
I’m pretty sure there are talents out there somewhere in the remote areas such as in Pahang, Sarawak and Sabah.
After all, our diving queen, Pandelela Rinong came from a Bidayuh village in Bau, Sarawak.
Yes, she was a product of Bukit Jalil Sports School, but imagine if someone hasn’t scouted her talent at a very young age.
What a waste of talent it could have been.
More Coaches And Scouts
Therefore we need more scouts and more qualified coaches, especially at primary schools where it is easier to teach and assess children’s potential. If spotted early, they would not have picked up too many bad habits in sports and therefore can be guided to play the particular sport the way it should be played.
All we need to do is to incorporate the proper training methods in 1Murid 1Sukan and give our teachers (who are interested in sports) coaching clinic or courses.
Cooperation and support from the Ministry of Sports and Ministry of Education is required to ensure such program (1Murid 1Sukan) works effectively.
Coaches and scouts must also identify our future sportsmen with world class potential. Therefore, in certain sports like football, hockey, rugby or tennis, bigger physiques are required.
During the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, our boys were beaten not because of lack of skills but rather lack of size and were out-run by bigger and taller European players.
It must be noted that, sports like football and hockey have become more and more physically demanding these days (do read my posting on: Kookaburras’ Hockey Master Class), therefore we need players that can cope with such demands.
Compete With The Best, Learn From The Best
If there is a sport person that any Malaysian should idolise, then it should be our Squash Queen, Datuk Nicol David.
She sacrificed her teenage life, training far from home and competed with the World’s best in order to become the best.
Not many Malaysians are willing to do that, right, especially our football players who very often than not ‘cannot tahan’ more than six months stint in Europe.
“Rindu pada nasi lemak, rindu pada awek di kampung“.
I don’t know what the exact problem is. But I do suspect it is because of ‘low self-esteem‘.
Our people do look up on ‘mat salleh’ and it is not just because they are tall but they are smarter and of course, the language problem.
That’s why Datuk Nicol doesn’t have such problems since she is already so smart and she speaks perfect English.
Maybe, we need to put some emphasis on this matter before sending players overseas.
Kasi crash course English lesson dulu and maybe add general knowledge to their brains, baru depa tak takut dengan mat salleh.
Speaking about competing with the best, why not give our football team a chance to improve their ranking and play against better teams by giving away citizenship to those interested and want to be Malaysians.
People like Brazilian, Paulo Rangel and Argentine, Jorge Pereyra Diaz are quality footballers who will never ever play for their already star-studded national football teams.
They can certainly lift up our ranking, thus allowing our boys to play against better opponent, and hence lifting the standard of football in this country. This is just temporary measure.
I believe the Japanese did this before and once they managed to produce their own world class players, they do away with such measure.
So, kita pun jangan sombong ya!
Everyone Must Work Hard To Improve Malaysian Sports
To improve sports in Malaysia, everyone must work hard and serious about it. Cannot just ‘cakap mulut sahaja‘. I remember, a few years ago (during the time of the previous Sports Minister, not KJ),
I had the opportunity to participate in a ‘forum’ organised by the Ministry of Sports. In my mind, I expected a forum to be a place where there will be exchange of ideas, specifically for the purpose of enhancing or promoting the development of sports in the state.
However, after a few looonng speeches and cultural performances, the ‘hot’ topic for discussion was about tenders for building sports facilities.
Undeterred, I raised the issues that most Sports association faced at that time: the feeling that the Sports Ministry was not working together with the associations instead it ran its own programs which were competing with the associations’ programs.
What did we get?
A call from the Ministry, complaining that I was disruptive during the event.
Unfortunately, I still see the same thing happening now. When it comes to handling critics, our people tend to be defensive.
Everybody ‘nak jaga saham aje’.
As a true sports fan, I’m really saddened to see the decline in sports plaguing our country since the 90’s. If nothing is done to improve sports in Malaysia, we will continue to be left behind.
As I sit in
front of the TV, watching Costa Rica, a nation with only 4.8 million populations, moves to the quarter-final of FIFA World Cup, I can only wonder when we will ever see Harimau Malaya compete in the biggest stage of the world.
Look likely – not in my lifetime [sigh].