May 23, 2014


DELEGATES to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Congress this Sunday at Holiday Inn Glen Marie will be making a crucial decision, one which will either take Malaysian football to a higher pedestal or a fatal one.
This election will decide the journey Malaysian football takes in the course of the next four years.

FAM president, His Royal Highness Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah has been at the helm of the national body since 1984 but now faces a two-cornered battle for the presidency post. On his right corner is the ever-reliable and charismatic HRH Tengku Abdullah, his prodigal son, whose tireless energy in the sport knows no boundary.

While in the left corner is HRH Tunku Ismail Ibrahim, who has been at the centre of Johor Darul Takzim’s rise in the Super League amid recent ‘off field hiccups’ which did not go down too well with the powers in Wisma FAM.

This could be the closest contest in the history of FAM, unless in the next 48 hours, one of the three withdraws from the race.

Both Tengku Abdullah and Tunku Ismail have their good qualities and virtues. They are good men who have the interest of Malaysian football at heart.

However, on a personal note, I believe Tengku Abdullah is the right choice to put FAM in the ‘path that it deserves’ to be. With his idea, vision and mission, he will be able to transform the association by taking a giant step forward.

As Rome was not build in one day, time is the essential factor here that will determine changes to the current structure in FAM and putting in place a system which will see positive results from the administrative level to the national teams. Give him that luxury to turn things around!

As the Vice-President of the Asian Football Confederation and a member of the FIFA board, Tengku Abdullah will surely bring his vast experience to improve football in the country.

His immense work at Malaysian Hockey Confederation as president is a testament of his qualities. Hockey has not really moved up the ladder and ranks in the last five years, has not been financially sound, and the performance of the national teams has been nothing to shout about. The celebrations, in fact, died since 1974 when Malaysia finished fourth in the Kuala Lumpur World Cup.

Today, the senior team will be competing in the World Cup after a hiatus of 12 years following their success in the World League in Johor Baru. The team left for The Hague, Netherlands, yesterday.

And early this month, the seniors also gave a splendid performance against World No. 6 New Zealand to win 5-4 on penalty shootouts in the quarterfinals of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 before going on to win a bronze medal.

The national juniors, on the other hand, finished fourth at the Junior World Cup in New Delhi, India last December. This is truly a success story of ‘The President and his Men’. It speaks volumes of Tengku Abdullah’s sincerity, commitment and dedication towards whatever he embarks on.

He sincerely wanted things done the right way to improve Malaysian hockey as well, though there are no sure perfect remedies to most problems. There will never be but improvements can be made to see a positive move forward.

Now with all this achievements, I am certain Tengku Abdullah will surely make the necessary changes in FAM if given the mandate by delegates. Heads may also roll in Wisma FAM! Those who underestimated Tengku Abdullah’s ability due to his ‘kindness and soft heart’ may need to rebrand their perception.

For the record, it was Tengku Abdullah who pushed for a revamp of football in Malaysia. His vision of Malaysian clubs accepting and implementing the AFC Club licensing concept, which is the way forward, will help states and clubs to be independent of financial woes.

Giving out a yearly subsidy of RM3 million to state FAs’ is not a way forward. We must come out of this ‘subsidy’ mentality as a grant to move forward can be considered but it is not an ideal projection of a long term plan.

The Malaysian fans are clamouring for a quick-fix solution to lift Malaysian football out of the doldrums. Unfortunately there’s none. Even English club Manchester United did not get that equation right replacing Alex Ferguson with David Moyes!
Fans are anxious to see the national team ranking improve, respected pool of referees and a better administrative system. But what they don’t understand is that the various committees in the administration are responsible for various development projects.

It is these very people that the delegates’ pick ultimately are appointed into various committees. As such, if we want a better refereeing structure and development it is obvious we need a chairman who is dedicated to this position. There must be no room for politics. 

You can’t expect the FAM President to go down to the committee level to sort things out. Everyone plays his role, right from the chairman to his committee members.

The election of two deputy presidents will also be a closely contested fight. A total of 10 candidates have been nominated by delegates for the two positions.

Personally, Dato’ Seri Subahan Kamal and Dato’ Affendi Hamzah should make the cut. Not many are aware out there that Subahan has dug deep into his own pocket many times as manager of the national team for the welfare of players. He is indeed a committed official who ensures the needs of players are taken care.

Affendi, a lawyer by profession, played an important role in the Legal and Statute Committee in FAM. Subahan’s biggest problem, however, in this election is he faces Selangor FA deputy president, Dato’ Mokhtar Ahmad. It is unlikely the delegates will pick both deputy presidents from the same state.

The task is certainly not going to be any easier for Tengku Abdullah should he win the presidency post. Having known him for several years, I’m confident Tengku Abdullah will make the changes provided he gets a team of hardworking Executive Committee appointed. Otherwise, we will be hearing the same old tunes over and over again.

Gentlemen, the future of Malaysian football is in your hands. The right decision will only mean FAM will be heading into the right direction. The FA of Malaysia is in need of direction in many areas, and only one person can provide that path, Tengku Abdullah.


WWE (NYSE:WWE) and Astro are excited to announce today that WWE LIVE™ will return to Malaysia for the first time since 2002, with two shows in October 2014. The shows will be held at Putra Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, October 10 and Saturday, October 11. Tickets will go on sale Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 10:00 am.
Fans will be able to see their favorite WWE Superstars® live, including John Cena®, Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family, The Shield™, Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett™ and many more.*

WWE LIVE is supported by Malaysia Major Events, a division of Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau, an agency under Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

WWE’s robust programming in Malaysia includes Monday Night Raw®, AfterBurn™, Vintage™, BottomLine™, NXT™, Superstars™, Main Event™ and WWE Presents™ airing on Astro SuperSport 3 channel, and all Pay-Per-View titles on Astro Box Office Sport channel.

“Astro is pleased to partner with WWE to bring world class entertainment, WWE LIVE, to its fans in the South East Asia region. Fans of WWE are set for an action-packed, entertaining event this October. We are delighted to bring the WWE experience from TV to the live stage,” said Henry Tan, Chief Operating Officer of Astro.

"WWE Live is expected to draw tourists from the South East Asia region with an estimated tourist expenditure of close to RM33 million over the two days. WWE has always been one of the favourite entertainment programmes in the region and Malaysia since it was introduced on television. Malaysia is proud to host WWE Live, adding to the roll call of many distinguished events that coincide with Visit Malaysia Year 2014," said Tony Nagamaiah, General Manager, Malaysia Major Events.

We are excited to return to Malaysia with WWE live events in 2014,” said Sweesin Wu, WWE's Vice President & General Manager, Asia Pacific. These events reflect WWE’s commitment to our growth in Malaysia, and to expanding our relationship with Astro, one of the leading media entertainment groups in market. WWE would like to extend special thanks to MME for their vision in engaging WWE, and for MME's high level of professionalism and expediency in progressing negotiations which successfully resulted in 'WWE Live Malaysia 2014' coming to fruition", he added.

Tickets will go on sale Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 10:00am and can be purchased from or by +603 7880 7999. Ticket price ranges from RM128 – RM1230.

*Talent line-up subject to change

# WWEKualaLumpur

May 12, 2014


Sapura HC defeated UniKL Young Guns 1-0 in the TNB-Malaysian Hockey League Division One final for the President’s Cup at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Defender and captain Baljit Singh fired home the winner in the 52nd minute from Sapura’s fourth penalty corner of the day after both teams were involved in an intense 70-minute battle.

For Sapura, it was a night of double celebration in front of 2,000 fans as they are also the League champions having amassed 26 equal points with TNB Thunderbolt but hold a two-goal advantage over TNB.

It was a proud moment for Baljit , who scored his 16th goal in the tournament tonight, and Sapura when he received the President’s Cup from Datuk Aminudin Mohd Amin, TNB Senior General Manager for Corporate and Communication.

The champions went home richer by RM50,000 – a payout of RM30,000 for emerging President’s Cup champions and another RM20,000 as League champions. UniKL Young Guns collected a total of RM27,000 (RM20,000 as President’s Cup runners-up and RM7,000 for finishing third in the league).

Sapura team manager, Louis Gregory, said: “It was a touch and go affair and an exciting match until Baljit scored the winner. We had some senior players with experience who did well to guide the younger players. I am happy with their performance in the final.”

Meanwhile, UniKL Young Guns coach Arul Selvaraj said he is equally proud of his young players who performed well against an experienced opposition.

“I have a very young squad. There are 13 players in this team who are actually playing for the first time in this League. We had our chances too but could not find the goals. But it is a good learning experience for these players,” said Arul.

In the playoff for third placing, TNB Thunderbolt pulverised Ipoh Municipal Council (MBI) 7-3 with a five-goal blitz from Mohd Amin Rahim (8th, 20th, 58th, 65th and 67th) while Mohd Najib Abu Hassan (32nd) and Muhammad Firdaus Omar (69th) completed a sad ending chapter of the TNBMHL tournament for the visitors. MBI replied through Mohd Akmal Tajudin (14th and 33rd)  and Abdul Rauf Nazri (47th).

The National Women’s League, which is introduced for the first time this year, witnessed Armed Forces Pernama emerge as the inaugural champions following a 2-1 win over favourites UiTM Lions in the final.

ATM also walked away with the champion’s trophy and a RM15, 000 winning purse while UiTM Lions picked up RM10,000. The third and fourth-placing playoff which was an all-Johor affair went SSTMI Thunderbolt’s way as they outclassed Johor Municipal Council (MBJB) 3-0.

In the preliminary round, UiTM Lions and ATM Pernama played to a 0-0 draw. UiTM finished top of the table with 16 points followed by ATM (14), SSTMI Thunderbolt (13) and MBJB. The top two teams in the league advance to the final.

Nur Amirah Abu Samah gave UiTM Lions an early confidence with a ninth minute goal from a penalty corner but ATM clawed back through Siti Noor Amarina Ruhani in the 28th minute to level 1-1 at half-time. ATM’s winner came from Izzuin Ismail three minute before the end of regulation time.

Results – Men’s Final: Sapura HC 1 UniKL Young Guns 0; 3rd /4th Placing: TNB Thunderbolt 7 Ipoh Municipal Council (MBI) 3.
Women’s Final: ATM Pernama 2 UiTM 1; 3rd/4th:  SSTMI Thunderbolt 3 MBJB 0.

Champions: Sapura HC (RM30,000); Runners-up: UniKL Young Guns (RM20,000); Third: TNB Thunderbolt   (RM10,000); Fourth: MBI  (RM5,000)

Champions: Sapura HC (RM20,000); Runners-up: TNB Thunderbolt (RM15,000); Third: UniKL Young Guns (RM7,000)
Player of the Match: Baljit Singh (Sapura HC)
Top Scorer:  Baljit Singh (Sapura – 16 goals)
Best Goalkeeper: Mohd Hairi Abdul Rahman (Sapura)
Player of the Tournament: Shazrul Imran (UniKL Young Guns)
Fairplay: Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS)

Champions: ATM Pernama (RM15,000); Runners-up: UiTM Lions (RM10,000); Third: SSTMI Thunderbolt (RM5,000); Fourth: MBJB (RM3,000).
Player of the Match: Siti Nurhafiza Zainordin (ATM Pernama)
Top Scorer: Hanis Nadia Onn (STTMI Thunderbolt – 5 goals)
Best Goalkeeper: Farah Ayuni Yahya (UiTM Lions)
Player of the Tournament: Izzuin Ismail (ATM Pernama)

Fair Play: Terengganu PHT-MSNT 

#MHC #TNBMHL #ShekhinahPR 

May 5, 2014


Korea defeated Canada 4-0 in the final of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium in Kuantan and in the process qualified for the 2016 Champions Trophy.

It was a proud moment for Korean captain Seung Il Lee, who was also named Man of the Match, when he received the gold medal from the Sultan of Pahang, His Royal Highness Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah. After all, it was their first victory in the final of the Champions Challenge 1 after three earlier failed attempts. They had reached the final in 2003, 2005 and 2012.

Jong Hyun Jang scored the first from a 10th minute penalty corner, Young Jin Kim added the second (13th) and Jong Hyun returned to knock the third from a penalty stroke (56th), taking his personal goal tally  to eight goals in the tournament. Seong Kyu Kim made it 4-0 with a minute remaining to the final whistle.  

Meanwhile, Malaysia bounced back with two quick late goals before labouring to a 4-2 win over Ireland to finish third in this edition of the Champions Challenge 1. Prior to this, Malaysia’s best result was a fourth placing in 2001 and 2012.

The atmosphere at the stadium was one of solemn at the start of this playoff tie against the Irish. Conspicuously missing were the 7,000-odd fans that had turned up in full force in Saturday’s semi-finals shockingly 5-4 defeat against Canada.

However, an estimated 3,000 fans turned up to throw their support behind national coach K. Dharmaraj and team captain Azlan Misron against the Ireland’s Green Machine.

“We lived dangerously in most of our matches and the same went tonight. I am not very happy with this kind of performance. Yes, there will be changes to the squad for the World Cup but may be two or three players. We have to play steadily for 70 minutes and lose our direction after taking early leads,” said Dharmaraj during a post-match press conference.

The match was played over four quarters with 17.5 minutes reserved for each quarter. The Malaysians, as they did against Canada on Saturday, did not waste any time and by the seventh minute had already camped inside the Irish territory.

With Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin lurking dangerously goalkeeper David Harte was forced to come out of his line and in the process stopped the Malaysian in an aggressive manner. Belgian umpire Gregory Uyttenhove awarded a penalty stroke and skipper Azlan Misron gave Ahmad Kazamirul the honour of putting Malaysia on the scoreboard first.

Malaysia once again went on the offensive four minutes later and this time Rashid Baharom swept the ball neatly past the hapless Harte to give the hosts a 2-0 lead. But the Irish created a few opportunities to get on the scoreboard and were rewarded in the 22nd minute from their third penalty corner attempt. Earlier Stephen Dowd’s penalty corner flick (14th) was saved by goalkeeper S. Kumar and Maurice Elliott’s pass did not find Alan Sothern in the circle.

Paul Gleghorne placed a powerful shot to the top right post, beating the 36-year-old Kumar for the first time, to give the hosts a 2-1 first half lead.

Malaysia came back in the second half looking fired-up but instead fell deep into defence with the constant pressure. The Irish forced the equaliser by the 43rd minute through Chris Cargo. As it turned out, the fans were going to be treated to another horror night.

Ireland and Malaysia kept on pushing in search of the winner but it was the Malaysians who dominated the fourth quarter and struck twice within a space of four minutes. Azlan made it 3-2 in the 66th minute from a field goal while Faizal Saari made a solo dash from the 50-yard line. With a horde of Irish defenders trailing him, Faizal had only keeper Harte to beat but instead relayed the ball to Firhan Ashari who scored in the last few seconds of the match to give Malaysia a heart-soothing 4-2 victory.

New Zealand, ranked world No.6, cruised to a 6-3 victory over France to finish fifth in Kuantan. While a fifth place is New Zealand’s worst result in Champions Challenge history, France finished sixth in their first ever appearance in the Champions Challenge 1.
Japan defeated Poland 3-2 in the seventh-eighth place playoff match. Poland finished at the bottom of the table, the same position they held in Quilmes, Argentina two years ago.

Results (4th May 2014) Sunday

Final: Korea 4 Canada 0; 3rd/4th Placing: Malaysia 4 Ireland 2; 5th/6th  Placing: New Zealand 6 France 3; 7th/8th  Placing: Japan 3 Poland 2. 

#CC1 #FIH #MHC #ShekhinahPR 

May 4, 2014


It was another night of high-drama for national coach K. Dharmaraj’s Malaysia in the semi-finals of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 against Canada before going down 5-4 in penalty shoot-out following a 2-2 draw in regulation time at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium in Kuantan.

The Canadians, who lost 4-3 against Malaysia in the preliminary round, will meet Korea in tomorrow’s final. The Koreans edged the Irish ‘Green Machine’ 2-1 in the second semi-finals. This is the first time in history that Canada reached the Champions Challenge 1 final as their best finish before this was a sixth place in Quilmes, Argentina in 2012.

As for Malaysia, they will have to contend playing in the third-fourth placing playoff against the Irish. Malaysia’s best finish in the Champions Challenge 1 was a fourth placing in 2001 in Kuala Lumpur, and again in Argentina in 2012.

Faizal Saari and Faiz Helmi Jali got Malaysia to a great start in the early stage of the penalty shoot-outs for a 2-1 lead after Matthew Guest failed in his attempt and Mark Person was on target. All that Malaysia need was one more goal to make it 3-1 and storm into the final. That, however, never materialised as Firhan Ashari, Shahril Saabah and Fitri Saari got their acts wrong much to the dismay of the estimated 7,000 fans that came in full force to support the hosts.

The Canadian also had a bad day in the process as only Gordon Johnston could make it count to level at 2-2 following team captain Scott Tupper and Adam Froese failure as goalkeeper S. Kumar produced another scintillating performance.

However, the sudden-death turned into an agonising episode for all Malaysian, including Malaysian Hockey Confederation President, Prince Abdullah Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah. Though Faizal and Fitri kept the Malaysian flag flying, Faiz blow it away this time. Mark, Pearson and Adam cleverly tucked the ball into goal to give Canada a 5-4 victory.

The Malaysia-Canada semi-finals tie had earlier got off to a promise of a Malaysian victory after Fitri earned Malaysia’s first penalty corner in the very first minute of play and Faizal made it count with a well-placed low shot to the left of goalkeeper Antoni Kindler to send wild celebration in the 8,000-capacity Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium.

There was no turning back for the host as they piled on the pressure and by the 15th minute surprised the Canadians, ranked at world No. 16, to go 2-0 up through Ismail Abu. 

However, if the deafening sounds of the drums had motivated the Malaysian players, it also did the same for the Canadians who clawed back into the game just when skipper Azlan Misron and his band of warriors allowed complacency to drain in.

Canada skipper Tupper got his players into motion and dominated play for a brief moment. It was Tupper himself who got his side on the scoreboard with a penalty corner conversion in the 21st minute.

However, there was more drama after this as the Malaysian forward line scrambled to build on the lead but fell to near misses while on the opposite end the Canadians also had their fair share of misses against a cracked defence. In one of Canada’s raid inside the Malaysian semicircle, Faiz was struck on the face by David Jameson in his attempt to clear the ball away and had to be treated. The first half ended in Malaysia’s favour 2-1.

The second half turned into a bullish fight between both teams. Canada almost came close to searching for the equaliser in the 38th minute but goalkeeper Kumar was once again in his element, denying Tupper of a chance by parrying the ball over.

But Canada were back to shackle the Malaysian defence in no time and it was Tupper who proved to be a bane when he sent a powerful drag-flick to Kumar’s left in only Canada’s third penalty corner of the night, beating the keeper all the way to level score at 2-2.

Firhan Asaari tried all he could with just three minutes remaining in the match in search of the winner. He bulldozed through two defenders but shot straight into Kindler’s pads.

The Canadians, clearly desperate and frustrated, mounted a last attack on the Malaysian post and were rewarded when New Zealand umpire David Tomlinson awarded two consecutive penalty corners with seconds into the final whistle – giving the Canadians more hope of searching the winning goal. But Tupper failed in both attempts as Kumar stood his ground, forcing the match into a penalty shoot-out.

In earlier classification matches, New Zealand ranked at world No. 6, demolished Poland 6-1, their second win over the Polish following an 8-3 mauling in a Group A preliminary round. France also had the better over Japan by cruising to a 3-2 victory. The Black Sticks will take on France in the 5-6th placing match while Poland and Japan play for the 7-8th placing encounter.

Results – 5th/8th Classification Matches: New Zealand 6 Poland 1; France 3 Japan 2.

Semi-finals: Malaysia 2 Canada 2 (Canada won 5-4 in penalty shoot-out); Korea 2 Ireland 1.

Fixtures (4th May 2014) Sunday: 7th/8th Placing: Poland v Japan (2.45pm); 5th/6th Placing: New Zealand v France (5.00pm)

3rd/4th Placing: Malaysia v Ireland (7.15pm)

Final: Canada v Korea (9.30pm).

#FIH #MHC #CC1 #ShekhinahPR 

May 3, 2014


Having eliminated  New Zealand, the hot favourites, Malaysia’s head coach K. Dharmaraj is bracing for another roller-coaster but plutonic battle against Canada in the semi-finals of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium today.

Though he professed to have a rather intimate knowledge of the Canadians having met five times in the last three months, the latest being the narrow 4-3 win in a Group B preliminary round match on Tuesday, Dharmaraj says the situation is totally one of a different kind going into the semi-finals.

“As much as we have good knowledge of Canada, it goes the same way for them too. They know us just too well and I don’t think it is really going to serve of any advantage to us or to them,” said Dharmaraj, whose reputation as a strategist took an upscale reading following Malaysia’s sensational victory over the Black Sticks who were favoured to muscle their way to the final of the Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan.

“It just boils down to how we play on the pitch. It is going to be a very challenging match against Canada. I am not really looking into any key players in the Canadian side that we have to watch out for. What matters most to me is how we manage our game against them and get the desired results,” he added.

The Canadians have scored 12 goals leading up the quarterfinals stage – 12 coming from field goals and three off penalty corners. They have a formidable forward line with skipper Scott Tupper (3 goals), Matthew Guest (2), Gabriel Ho-Garcia (2), Iain Smythe (2), Philip Wright (2) and Taylor Curran (1 goal) causing most of the damage against the opposition.

While Malaysia entertains Canada, Ireland’s ‘Green Machine’ has an equally tough task against Korea, ranked world No 7, in the second semi-finals match.

The coach, however, acknowledged that New Zealand’s exit after the quarterfinals stage of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 has in a way lifted the ‘heavy burden’ on all four teams in the semi-finals stage of the tournament.

 World rankings, said Dharmaraj, may not have any bearing at all in this tournament as even Ireland, ranked at world No 15, played extremely well against New Zealand in the opening Group A match last week before going down 2-1. The Irish also lost to Poland by a similar margin and defeated Japan 1-0. In the quarterfinals, the Green Machines outclassed France 3-0 on penalties (full time 2-2).

The winner of this edition of the Champions Challenge 1 will gain automatic qualification to the 2016 Champions Trophy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“New Zealand is the most respected team here and is a very strong side. Perhaps we have done ourselves and the other semi-final contenders a big favour. It has opened the door for Malaysia, Canada, Ireland and Korea of a shot at the title. We have to think positive and move forward,” he lamented.   

Canadian head coach Anthony Farry and skipper Tupper also shared Malaysian coach Dharmaraj’s sentiments when they said the atmosphere at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium invites both teams to play their level best. 

“We played Malaysia a lot in the past, so we know a lot about them,” says Farry. “This will be a great opportunity for us to play in front of a big crowd and we are certainly looking forward to a good result that we hope will favour us.”

Tupper agrees: “We are so excited to play Malaysia because of the crowd support. It does help us in a way. We are very motivated in this kind of atmosphere.”
The Canadians, however, will take on Malaysia without Sukhi Panesar who was red carded against Poland on Thursday. Sukhi has been suspended for one match.

The second semi-final between Ireland and Korea has also drawn lots of excitement among the fans here which has seen the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium turned into a carnival since the start of the tournament.

“We are looking forward to the match as we don’t play against Asian opponents very often. This will be a different style of playing we need to get used to,” says Irish captain John Jackson. The Green Machine reached the top four thanks to a 3-0 penalty shoot-out victory over European rivals France.

Irish goalkeeper David Harte, who kept a clean sheet in the penalty shoot-out, was adjudged Man of the Match.

“Ireland has a strong defence. Their goalkeeper David (Harte) is one of the best keepers in the world,” admits Korea coach Shin Seok Kyo. “But hopefully we can win this match and make the final.” The Asian champions defeated Japan 5-1 in the quarterfinals with a hat-trick from Jang Jong Hyun who was named the Man of the Match.

#CC1 #FIH #MHC #ShekhinahPR