Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sack me if you want, challenges Dharma

National coach K. Dharmaraj has challenged the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) to sack him if the World Cup campaign was deemed a failure. - filepic
National coach K. Dharmaraj has challenged the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) to sack him if the World Cup campaign was deemed a failure. - filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Sack me if the World Cup outing had been a failure. That is the challenge issued by national hockey chief coach K. Dharmaraj to the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).

Last week, the MHC named a seven-man panel to investigate Malaysia’s performance at last month’s World Cup in The Hague, Holland. Malaysia finished last in the 12-team Finals.

Dharmaraj vehemently denied that it was a disastrous outing for the team, saying the World Cup proved that Malaysia’s gap in standard against the “top teams was just too wide”.

“We qualified for the World Cup after a 12-year hiatus. There is no way we could have competed with the other top teams. Our standard was way below par. It is already an achievement that we made the top 12,” he said.

“The challenge for Malaysia is to be a regular at the World Cup and Olympics. Then, we can aim for better positions after that. Right now, we are struggling just to qualify for top-level events. Yet, there are fierce criticisms on our showing as if the team were expected to win or make the podium,” he added.

Dharmaraj called on the critics or the MHC to point out where the team had failed.

“It is the prerogative of the MHC to appoint the coach. I have no issue with that,” he said.

MHC vice-president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmadm revealed on Tuesday that R. Yogesweran, a former national coach, would head the World Cup performance review committee.

The other members of the committee are National Sports Institute (NSI) CEO Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz, National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong, Datuk Poon Fook Loke, Datuk Ow Soon Kooi, R. Ramakrishnan, M.P. Haridass and Ariffin Ghani. Azmi, who also heads the national team management committee, will also sit in the panel.

Dharmaraj also questioned why the MHC set up the committee when there was no such move in the past when the teams had also failed to shine.

“If the committee find that Malaysia were a total disaster in the World Cup, they can also recommend to remove me as the coach. I will gladly step down. But tell me where we went wrong and what this fuss is all about,” he said.

“It has been tough on the players this year as they have five major assignments and all of them are back-to-back.

“There was no doubt that we struggled in The Hague, although our target was just to finish 10th.

“The players are demoralised with the constant barrage of criticisms that is being thrown at them daily. How do we motivate them for the coming two tournaments? I am sure people have their own opinions, but what is important is that these players are doing their best and sometimes the best is just not enough,” added Dharmaraj.

The next stop for Dharmaraj’s team is the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this month. And then, they will proceed to the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in September.

by S. Ramaguru - The Star

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