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