Wednesday January 2, 2013
Deadwood must step down for the good of sport
YESTERDAY, StarSport carried the 2013 wish list of its writers. They were all noble intentions really.
But how many of their wishes will come true this year?
We all know the answer to that, don’t we?
How many times have we made ourselves clear about leaders having to be accountable for their associations’ successes and failures? How long have we been harping on this issue?
Has there been any change? No. And it’s unlikely to change any time soon.
Just take a look at the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM). The leaders have been there for ages, Malaysia’s ranking has taken a beating (and so have the national team) and most of the state FAs are being run by men who have vested interest or no-interest at all (they are there just for the prestige, whatever that means).
Professional football is a serious business but FAM are making a mockery of it. A club can find themselves de-registered one day and reinstated the very next day.
Call us naive, if you want, for coming out with the wish list. But we are just like any other Malaysian.
We want our sportsmen and sportswomen to flourish and glorify the nation in the eyes of the world.
Their success is our joy. Their defeat our sorrow.
Do you still remember how the whole country stood united – yes, 1Malaysia indeed – when Lee Chong Wei faced his nemesis Lin Dan of China in the men’s singles badminton final of the London Olympics last year? How we all revelled when he made the final – and against all the odds, mind you. And how we all shared in his tears of sorrow when he lost after a titanic battle?
Didn’t everyone go ga-ga over Pandelela Rinong’s outstanding performance in the women’s diving competition at the Olympics?
Not many knew who she was prior to her bronze-medal feat. Now, she’s the darling of the nation.
Would anyone have believed us if we had told you she was capable of winning a medal prior to her achievement? I don’t think so.
As much as we adore and appreciate everything Chong Wei and Nicol David have done for the country, don’t we all want to see new faces on the podium and hear the sweet notes of the national anthem – Negaraku?
Yes, Chong Wei and Nicol have single-handedly brought glory and fame to the country through their exploits in badminton and squash.
But don’t you wonder that something must be amiss when a nation of more than 27 million people can only muster up two world-class athletes?
Of course, there were others who had risen to the challenge too. Like Syafiq Ridhwan Abdul Malek and his band of merry bowlers; Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Co in motor-cycling; Jazeman Jaafar and Co in motor-racing; Azizulhasni Awang and Co in cycling; Sazali Samad and Lilian Tan in bodybuilding; and a host of others.
But let’s not kid ourselves. We need to produce more world beaters and world champions.
Badminton needs to produce more Chong Weis (not to mention Sylvia Ngs and Wong Mew Choos); squash needs to produce more Ong Beng Hees, Azlan Iskandars and Nicols; football needs to produce more Soh Chin Auns, Mokhtar Daharis, Wong Choon Wahs and Shukor Sallehs; hockey needs to produce more Poon Fook Lokes, Sri Shanmuganathans and Mirnawan Nawawis; athletics needs to produce more Datuk M. Jegathesans, Marina Chins, Zaiton Othmans, Saik Oik Cums and Nashatar Singhs to name a few.
But let’s be realistic. To achieve and maintain success, we need the national sport associations (NSAs) to get their house in order first, don’t we?
And that means having men and women with passion, vision, drive, enthusiasm, wisdom, time, power and money (or at least the ability to bring in the mullah) to lead the NSAs.
Sadly, that’s not the case.
If only we had more Tan Sri Vincent Tans and Tan Sri Tony Fernandeses around.
We’ve all seen how committed these two tycoons are despite their hectic schedules. They are at the stands supporting their clubs – Cardiff City and Queens Park Rangers – in the Championship and English Premier League week in and week out.
Even the EPL club chairmen are as committed. Our leaders can only be seen on Cup final days or during high-profile matches, especially those against the visiting EPL sides.
The ones we have are mostly those who know either nothing or very little about the sport they are leading, let alone anything about the athletes in their associations.
The ones we have (or at least most of them) are highly ineffective, flighty and pliable.
And always surrounded by yes men!
We need committed professionals on a full-time basis to run the show, not volunteers with personal agendas.
We can waste reams of paper writing about them, and they will still hang on to power. Heck, some may even threaten to sue us (though some have) for writing the truth.
Malaysians, in general, are fed up with the way things are being run in most sports associations.
Readers write in to tell us of their frustrations, desperation and angst over the happenings in Malaysian sports.
Let’s hope these “leaders” are mature and wise enough to take the hint.
So, stand up, be a man and own up. Then step down, please.
You know who you are.
Or, do you?
R. Manogaran hopes 2013 will be the year that will see a change in fortunes for Malaysian sports – and Liverpool FC! Happy New Year everyone!