It was an extremely hot Sunday morning. Yet, the scorching heat did little to deter a group of 40-odd school children from training at the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium.
In the middle of the hockey turf were Mohamad Zaharani Maulud, 54 and his wife, Morlizawati Ghazali, 44. They were joined by several other school teachers and a familiar face in the form of former international, I. Vikneswaran.
Zaharani and Morlizawati’s three children – Nur Ain Nadhirah (17 years old), Muhammad Izzuddin (15) and Nur Ain Nadhrah (13) – were among those training.
They aren’t your usual parents. In fact, the training session was thanks to the husband-wife duo.
“This is our first training session for the year. You can tell that some of them aren’t as fit as they used to be,” quipped Zaharani, as a trainee suffered leg cramps.
Rushing to the young boy was Morlizawati, a housewife armed with a sling bag filled with medical supplies.
“That’s my wife. She’s our medic, team manager, takes care of the kits and pretty much looks after the welfare of every single child we train.”
Within minutes, the boy got up and joined his teammates. Zaharani broke into a smile.
“We’ve been doing this for more than two years. We fork out money, rent the stadium and get equipment for the children. It’s all for the love of the sport.”
The motivation is also in the form of their children.
Zaharani’s daughters, Nadhirah and Nadhrah, play for SMK Puteri in Seremban while Izzuddin plays for Methodist Boys School Sentul (MBSS).
“They’ve done well for themselves, although Nadhrah is more skilful and promising. Perhaps it’s due to the years she has spent on the turf with her older siblings.”
Zaharani explained his wife and he managed to gather children from Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan to train in Kuala Lumpur once a week.
“The training sessions are usually held every Saturday at the Tun Razak Stadium. If the stadium is booked, we train on a Sunday or elsewhere.
“We don’t take a single sen from the children. It’s our initiative. It’s been costly. But why not? We have given these children an avenue to mix and get to know each other better.”
Zaharani admitted there are plans to formalise his training sessions through the establishment of a club.
“That’s in the pipeline,” he added.
MBSS teacher T. Manikavaasagam was full of praise for the duo.
“Zaharani has been going the extra mile to train the children. Morlizawati is always by his side, keeping herself busy and ensuring she is always there for the boys and girls,” said Manikavaasagam.
They are a shining example of parents being part of the school eco-system. And they encourage their children and other children to be active.
“Without parents, we (teachers) are handicapped.”
Vikneswaran echoed similar sentiments.
“It’s a great initiative (by the parents) and this is how it’s supposed to be. When you have something similar to a club system, it’s borderless.
“Today you have boys and girls from various schools all over Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. Doesn’t that say a lot?
“At the end of the day, it’s about the sport and that is evident here,” said Vikneswaran, who is Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association acting president as the association’s president Datuk Seri Megat D. Shahriman Zaharudin was slapped with an 18-month ban from all hockey-related activities.
Vikneswaran, who taught the children several moves, admitted KLHA would be embarking on a similar “borderless” programme soon.
“It’s about promoting hockey. It’s not about where you come from or where you stay. It’s about popularising the sport.
“Sports is where children pick up life skills … to act more confidently, to mix with people of different colours and creed and to adopt a healthy lifestyle.”