Revington better as national coach, says Olympian Mike

Malaysia Hockey Confederation (MHC) should have made Paul Revington the national coach instead of tasking the South African to work on grassroots hockey.

Olympian Maninderjit Singh insists Revington would be a better bet for the national team to achieve its ambitious goals which include qualifying for the Asia Cup final next year en route to earning a spot in the World Cup in 2023 and playing in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“If I were to sit back and look at it … I have Revington in the country and I have (national coach) Arul (Selvaraj) and I have the immediate task to qualify for Paris, what would I do? I’d take Paul Revington to be the head coach,” said Maninderjit.

“I mean no disrespect to Arul but this is how I see it.”

A. Arul Selvaraj, a former international, was named head coach in August following the departure of Dutchman Roelant Oltmans. Revington, who guided Malaysia to the 2014 World Cup after a hiatus of 12 years, left as national coach in 2014 but returned as technical director, as revealed during a press conference by MHC on Monday.

Maninderjit, who once served as Malaysian Hockey Federation general manager before being made MHC secretary-general, highlighted that there are many qualified local coaches who can oversee grassroots hockey.

“Anything concerning those aged 17 and under comes under the Education Ministry. Period,” said Maninderjit, who was part of the Podium Programme Enhancement Task Force.

“One must be mindful of the communication; know the local condition; the Malaysian culture; be able to communicate with parents, address teachers, address issues by players; and communicate with the affiliates.

“For grassroots, (MHC) should appoint a local coach. Otherwise, it will be another Lim Teong Kim fiasco,” he added, referring to the former National Football Development Programme director who ruffled feathers during his stint here.

“Can the parents, teachers and students accept Revington’s communication skills, standards and approach?”

“In this country, we have sufficient qualified local coaches. And please respect the Education Ministry. They (ministry) have a system, they have district training centres, they have sports schools … if you are under 17, you’re part of the school system.

“What the confederation needs to do is to enhance the existing programmes, so it needs to collaborate with the ministry and come up with better equipment and organise more matches.”

He added MHC should work with its affiliates to develop the sport.

“Don’t interfere with the schooling system. The National Hockey Development Programme should be affiliate-based. Don’t get involved in the (school’s) district training centres or sports schools. You want to be part of that, come up with a separate programme in collaboration with the Education Ministry.

“Don’t overlap, don’t end up being redundant. MHC should have a standalone programme, just like the 1Mas (hockey development programme).”

Maninderjit pointed out that since 2015, MHC had made a series of foreign appointments.

“MHC brought in Taeke Taekema, Terry Walsh, Martijn Drijver and Oltmans to name a few.

“Let’s take Walsh as an example. He has impressive credentials and was the technical director. What did we learn from him while he was here?”