Wallace Tan has impeccable coaching credentials. The former national player shone during his stint coaching Maybank and when he was in charge of our various national teams.
He now has once again been tasked to lead the national junior hockey team – albeit temporarily – but the question remains why are we recycling the same old faces time and again?
It’s not just Tan. Stephen van Huizen was part of the furniture at Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) from the days it was known as Malaysian Hockey Federation until his last contract was not extended in December.
The former national captain went from assistant coach to coach of the national team and along the way became the only one to win silver medals at the Asian Games (which he did twice, by the way, in 2010 and 2018).
He, like Tan, was removed from the top post, then returned to helm the team, demoted again and moved to an administrative role before returning to coaching.
Honestly, van Huizen and Tan have been treated poorly by MHC. They should be saluted for staying loyal as it could have been easier to get jobs in other countries.
When things go south, the powers-that-be turn to them to save their behinds – case in point, appointing Tan for the Asian Junior Championship, which is the qualifying tournament for the 2021 Junior World Cup.
He will be assisted by Megat Azrafiq Termizi while Mohd Nasihin Nubli has been named goalkeepers’ coach.
Tenaga Nasional coach Nor Saiful Zaini Nasiruddin, who was previously the coach of the team, was named team manager.
Lailin Abu Hassan will coach the women’s juniors, assisted by Rahmah Othman while Roslan Jamaluddin will handle the goalkeepers.
Besides van Huizen, national women’s hockey coach K. Dharmaraj, Saiful, Nasihin, Lailin and Megat Azrafiq were axed by MHC last month.
But now the latter quartet is back in favour while Nasihin and Roslan, too, have been in and out of the national set-up for years.
Why does it seem like there is no proper succession plan for coaches?
What exactly has MHC done these past 25 years to raise the standard of coaching in the country? How many FIH-certified coaches has it produced in that time?
How many coaching courses have been held in the past year? How many new coaches have we produced since?
Don’t forget we have spent millions of ringgit on foreign coaches and experts and they too have failed to produce the desired results or pass on their knowledge to the locals.
The quality must be poor if we keep turning to the same old faces or perhaps the people in charge do not trust the young ones.
Tan’s last post with the national team was at the 2018 Youth Olympics and he guided Malaysia to the gold medal.
He now has five months to whip the team into shape for the Asian Juniors (the women’s event is in April).
Saiful, who was the juniors coach for the past four years, should have been given the task of leading the team with Tan perhaps taking on the role of advisor.
Again this smacks of a lack of planning.
If Malaysia is to regain its glory days in hockey, MHC has to do some soul-searching and increase the talent pool not just for players but for coaches as well.