Malaysia: Pitch for quantity, MHF |
August 1, 2005
New Straits Times
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MALAYSIAN Hockey Federation (MHF) development coach R. Vivekanandan armed himself with a questionnaire when he was invited for a International Hockey Federation (FIH) High Performance course and came back with some startling data.
"I wanted to find out more about the facilities and coaching strength of hockey playing countries, so I took along a questionnaire and during breaks, I asked coaches from other countries to fill them up.
"The data is important as it shows that a high number of qualified coaches and facilities does not mean that the country will be among the medal winners in major tournaments.
"But it helps to build a big base of hockey players in the country and will produce a sports loving culture to keep our children fit and healthy," said Vivekanandan.
Argentina only have 10 water-based and 20 sand-based artificial pitches and not a single indoor pitch, but were silver medallists in the 2001 Junior World Cup and champions in the just concluded Eighth Junior World Cup.
As for coaches, Argentina only have 10 FIH qualified and 150 local level coaches.
Malaysia, who finished 12th in 2001, and 10th in this edition, have 27 water-based pitches and no sand-based or indoor pitches. Malaysia also have 15 FIH and 2,166 local coaches.
"I believe Malaysia need to have a bigger base of players to select from as compared to other countries who can do well even though they only have few hockey players.
"The number of artificial pitches that we have are just enough for us to be number 10 in the world, but to become No 1, we should lay at least one training turf (sand based), which costs about RM600,000, and one water-based turf in every district by 2020.
Vivekanandan also felt that the MHF Coaching Committee should concentrate on quality, not quantity.
"Coaches who have completed FIH courses should be made to serve with the MHF or the NSC (National Sports Council) for five years and not use their certificates to earn money with clubs.
"I believe that if the MHF and NSC keep their trust in the current batch of coaches and junior players, it would not be impossible to land the gold medal in the 2012 Asian Games."
India, with millions playing hockey, only have 30 pitches, 15 FIH qualified and 20 local coaches.
Twenty local coaches?
"India have a system where their local coaches need to pass a diploma course in Patiala before they can coach and this has reduced the number of qualified coaches."
Overall, for Vivekanandan, the FIH course was an eye opener for him and he will forward his recommendations to the MHF for further action.
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