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Congratulations Pearl Lee.

UPDATE 2.53pm: After reading this article, I wonder who actually won the award. A case of lembu punya susu, SAPI dapat nama?

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The Malay Mail's assistant news editor Pearl Lee bagged the Best Investigative Report award at the prestigious Malaysian Press Institute awards ceremony at the Royal Chulan Hotel hours earlier.

Her winning article was the Fruitless RM17m City Orchard published on July 11, 2011.

She was also part of the three journos nominated for the Kajai award.

Foul! would like to congratulate Pearl for the well deserved win.

HD says: Well done!

TSAM-FAM fiasco a big fat joke.

Hello Mr Haresh,
Actually saya adalah follower setia blog foul. Sangat meminati cara saudara dalam menyentuh apa jua isu berkaitan sukan negara. Disini saya ingin bertanya tentang pandangan peribadi saudara berkaitan apa yang dikatakan oleh Tan Sri Annuar Musa berkaitan skuad K.Rajagopal. Secara peribadi, saya telah mendengar secara jelas interview berkenaan dan saya dapati tidak ada sebarang isu yang perlu diperbesarkan kerana dalam banyak2 point yang diberikan, kenapa angle kritikan itu yang dihighlight kan? Saya dapati lately cemuhan daripada wartawan seperti Wan Fakhrul,Ahmad Khawari Isa, Fina Nasrom, Rizal Hashim berkaitan perkara ini. Adakah wartawan sekarang terlalu biased atau hipokrit skrang?
Saya pernah terbaca kritikan terbuka Rizal Hashim terhadap K.Rajagopal dan adakah skrang ni you merasakan skuad kebangsaan kita benar2 di landasan tepat untuk mempertahankan piala AFF sedangkan kita tak pernah menang sejak tersingkir daripada Kelayakan Piala Dunia?
Apa panda…

Who will be the new coach?

UPDATE - Friday (11am): MHC vice senior vice president Prof Dr S.Shamala respects Mike's decision to quit but questioned the timing. Loosely said, not cool bro.

Meanwhile, MHC concluded the coaches - Tai Beng Hai and his assistant Nor Saiful Zaini will be retained as reported here.

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First Maninderjit Singh quit as Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) secretary.
Now national coach Tai Beng Hai submitted his resignation letter as reported here. All this in a span of two days.Maninderjit, or better known as Mike, is believed to have left MHC to pursue his education.Beng Hai, meanwhile, must certainly be disappointed over the team’s failure to book a berth in the London Olympics.Some journalists have plenty to say about the duo. There are times they avoid members of the Media by not answering phone calls or simply shying away - as seen here.I’ve known Mike since his playing days and even better when he coached SMK Sri Hartamas with Minarwan Nawawi in the KL U-16 league some 10 years a…

Dr Ramlan asked to quit

UPDATE - Friday (11am): NSI chairman Prof Dr Mohd Zin Bidin said it's Dr Ramlan - for now. Read more in today's Mailsport.

UPDATE 9.51am: I was informed there is a petition going around to discredit NSI and it was also published here. Once again, I hope it is mere talk.

3.24pm: It's business as usual - in today's Mailsport.

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For those of you who actually care, National Sports Institute (NSI) chief executive officer Dr Ramlan Aziz (pic) is admitted at the Serdang Hospital as he is suffering from severe pancreatitis.

For the rest of you, Ramlan – who is brother to famous music composer Roslan Aziz – has been asked to leave his post by April 1, 2012.
Apparently a handful of individuals believe they can do abetter job running NSI. They vented their frustrations to the Sports Ministry secretary general Mohid Mohammad – or so I was told.
I was also told by someone reliable within the Ministry that a letter was issued to Ramlan last week.
Obviously everyone would now want to b…

Peluang berkunjung ke ESPN Singapura.

Ingin melihat artikel anda di laman web ESPN beserta lawatan ke studio ESS dan bilik berita di Singapura?

Mudah sahaja. Hantarkan artikel tentang sebarang sukan (seperti F1, Liga Malaysia, dll) semasa pertandingan dijalankan lebih dari 300 patah perkataan. Artikel anda mungkin akan dipaparkan di laman web ESPN.

Pemenang hadiah utama akan diterbangkan ke Singapura untuk lawatan selama 2 hari 1 malam di Pejabat ESS dimana anda akan berpeluang bertemu penyampai ESS kegemaran anda, menonton rakaman Sports Center, pelajari tentang ESPNEWS dan luangkan masa bersama pasukan editor espnstar.com untuk pelajari tentang bidang pemberitaan.

Tarikh tutup penyertaan adalah pada Mei 5, 2012.

Untuk maklumat lanjut, sila layari ESPNStar.my

HD kata: Kalau gua join boleh tak? Hehe

What if our footballer suffered a cardiac arrest?

I wonder if we would be equipped at the sidelines to ensure the footballer survives.

But judging from the Harimau Muda-Selangor friendly match last month, there wasn't any medical personnel around. No ambulance either.

So if the national footballers do not have proper support, what more those playing in the lower leagues.

From the Sidelines is back but this time around it is a column shared by all those sitting in the sports desk. And to start the week, I said let's not wait till it is too late as published in today's Mailsport.

An early race.

Fernando Alonso won the Malaysian GP just minutes ago.

While the feat will be highlighted on the backpages of most newspapers tomorrow, there is a question that lingers on the minds of many - is there a need for the race to start earlier?

The race was stopped for sometime due to the heavy downpour and resumed just to end in time before there was complete darkness at the Sepang International Circuit.

To erect floodlights could turn out to be an expensive affair for the government and will not serve much of a purpose unlike in Singapore where the layout which is actually a series of streets in the city.

The need for the race to start at 4pm is to cater for the European viewers but it is strongly believed there is already an increasing number of viewers within the region (or similar time zone).

Starting early could also help see an increase of numbers at the stands which is quite disappointing at this year's race.

And there were claims of the roof leaking at the grandstand.

There is a dire…

A 'Pakatan' to ruin football?

This video - Teacher sees purple at white glove rally - caught my attention earlier today.

I admit I was not there at the field. If I was, I would surely have a field day writing about it in The Malay Mail.

We see this sudden urge of making our voices heard. That is good - but not at the expense of school children training on the field.

After having viewed this video several times and reading up about this rally, I have to take my hats off to the coach for standing up for his children and their training programme.

It is only in this country where fields and stadiums are used for concerts, parades and yes, now even for demonstrations. Sadly, these are the same people who then take pot shots at the standards of our football and lambast the quality of our fields. However, it could be a rugby team training there and it's even worse as there is no proper dedicated rugby stadium in the country.

The video is self-explanatory for there will be certain quarters who will then quickly claim I hav…

Chong Wei isn't a mascot.

“Let’s put it this way, our focus is still the Olympics. If Chong Wei is fit, I’m sure he will play. If he is not fit, then there is no point forcing."

Those were the words of Lee Chong Wei's coach Tey Seu Bock.

The inaugural Axiata Cup starts today. Honestly, I am all for tournaments that will help excite and further promote the sport.

But tournaments can still be popular - with or without the world No 1 - if the marketing is done right.

Malaysia will play tonight at the KLBA Stadium in Cheras and they are expected to start playing from 10pm onwards (as first match starts at 8pm).

Ironically, the matches in Jakarta starts at 1pm today.

The dateline for most newspapers are at 11pm. It remains to be seen how many people will swing by that late on a Friday night - the same night where roads will be closed for the preparation of the Police Day celebrations and a concert at KLCC in conjunction with the F1.

I hope I am wrong though.

And as for Chong Wei. If he wants to play, fine he sho…

What's the real story with Selangor?

It hasn't exactly been a rosy start for the Red Giants.

From 11 matches, the Klang Valley team have only won four.

It's quite demoralising for a team that is supposedly referred to as the big boys of Malaysian football.

They lack the fangs upfront. Good build up, many chances but fail to convert it into goals - something Irfan acknowledges.

Some say Irfan was blessed with good players during his time in Terengganu and that made his job easier last season. This season, his real coaching capabilities are being tested and he hasn't scored big time yet.

But there are others who said that Irfan cannot be blamed - as just like K.Devan last season - Selangor lack a quality striker.

Bosko Balaban? He is getting there...hopefully...I think.

For now it is back to the basics for Irfan and Co. But how long will that last? And is Irfan's job at stake?

HD says: Would like to see Selangor find their groove soon.

TMJ: Man who speaks his mind

We spoke about many things during our two hours conversation in Johor Baru on Sunday.

I told Tengku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Ibrahim that people generally don't like royalties and politicians in sports.

I told him that he surprised many by claiming to be the Johor FA president even before the election was done.

I asked him why the need to only have one state team when Johor FC is doing quite well.

Last but not least, I also asked him about his fascination with Twitter.

The young prince has big dreams. He expressed his love toward his grandfather, his father and the Indian Army.

And when we spoke about his fleet of cars, he quickly said; "Mind you, we pay roadtax".

"We also don't take money from the government. It is channeled to a foundation instead."

Read this exclusive no-holds-barred interview in today's Mailsport.

HD says: Tuanku, I thank you for your time. Hope we could spend more time soon.

"This is not an attack on the police"

UPDATE March 21, 2012 11.06am: A Johor Football Association official has been detained for alleged involvement in match-fixing in the state.

Sources said the woman, alleged to have links to certain bookies, was remanded for seven days to facilitate police investigations.

They said police were also investigating claims that she was closely linked to a police officer from the anti-vice and gaming division.

Read more here.

Meanwhile, Johor FA applaud investigation by Police as reported here.

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Update 5.11pm: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will scrutinise reports claiming elements of bribery involving several cops from Johor who are linked to football bookies. Read the full Bernama report here.

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Tengku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Ibrahim had via his tweet on Saturday said "D7 officer is one of the bookies in JOHOR. Also involve in other crimes."

Instead of just relying on the tweet, I had to clarify and was given an opportunity to "menghadap" Tunku …

Tunku Ismail to take over MAF?

UPDATE March 22 9.53am - The picture (left) of Tunku Ismail with several MAF officials was emailed to me just minutes ago. The title of the email was 'TMJ bersama ahli majlis KOM'.

Not too long ago when I said the president's post will be contested some parties were quick to say NO. Someone care to explain now? I was told MAF changed their constitution and will see all positions contested for the coming elections.

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"I was told about the plight of the athletes. I feel their pain."

Those were the words of Tengku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Ibrahim.

I was given the opportunity to "menghadap" Tunku Ismail in Johor Baru on Sunday. We spoke about several things - from cars to football and him being on Twitter.

During the conversation, Tunku Ismail revealed he was recently approached to take over the Malaysian Athletics Federation.

Read more of Tunku Ismail's revelation in today's Mailsport.

HD says: It was a hectic yet fruitful day trip to Johor Baru.

What schools sports?

Schools sports have always been close to my heart.

I started my career in journalism by covering school-level tournaments before graduating to the senior level - a luxury not many journalists have today as most seem to immediately cover the major stuff.

I remember writing about Kevinder Singh during his days with Royal Military College. Some made it beyond the schools level. Most simply disappeared from the scene.

I also remember doing my Basic Sports Administration Course under the International Olympic Council together with Education Ministry sports unit head Ee Hong. She was just placed into the hot seat then and wanted to educate herself further in sports. Such an attitude ought to be applauded.

Then we have Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin trying to leave a legacy by introducing the 1Student 1Sport programme. Noble as it may sound, the reality is that students in the 80s and 90s grew up with the requirement of having to take up at least 1 sport, 1 uniformed body and 1 club / socie…

Police officer a bookie?

The Johor Prince strikes again!
Known for his tough stand against football corruption, Tengku Ismail Ibrahim dropped a bomb on his twitter page saying;
"D7 Officer is one of the bookies in JOHOR. Also involve in other crimes. To be Transfer out with Immediate Effect!"
That's a serious allegation and I'm sure Federal Secret Societies, Gambling and Vice (D7) CID principal assistant director, Abdul Jali Hassan - the good and humble man he is - will not be too pleased with such news implicating one of his men.
For the record, Abdul Jalil is part of the FA of Malaysia (FAM) recently formed Integrity Unit set up to tackle match-fixing in the country.
HD says: Tuanku, we share one thing in common when it comes to match-fixing. It would be great if we could collaborate.

RIP Latifah

The sporting fraternity lost another leading figure, this time in the form of Latifah Tan Sri Ya'cob (pic).

Latifah passed away this morning due to cancer. She was 62.

She was the former secretary of the Malaysian Fencing Federation and was the assistant secretary for the Olympic Council of Malaysia from 2000 until 2007.

Read more of Latifah's passing here.

Foul! would like to extend our condolences to her family members.

HD says: May she rest in peace.

Harimau Muda - How they fared.

As published in Mailsport.

The Harimau Muda lads finally completed their pre-Olympic campaign.

Having lost 3-0 to Syria on Wednesday en route to finishing at the bottom of Group C in the third round of the Asian qualifiers, the performance of the youngsters received mixed reaction from fans and observers alike.

Man-of-the-Match Mardek Mardkian scored a brace and later assisted teammate Al Suma to score the third goal for the Syrians.

National defender Fadhli Shas, meanwhile, was sent off for a questionable challenge forcing Malaysia to play with 10 men.

There are those who credited the team, saying it has been awhile since Malaysia actually made it to the final rounds of the qualifiers. The nation have only qualified for the Olympics on two occasions — the 1972 Munich and 1980 Moscow Games. However, Malaysia boycotted the 1980 edition after Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, Harimau Muda A coach Ong Kim Swee and his lads have received brickbats from certain quarters.

Not netting…

Tiada pemain Kelantan

UPDATE 12.28am March 17, 2012: Before certain quarters start jumping before even reading between the lines, here is my reasoning for this posting.

Honestly, I don't care about what Annuar Musa had said about K.Rajagobal and I am not going to pretend to be the world's best coach by questioning Rajagobal's selection. I'm sure he knows best.

What I would like to question is the timing of the centralised training. It is a known fact Rajagobal hardly gets time with the boys and to conduct a centralised training which will not feature several of his natural choices will surely be a set back. I do not need to be a world class qualified coach to know that.

Also, why wasn't this thought of as we all knew Kelantan and Terengganu will feature in the AFC Cup this season. It simply boils down to planning.

I spoke to a coach of a team and when I explained my rationale, he agreed. Some teams claim the fixture is packed - now this could have been avoided with PROPER planning - perhaps…

'Unqualified' umpire?

Gavin Smith will now be a famous man for the wrong reasons.
The English umpire certainly pissed Koo Kien Keat off by flashing a red card in the second round of the men's doubles match at last week's All-England championship. Kien Keat refused to speak to the media leaving Tan Boon Heong to do the talking after the Malaysian pair lost the match.
But checks show that Gavin is only an accredited umpire by the Badminton Europe Confederation as published in the Badminton Umpires Association of England website (pic).
A quick check with the Badminton World Federation website also shows Gavin is not listed in their list of accredited and certificated umpires.
So if Gavin is not qualified to officiate the match, who put him there in the first place? Despite the All-England was held in UK - being a European country - it is a Super Series Premier event.
Imagine an Asian region qualified referee who is not recognised with Fifa officiating a World Cup match?
Don't expect the BA of Malaysi…

Kini pula hal Abe Raja...

Sebagai permulaan, saya tidak prejudis sama sekali terhadap timbalan presiden FAM Annuar Musa mahupun individu-individu yang lain.
Tetapi saya agak hairan dan tertarik dengan 'kenyataan' Annuar Musa di Harian Metro semalam.
Beliau dipetik berkata; "Secara terus-terang dan peribadi, saya merasakan prestasi (skuad negara) tidak menentu. Kadang-kadang kala alasan yang diberikan tidak boleh diterima oleh semua pihak seperti hendak mencuba. Bola sepak adalah perkara yang berjalan sepanjang masa dan tidak boleh mengatakan ia lakukan untuk tempoh empat tahun akan datang.“Ia perlu disukat pada setiap masa dan kejohanan, siapa yang boleh menjamin empat tahun lagi kita akan menjadi lebih baik,” kata ketika ditemui semalam."Annuar Musa, dalam Facebook-nya, berkata kenyataannya disalah tafsir oleh pihak Media tetapi posting tersebut siap dengan berpuluh-puluh komen tiba-tiba dipadamkan. Agak menghairankan...Apa yang juga menghairankan, dan jika benar kata-kata Annuar Musa seperti d…

Syria v Malaysia

UPDATE 9.15pm: Syria 3 Malaysia 0
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It is the final Group match of the Olympic qualifiers (kick off 7.00pm Malaysian time).

Syria may have internal unrest in its country forcing them to host the Malaysians in Jordan but look set of nailing another three points and threatening leaders Japan.

For the Malaysians, it is all about an opportunity to play with a rather formidable Middle Eastern team. Bluntly put, the match has no significance for the Malaysians as we sit at the bottom of the Group with no points.

On one hand, one can credit Ong Kim Swee's lads for reaching this far in the tournament. They also produced a gritty performance against some of the best teams in the region.

On the other hand, do we celebrate mediocrity for we know our boys can perform better?

The Star's Eric Samuel took a direct swipe by saying Malaysian football cannot make it at Asian level. NST's Ajitpal Singh wrote Malaysia is playing for pride.

Meanwhile, Mahali Jasuli regrets he is not with the team …

The Chance 2012

Pep Guardiola (pic) today launched ‘The Chance’ 2012 – a unique global football talent search that gives young amateur footballers from around the world the chance to prove themselves on an elite stage and take their game to the highest level.Created to support talented youngsters who are not currently in the professional game, ‘The Chance’ will allow the best young footballers (over 16 years old on March 1st 2012) to train and play at the leading facilities in world football, showcase their skills in front of elite coaches and mentors, and develop and improve their talent, with one aim; to get noticed.Players from 55 countries around the world will take part in ‘The Chance’ trials in 2012.The best 100 players from these trials, watched by top Nike coaches, will then travel to a global final in Spain, to be held at FC Barcelona’s famed youth academy. There, they will experience world class facilities, elite coaching, and input from nutritionists, psychologists and fitness conditioners…

Can OCM act?

UPDATE March 14, 2012: OCM, at its board meeting yesterday, decided to write to MAF seeking for an explanation. More in today's Mailsport.

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This is about the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) doping fiasco.

I find it difficult to comprehend that no party can take action against the national body for its failure to disclose vital information as seen in a report it compiled on Sept 12, 2011 which was then handed to the president on Sept 27, 2011.

1. The National Sports Council are merely the funding arm of the Sports Ministry and have no jurisdiction over national sports associations. They can only withhold the allowances or sack their salaried coaches and withhold expenses for the training programme especially for the elite athletes.

2. The Sports Commissioner's Office can only take action against administrative flaws by the association.

3. The IAAF and Wada, despite emails to them, have yet to respond.

4. But I browsed through the Olympic Council of Malaysia's constitution…

Kecik goes to Japan

UPDATE March 13, 2012 12.15am: National striker Safee Sali commends his compatriots and told them not to fear other Asian players. Read more here.

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"The agent who runs Japan Dream FA was a former Gamba Osaka skipper. I can't really remember his name right now but he approached me at Tosu Stadium.

He said some people might laugh that Ryukyu has set their sights on Kecik but he strongly believes in the lad and believes if Kecik wants it badly, he will make an impression in Japan." - Harimau Muda A coach Ong Kim Swee.

RIP Master Vincent

"And one teacher who is close to the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Johannians is Master Vincent Fernandez. Besides being a Physical Education teacher and the sports secretary of the school, he also coached the St. John's Institution hockey team.

Master Vincent is a true 'green' Johannian, having studied in the school from 1949 to 1957 and returned to the school to start his teaching career in 1963 and retired in 1997.

Master Vincent also has been doing sports commentary with Radio 4 (now Traxx FM) since 1963. He started with four minutes of sports roundup between 9.25pm and 9.30pm daily, before a longer time slot was dedicated to sports through Arena Sukan.

He is also one of the founding members of the Sunday Sports Talk on Traxx FM."

That was taken from the blog posting To Sir With Love, written by former The Malay Mail sports editor Tony Mariadass in 2009. Tony once again writes about his memory of Vincent in his latest posting here.

The younger genera…

Malaysia now 152

A quick update on this month's Fifa ranking:

1. Spain
2. Netherlands
3. Germany
....
98. Vietnam
139. Thailand
147. Indonesia
150. Singapore
152. MALAYSIA
157. The Philippines
173. Laos
177. Myanmar

Ok, now we're better than The Philippines, Laos and Mynmar but still are certainly a long way from Vietnam.

Take note that winning the AFF Suzuki Cup does not contribute to the points of the Fifa standings as Fifa's affiliate in this region is the AFC and not the AFF. (Note: Devinder has pointed out that AFF Suzuki Cup matches "are considered friendly matches and thus receive the lowest weights when computing points for the rankings").

Also take note that winning the gold medal at the Sea Games does not contribute any points as it is an Under-23 tournament and not participated by the senior national team.

Also, do take note that some people say the Fifa ranking is not everything as it depends on the number of matches a team plays and the quality of the opponents.

So can the same argum…

Selamat pengantin baru Manaf

I decided to give the controversial stories a break and to celebrate joyous moments instead.
From the episode in Kota Baru, we hop over to Kuala Terengganu as Terengganu striker Abdul Manaf Mamat tied the knot with his childhood sweetheart Sabihah Johan yesterday.
Congratulations to Manaf and Sabihah.
Also, KL's striker Stanley Bernard celebrates his birthday today and a perfect gift would be beating Kelantan as both teams play in the second round of the FA Cup tonight.
HD says: Have fun this weekend folks!






Kelantan spat turns ugly

UPDATE 1.55pm: Just got off the phone with Peter Butler who is in Indonesia at the moment. Here is what he said:

"Let's get some facts straight. Firstly, I never walked out from Kelantan during my first stint. There was a clause in my contract stating Kelantan were to get back to me three months before my contract ended to notify me if they wanted to renew my contract.

They never did.

So I left as I was told they wanted to see how I would fare in the Malaysia Cup before thinking of renewing my contact.

I came back because despite leaving, Annuar Musa and I still kept in touch and were very amicable. He offered me the job as Kelantan will be playing in the AFC Cup.

What I noticed is that I was not notified about important things including the hiring of players. I would only be notified if I asked.

I do not have any problems with the management. Dato Afendi is a great guy, so is Tuan Haji Azman. I know the players were fully supportive of me as I have received text messages from t…

Philippines to win AFF Cup?

Don't be surprised. Even national coach K.Rajagobal did not discount the possibility.

Beware of the Filipinos - said Rajagobal as pubished in today's Mailsport.

After all look at their line-up. They have Fulham goalkeeper Neil Etheridge (pic), FSV Frankfurt defender Dennis Cagara and Germany-based players Denis Wolf of FC Madgeburg and SpVgg Greuther Furth’s Stephan Schrock. There's also former Chelsea youth and reserve team midfielder James Younghusband.

After all, the Philippines were the semifinalists of the 2010 edition.

"Have you seen Thailand play lately? I was amazed and thanked my lucky stars they weren't playing such a brand of football at the previous AFF Cup," admitted Rajagobal.

There's also Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Also, Rajagobal stressed - yet again - that his target remains qualifying for the 2015 Asian Cup.

"I am not making up excuses. We will know where the team stands by next year. I know when to leave and if I have failed, I …

Mokhtar Dahari Challenge

The “Mokhtar Dahari Challenge” is an annual football tournament open to all former students of Victoria Institution.

Since its inception in 2003, the tournament has become an annual gathering for the boys.

This year 30 teams will participate in 3 different categories, open, masters and seniors. From batch 1978 to 2006, former national players like Shahrin Majid, Paul Raj, Ahmad Fairuz Yunos will comeback and play at the school ground where they used to train as a school boy.This Challenge Shield is a tribute to the late Mokhtar Dahari, arguably the best football player to ever don Malaysia’s national colours.
He rose to prominence as a footballing talent back during his V.I. years and went on to become the nation’s most beloved striker.Below are the details for the tournament:Fees : RM 500.00 per team Date : 10th March 2012Time : 8am - 6pmVenue : Victoria Institution school field For more info, contact Rashdan at 010-2260296
HD says: All the best to the participati…

Elections an illusion?

I received several phone calls regarding my earlier articles and those who called echoed similar sentiments - that the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) will try and use the elections as way to create an illusion from the on-going doping scandal.
"There are attempts to rush the election so that the affiliates will be busy campaigning and will eventually forget about the doping issue. There are certain quarters who want the matter to suffer a natural death.”
Hmmm.....

HD says:I'm longing for the day to write about a major achievement in athletics rather than the constant major screw up.