‘The Sticks’ tells how the util­ity gi­ant pow­ers hockey in Malaysia

New Straits Times - - Sport -


TE­NAGA Na­sional Bhd (TNB) is a start­ing block which has pro­pelled many hockey play­ers from re­mote vil­lages to the Olympic Vil­lage and to the World Cup stage.

The util­ity gi­ant has also nur­tured many coaches of cal­i­bre.

And TNB is still at it, gen­er­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for play­ers and oth­ers by pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ment and fi­nan­cial sup­port like a car­ing par­ent would.

To com­mem­o­rate the hockey greats, TNB launched a cof­fee ta­ble book ti­tled The Sticks, which is a com­pi­la­tion of its in­volve­ment in hockey as well as the greats who have played at the high­est level.

The book was launched by Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din with TNB chief cor­po­rate of­fi­cer Datuk Wira Roslan Ab Rah­man on Thurs­day while many for­mer and present Te­naga play­ers graced the oc­ca­sion.

From Ki­lat Club play­ers in the 1970s to cur­rent na­tional play­ers who work with TNB and rep­re­sent the na­tion, their stel­lar his­tory, with nos­tal­gic pic­tures, grace the cof­fee ta­ble book.

Hockey started with Ki­lat Club back in the 1950s, when they played in Di­vi­sion Two of the Se­lan­gor HA League.

It was TNB’s strength in em­ploy­ing hockey play­ers, many as me­ter read­ers, and giv­ing them much en­cour­age­ment, leave and play­ing gear, that made the com­pany a pow­er­house to pro­duce na­tional play­ers out of budding tal­ents.

House­hold names in hockey have TNB to thank for, for pro­vid­ing them with the sprint­ing block from the days of grass to ar­ti­fi­cial pitches.

Nor Saiful Zaini is one of the many who are thank­ful to TNB. For the en­ergy gi­ant gave him a chance to be­come a three timeO­lympian who com­peted in the 1992 Barcelona, 1996 At­lanta and 2000 Syd­ney Games.

“I am what I am to­day be­cause of Te­naga Na­sional. When they scouted my hockey tal­ent, I was of­fered a clerk’s po­si­tion and now I have reached man­age­rial level.

“And in hockey, the en­cour­age­ment and sup­port they gave me was sim­ply amaz­ing. I be­came a na­tional skip­per, three-time Olympian, played in the World Cup, Asian Games and Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy – all be­cause of Te­naga’s undy­ing sup­port,” said Nor Saiful.

Nor Saiful and many of his TNB team­mates are giv­ing back to the sport by run­ning the suc­cess­ful Thun­der­bolts pro­gramme that has made Thun­der­bolts a much feared power in the Ju­nior Hockey League.

For­mer Na­tional Ju­niors coach Bal­bir Singh said: “To sum it up, there is noth­ing bad that any hockey player who be­longs to the Ki­lat and then the TNB fam­ily can say about the com­pany.”

Bal­bir, in his 70s, still con­ducts ju­nior de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes at var­i­ous clubs in the Klang Val­ley with zest.

K. Ra­jan echoed Bal­bir’s sen­ti­ments. The 2009 Ju­nior World Cup coach, then Thai­land and now Sin­ga­pore head coach, be­lieves his for­tunes changed when he was re­cruited by Te­naga in his youth.

“Their sim­ple strat­egy of em­ploy­ing budding hockey play­ers has worked won­ders since the 1970s un­til to­day. I owe my ca­reer in sport to Te­naga, and I be­lieve many oth­ers share the same feel­ings,” said Ra­jan.

From the 1950s Ki­lat had the Shep­herd­son brothers Mike and Christie, and tal­ents like Kuldeep Singh, Jack John­son and Har­na­hal Singh will never be for­got­ten ei­ther.

The names be­low speak for TNB’s hockey pas­sion which was in­scripted in the cof­fee ta­ble book.

Poon Fook Loke, Razak Le­man, Brian Sta Maria, Foo Keat Seong, Su­laiman Sai­bot, M. Suren­thi­ran, Sar­jit Singh, Nor Saiful Zaini, K Em­baraj, S. Siv­a­balan, K. Dhar­maraj and Mir­nawan Nawawi.

The younger gen­er­a­tion will know Mad­zli Ik­mar, the late Chua Boon Huat, S. Ku­mar, Nor Azlan Bakar, Amin Rahim, M. Kal­iswaran, Faizal Shaari, Firhan Azhaari, Ra­madan Rosli.

The Ki­lat Padang has its own his­tory, as it was there back in 1975 that Malaysia beat the Nether­lands 2-1 to qual­ify for the semi­fi­nals and fin­ish fourth in the World Cup which is still the na­tion’s best achieve­ment to date.


Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din puts his sig­na­ture on a cof­fee ta­ble book ti­tled as (from left) OCM pres­i­dent Tunku Im­ran Tuanku Ja’afar, TNB chief cor­po­rate of­fi­cer Datuk Wira Roslan Ab Rah­man and MASOC chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Seri Zolk­ples Embong look on at the launch on Thurs­day.

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