Many may mistaken Perak Hockey Association president, Mohd Sayuti Abdul Samat, as another layman walking around at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup International Men’s Hockey tournament.
For the 64-year-old second term president, a former national goalkeeper, the Azlan Shah Cup, is something which is close to his heart, having played in the second tournament in Ipoh in 1985 and after his playing career been the liaison officer for visiting teams and two terms as vice-president prior to becoming president.
“I am a grass root man and having come from the bottom, my position as president does not mean that I have to change and order people around,” said Sayuti who is his ever friendly self.
He does not have any air about himself and always on the ground.
He was seen at the stadium helping to carry mineral water boxes for the tournament, dropped by to meet the Malaysian team in training, welcoming teams checking in to their hotel for the tournament, making his rounds to the secretariat and media room to greet the staff working there and talk to them, meeting fans at the Stadium and never hesitates to stop to talk to anyone who recognises him as a former Perak and national goalkeeper and greets him.
“Having come from the bottom, I know what it means to be greeted, help and be part of the community at large. Nothing has changed with me. I am still a human being and must treat everyone with respect.
“I am very passionate about hockey, which has played a huge part in shaping me and putting me where I am today,” said the successful businessman.
“I am just giving back to the game, what it has given me.
“The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is close to my heart because I played in the first tournament which was played in Ipoh, after the first was held in Kuala Lumpur.
“Malaysia lost to India 2-4 in the final and I am hoping that the first tournament I am handling as a President this time around, will see Malaysia win the title for the first time,” said the father of three and grandfather to seven children.
“Perak has emerged three times consecutive Razak Cup champion with me helming as president, and I hope that Malaysia can win the Sultan Azlan Cup for the first time to add another feather to my cap and make up for my disappointment of having lost to India in the final in 1985.”
Sayuti, who personally appointed Amarjit Singh Jessy, as the secretary – another true-bred hockey man being an international hockey umpire – indeed have forged a perfect pair in the rise and management of Perak hockey together with his support management team.
If only we have ex-sportsmen involved in the management of sports in the country, maybe we can see a vast improvement in the development and management of sports in general.
Kudos Sayuti! Indeed a proud contribution as a sportsman to the nation.