By Martin Yee
ON HIS YOUNG shoulders rest the formidable tasks of shaping the face of Sarawak men’s hockey and of coaching and developing the Sarawak team.
Dangerouslee Matthew, 28, the new coach given the responsibilities, is willing to take up the challenge.
The Sarawak State Sports Council (MSNS) has given him that chance in the hope that recruiting him as the coach will inject a much needed boost to efforts to raise the standard of hockey and inspire young people in the sport in Sarawak.
In fact he was first offered the job of taking over from chief coach C. Sivasubramaniam, but he preferred to take on the men’s hockey team instead.
A kampung boy from Kampung Git in Padawan, Dangerouslee is the right person to do the job of helping Sarawak schoolboys who are mostly from the rural areas with a similar background like him.
He is known not only by his name but his place in Sarawak hockey history as the only Sarawak men’s hockey player to represent the nation in the national junior team, and playing professional hockey in the national TMB league.
He had also travelled to unimagined places like Kazan in Russia when he played for his university in the World University Games during his stint in the peninsula.
Dangerouslee, who earned his bachelor degree in mass communication from the Universiti Putra Malaysia, is also a living example for Sarawak youths dreaming of a career in sports.
Sarawak men’s hockey is not known as a powerhouse, but he can lay claim to being the first national-class player Sarawak has ever produced, all inspite of his humble beginnings.
His highest achievement playing for the national senior team was winning gold in the SEA Games in Myanmar in 2013.
The other hockey player from Sarawak who has played in the national league was his Sukma teammate Grafiti Oyester @ Sijau who also hails from the same kampung as Dangerouslee. Their fellow villager, Angela Kais, is a former member of the Malaysia women’s national football team.
“My aim to inspire kampung boys like me to play top level hockey one day as I believe I can help.
“When I go back to my kampung, there are many children who swarm around me asking for sticks so that they can play to emulate me as their childhood hero.
“Maybe like Pandelela Rinong in diving who is known and worshipped in her community, I am also respected in my kampung for my exploits in hockey,” reflected Dangerouslee recently.
“I believe I can help raise the standard of men’s hockey as I have been travelling to the rural schools in places like Marudi, Long Lama, Mukah and Kapit to conduct coaching clinics in order to lure players.
“But there must be long-term training. Our problem is the lack of a sports school so it is quite hard to catch up with the states in the peninsula which all have sports schools.”
He is in charge of the Sarawak men’s hockey team but as they will miss Sukma 2020, he will be assisting S. Sri Sakrunathan who is in charge of the Sarawak women’s hockey team.
Just recently, he assist coach Sakrunathan with the Sukma girls’ hockey team when they played a friendly match against a visiting Australian national under-21 team. The rookie coach did well as the team put up a good fight at the Padungan hockey stadium.
“I did miss my family when I was in Kuala Lumpur for five years when I was transferred there after Form 4.
“After completing my studies at the BJSS (Bukit Jalil Sports School) I was given a scholarship for higher learning to study Mass Com at the Universiti Putra.
“I was playing in the Under-14 in Kedah under the MHC (Malaysian Hockey Confederation) when I was selected.”
Brought up by Cikgu Kangot Awan at SMK Penrissen where he studied and started his playing career, Dangerouslee had previously studied at SK St Gilegit in his kampung at Padawan, about 40km from Kuching.
The youngest in a family of three, with only one sister who played hockey, Dangerouslee said he was lucky to get the chance to attend BJSS after studying at SMK Penrissen from Form 1 to Form 4.
He was selected to go to Bukit Jalil during an inter-state tournament in the peninsula when he caught the eye of a scout from the national sports school.
Playing for Sapura in the TMB League as a professional player, he was paid about RM4,000 for his efforts.
“At Bukit Jalil we trained every weekday from 6.30am to 8.30am and from 3.30pm to 5.30pm in the evening. In between we have our classes from 9.30am to 2.30pm.”
For a player with such humble roots in a rural kampung, his achievements as a hockey player is a path rarely taken but his experience surely can help spur young athletes to achieve a career like his. — DayakDaily