PROJECT 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj will disband his squad after the India Tour, and has challenged his players to preform in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) to warrant a re-call.
The Project boys, in training for the 2013 Junior World Cup, will head to India to train and play in a tournament in October.
“I will disband the Project squad after our India Tour and let them play for clubs in the MHL. And my challenge to them is that if they want their spots back in the Project side, they must show me that they can shine when pitted against the best in the country,” said Dharmaraj.
“Many of my players performed exceptionally well during the Europe Tour, and four of them have even received offers to play in German and Netherlands Clubs.
“However, since some players and coaches have ap proached me and said that so-and-so also warrants a place in the 2013 squad for performing in the Junior League and other smaller domestic tournaments, I throw them a chal lenge to show me what they have in the MHL.”
In the last MHL season, the majority of Project boys played for UniKL: “This year, I have been told that many other established clubs are also looking to sign up Project boys.
“This is a good sign that the MHL is progressing because in the past years, clubs were not keen to hire junior players and relied in former internationals who had retired more than 10 years ago.
“Now, with younger players in the MHL, it will become more competitive and with no clear favourites like in the JHL, everyone has a chance to show off their skills and be spotted for national training,” said Dharmaraj.
Dharmaraj, a former international together with his broth er Embaraj, lamented the fact that current Malaysian players are not recognised in the world of hockey.
“In the past, we had many players who terrorised strong opponents and their names were remembered and feared among hockey playing nations.
“Sad to say, out present batch are not only almost un known, they are also not feared in tournaments, and that is why we find it even difficult to beat lower ranked teams.
“However, I believe some of the Project boys have the capabilities to become household names away from our shores.”