YAYASAN Negri Sembilan (YNS) are having difficulties to source for foreign players for their Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) challenge, as all the top-flight players have a packed schedule in the coming months.
YNS registered three Pakistanis, five Indian players as well as one a Bangladeshi last season, but the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have limited the number of foreigners to six this year.
“Even looking for six quality players, from the Indian continent, is a tough task as Pakistan and India players have commitments in the Asian Champions Trophy and other tournaments,” said Negri Sembilan HA secretary P. Tamil Selvan.
But even with the best foreign players from Pakistan like Shakeel Abbasi and Mohamed Imran, YNS still finished fifth in the League and lost 2-1 and 4-2 to double champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) in the two-leg semifinals.
“We had the best then, but it looks like we will have to make do with some budding players from India and Pakistan for this season.
“And with the best local players also tied up with other clubs, we will make do with some home-talent to make up the numbers,” said Tamil.
The MHF will make a concrete stand on the issue of national players during their Aug 20 meeting. The MHF have three choices, starting with postponing the MHL to after the Olympic Qualifiers next year, allowing national players to represent their clubs, and the third is to bar national players and start the MHL on Sept 23.
“We do not have any national players, and I am of the opinion that the MHL will be more balanced if MHF decide to abide by the decision taken during a workshop to discuss the issue.”
YNS will hold MHL trials at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil at 8.30pm tonight, after the national team plays their fourth friendly against Japan at the same venue.
National coach Tai Beng Hai would is preparing a side for the First Asian Champions Trophy in China on Sept 3-11 and prefers that the MHL is held after the Olympic Qualifiers next year so that his training schedule will not be disrupted.