NUR INSAFI, who avoided relegation in the Malaysia Hockey league (MHL) last season by standing on the shoul ders of a foreign legion, will go local this season.
Team manager M. Thaitchana sounded disillusioned when he said: “We have yet to start a serious preparation, because the MHF (Malaysian Hockey Federation) seem to be or ganising the league just for the sake or organising.”
The north-based team hired nine foreign players last season, but have scouted youth from Kedah, Perak and Penang Razak Cup sides for their challenge.
But the foreign players failed to produce desired results and they ended seventh out of nine teams in the League.
The MHL will be held on Sept 17 to Oct 23, around artificial pitches in the Klang Valley, and each team will only be allowed to register six foreign players.
“The players in training now are youth from the Kedah, Perak and Penang Razak Cup sides and I feel that since the MHF will hold the League for six weeks and in KL, it is not worth investing in foreign players for the short duration.
“I will be investing in young players, in the region of 18-21, to strengthen the youth base up north,” said Thaitchana.
The MHL clubs were in a dilemma until last week, when the council met and finally decided that national players can represent their clubs, and the MHL will be held over six weeks.
Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club, the double champions, have the lions’ share of nine national players, while Tenaga Nasional have seven.
That leaves other clubs with only a handful to select from.
“I am still the coach-cum-manager and with the young squad, I feel it will be difficult to achieve results against better prepared clubs.
“So, the main reason we are competing this season is to blood youth in the MHL and this could strengthen the player- base in the near future,” said Thaitchana.
Nine teams have registered for the Premier Division, while only four teams are expected to play in Division One when registration closes on Monday.