Friday, June 1, 2012
Faizal primed EHL debut..
NATIONAL juniors coach K. Dharmaraj is looking to send 20 of his charges to play in overseas leagues, as the offers have been pouring in since Malaysia won the Junior Asia Cup.
Faizal Saari, six goals in the Junior Asia Cup and four goals in the ongoing Azlan Shah Cup, has received an offer to play for a Spanish club in the European Hockey League.
“My target is to have at least 20 juniors playing overseas this year and arrangements are currently being handled by team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
“There have been offers from New Zealand, Australia, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Ireland for the juniors and the only thing holding back is the uncertainty over the local calendar,” said Dharmaraj.
The worry is over the Malaysian Hockey League, as if it is held in August onwards, many players who have signed one- year contracts with clubs will not be able to travel over seas.
“I hope if the scheduled stints clash with the MHL, the local league would be postponed to a later date as it would be difficult to get release from clubs who have signed the juniors for the whole year,” lamented Dharmaraj.
As for Faizal: “He is fast becoming an asset to Malaysian hockey and if he plays for the Spanish club, it will be top- notch exposure in the competitive EHL (European Hockey League),” said Dharmaraj.
Faizal and Shukri Mutalib played in the Australian Hockey League last year, after Faizal showed super form to score three goals in the last Azlan Shah Cup.
“Izzat (Sumantri) and Noor Faeez (Ibrahim) played in the Dutch League (in 2010) and their transformation was just amazing.
“Back then, the players were supported by the National Sports Council as clubs were not ready to fork their bill. But now, our juniors are receiving offers which cover their flight, accommodation and other benefits.
“This certainly is a turning point for Malaysian hockey and the opportunity must not be missed,” said Dharmaraj.