MAYBANK look set to part with tradition, and hire foreign players for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) challenge starting on Sept 1.
The Tigers, among the pioneers of the MHL which made its debut on 1987, has only hired Singaporean Mohamed Ali in 2005 before this as they kept a local line-up.
And they were former greats who won the Overall titles in 1988, 1990 and 1994 and League titles in 1994 and 1995.
However, the bankers have been struggling to find a footing for the last 10 years.
Although there were no conformation from Maybank officials on their quest to hire foreign guns, it is believed Pakistan players Shakeel Abasi and Muhammad Waqas as well as a New Zealand player will don their colours this season.
Shakeel and Waqas played for Yayasan Negri Sembilan two years ago, and recently helped Pakistan finish seventh in the London Olympics.
Maybank coach Wallace Tan refused to be drawn into confirming or denying the foreign inclusion move: “At pre sent there is nothing I can say except that I have been training the team over the past month.
“It will be a tough league given that only four teams will make the semis, instead of having a quarter-final stage.”
Wallace said he will leave it to the management to make an announcement, if Maybank were to hire foreign players.
“The usual suspects , KL Hockey Club, Tenaga Nasional and Sapura are the teams to beat so, really, the rest of us (Maybank, Nur Insafi-MBI and UniKL) will be fighting for the single semis berth.
“Although the league is short, only five weeks, we un derstand the plight of MHC (Malaysian Hockey Confed eration) and it is important that the players have a high level of fitness and play consistently.”
Maybank are relatively an unchanged side made up of former players, and will only have one current international in Hafifihafiz Hanafi.
That is why they need foreign inclusion in attack, if they want to snatch a semis ticket.
Last season, Maybank were fourth in the League, and lost 3-0 to Sapura in the Overall bronze battle.