NATIONAL chief coach Tai Beng Hai is still unsure of coaching Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) side Sapura this season.
His contract with the national team expires end of July, while the MHL starts on Aug 1, but he is unsure if he will be allowed to coach a club side, if his contract with the national team is extended.
"I am still not sure about my contract with the national team, and if it is extended, will I be allowed to coach a club side? Many questions have to be answered before I can comment on Sapura," said Beng Hai.
In the meantime, Sapura are being handled by former national player Nishel Kumar.
"Sapura and two other teams had wanted to secure Korean players for the MHL, but after Korea failed to qualify for the Olympics, almost half the team have been called up for national duty, and it looks like many teams will be playing with local players in the MHL this season," said Beng Hai.
On the pros and cons of national coaches coaching club sides, Beng Hai said: "If national coaches are not allowed to coach clubs due to clauses in their contracts, can the other coaches continue with the same system because all the national players play in the MHL.
"There should be continuity in the coaching system, and having said that, the Premier Division is only for six weeks and personally I feel we should be allowed to handle clubs.
"I will wait for news on my contract, and the clause in it before I can decide on coaching Sapura."
Beng Hai coached Sapura last season, but then, he was not the national seniors coach.
National juniors coach Arul Selvaraj does not have a similar problem, because his contract allows him to coach a club side. Arul has been coaching UniKL as well as the juniors.
The MHL will have six teams this season, with double champions Terengganu Hockey Team the team to beat, while the other's are Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club, Sapura, Maybank, UniKL and Tenaga Nasional.
THT coach Sarjit Singh said he is trying to secure five top foreign players: "Since the closing date to sign foreign players is July 26, I'm still negotiating with five top players and it looks promising. I can't reveal their nationality, sufficient to say they are calibre players and will help THT defend their double."