Saturday, May 7, 2016
PIC: National women's team in action in Kakamigahara, Japan.
THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Competitions Committee still needs 10 more days to decide if the planned Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) would be held smack in the middle of the Olympics, or changed to a later date.
In an earlier calender drawn up by the Competitions Committee, the MHL is slated to be held in August, but teams are crying fault, as they will not be able to secure foreign players form the top-twelve countries in the world who would be playing in Rio de Janeiro.
The MHL teams would only be able to sign second stringers, and players from countries which did not qualify for the Olympics.
"The Competitions Committee discussed about the MHL issue, and said they needed at least 10 days more to decide either to stick with August, or find an alternative date for it," said MHC CEO K. Logan Raj.
The meeting also decided that Division Two teams also can hire foreign players, if they want.
However, from the traditional MHL foreign list, only Pakistan, South Korea and Japan did not qualify for the Olympics and their players would be available for the MHL.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian women's team lost their seventh friendly on the Japan Tour.
It was the sixth match against the Japan Juniors, and the Malaysian senior women lost 2-0.
But despite the losing spree, women's coach K. Dharmaraj said his charges played extremely well.
"The team played a really good match, their best of the series thus far. We have 12 girls in this team who are Under 21 so the age difference with Japan isn't nearly as far as one would assume.
"Last year, Malaysia were thrashed by the bigger teams at the Junior Women's Asia Cup. Now, a majority of the same players are competitive against the No 1 and No 2 junior teams in Asia.
"There is visible progress, but we are still a good way off where we aspire to be", he explained.
Coach Dharmaraj's players beat Japan Juniors A 3-2 in the morning and held Japan Juniors B 2-2 in the evening of May 3, but their next back-to-back matches turned out to be drubbings.
They lost 2-0 to Japan Juniors A and Nanto Bank Japan 5-0 in matches played in Wednesday morning and evening.
And on Thursday, they played two more back-to-back matches and lost 2-1 to Japan Juniors and 5-1 to Japan Juniors A.
Malaysia will play two more games before returning home on May 10.