MAN ON A MISSION .. Selvaraju (third from left) being recognised for his role in getting clubs to hire Malaysian women.
By Naqib Nor Said
KUALA LUMPUR: Former national player S. Selvaraju warned the four women's hockey players heading to play in Germany and Italy not to take it as a holiday, but pave the way for others to follow suit.
Selvaraju was the middleman who secured playing contracts for
Nuraini Rashid and Fatin Syafika Sukri with Butterfly Roma in Italy while Hanis Nadiah Onn and Wan Norfaiezah Saiuti will play with German club Wespen Zehlendorfer.
For the first time, Malaysian women will not be going overseas on National Sports Council paid-attachments, but fully paid by clubs for their services.
Selvaraju, who has played with 13 overseas clubs to date, said: "Malaysia has many talented players in the men's and women's teams but they find it difficult to play overseas because of language, food and different playing styles becoming main barriers.
"But these clubs were are to give our women a chance, and take my word, because I have successfully done the same with our men before.
Three more coach K. Dharmaraj's players -- Raja Norsharina Shabuddin, Surizan Awang Noh and Nuraslinda Said -- are on the waiting list because the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) is still in discussion with Uddingston HC in Glasgow, Scotland.
Meanwhile, Wespen Zehlendorfer's team manager said: "We are newcomers in Division One and so, I believe it was a smart move by us to have two of Malaysia's top players with us for two months.
"It will also have a good impact on our relationship with the Malaysian HC as earlier we have fielded men's national palayers in our club (Baljit Singh Charun, Harvinder Singh, S. Selvaraju and Shazrul Imran Nazli).
Butterfly Roma are also newcomers in Italy's Division One and will be coached by Argentine Sergio Herrera this season.