Sunday, January 24, 2010

MHF: Competition rules do not side Nur Insafi

THERE is only a slim chance that Nur Insafi will be allowed to play one leg of their Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division quarter-finals match in Penang.
Nur Insafi coach, who is also the club president, S. Thaitchana had said on Saturday that if the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) do not allow them to play one match in Penang, he will withdraw the team from the MHL.
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary Hashim Yusoff said yesterday that Nur Insafi complicated matters because they did not protest during the three team managers meetings, and also did not submit an official request to play one leg of the quarter-finals in Penang.
“First of all, I would like to say that the MHF held not one, as the norm, but three team managers meeting before the MHL and it was pointed out clearly in the slide presentation that all the quarter-final matches will be held in Kuala Lumpur.
“None of the team managers protested then, and the MHF took it in good faith and made it part of the tournament regulations,” said Hashim.
Hashim is also baffled on why Thaitchana is harping on the issue this late in competition.
“If they had any problems or suggestions, it should have been brought up during the managers meetings, and not this late. Also, I have not received any written request from Nur Insafi regarding their wish to play one home match,” said Hashim.
However, on goodwill, MHF will approach Nur Insafi’s opponents Sapura and seek their views before making an official stand on the matter.
“We are here to promote hockey and so, purely on goodwill, we will ask Sapura if they are agreeable to play one match in Penang.
“But if Sapura refuse, and say that we should follow tournament regulations, we can’t force them,” said Hashim.
Nur Insafi fielded 16 foreign players from India and Pakistan, but still ended second from the bottom in the League.
Thaitchana has said that the club spent about RM500,000 for the league and had also hit out at the umpires for being bias.
The club president has also said that he will only field a team next year if MHF bring in foreign umpires, and now, Nur Insafi are willing to suffer the consequences of being banned if their request if not met.
An MHF official said MHF had bent backwards on the many Nur Insafi requests, but it looks like the club hav ehit a dead end this time.
“The MHF have spent close to RM40,000 on transport and accommodation on Nur Insafi alone. Then, we also stepped in to help the club secure visa for their players when the Immigration department refused.
“We also have records of providing Nur Insafi with ad ditional hotel stay when they played in Johor Baru and Malacca. But I don’t think Sapura is going to agree to play in Penang, and if Nur Insafi withdraw, they will have to suffer the consequences.”
Jan 29: Quarter-finals (first leg): Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club v Airod; Tenaga Nasional v UiTM; Maybank v UniKL-Ibil; Nur Insafi v Sapura.

Nur Insafi bombshell

Unbridled joy: MHL Premier Division champions KLHC players celebrate with the prizes yesterday. — A. MALEX YAHAYA / The Star

NUR Insafi of Penang beat Sapura 4-1 at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca yesterday, and then threw a bombshell when their coach S. Thaitchana said he will withdraw the team from the quarter-finals if the Malaysia Hockey Fed eration (MHF) say no to his home-and-away request.
The MHF plan to hold all the quarter-final matches, starting on Jan 29, in Kuala Lumpur, but Thaitchana feels it will rob him of home ground advantage.
“My stand is clear, if the MHF do not allow us to play in Penang in the two-leg quarters, I will withdraw the team. It does not make sense as the MHF said they are keen to promote hockey at states, and then deny us the chance to play in front of our crowd,” said Thaitchana.
Thaitchana also said that he has made his request known to MHF, but they said they will not budge from their decision.
“If they are not willing to budge, I am also not willing to budge, and I am prepared to face the consequences of being banned.
“We can live with that as it has become pointless playing in the MHL if it is run unprofessionally,” said Thaitchana who is also the club president.
UniKL-Ibil also dished out a surprise when they held Maybank 4-4 in the final Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division league match.
It was actually a full dress rehearsal for the quarter-finals, as both teams will square off again in the last eight on Jan 29.
And the other set of quarter-finalists will also see Nur Insafi and Sapura squaring off again.
However, both the results can’t be taken as a yardstick for the knock-our stage, as it has no bearings on the standings.
K. Gobinathan set the tone for Maybank with a fifth minute penalty corner goal, but Nor Faeez Ibrahim equalised in the seventh minute, and the match went into high gear.
Nor Faeez then gave Unikl-Ibil the lead in the ninth minute, and Taufik Hamid made it 3-1 in the 27th minute.
Maybank came back strongly with goals from Gobinathan (28th), Hafifi Hafiz (40th) and Suhaimi Ibrahim (52nd).
But in the final minute, Amir Farid scored a field goal to give the young side a well deserved draw.
In another match, Nur Insafi scored off Vinod Kumar (10th, 66th), Kul Bushan (15th) and Nur Hrsikesa (56th). The Sapura goal was scored by S. Kuhan in the 34th minute.
RESULTS: Sapura 1 Nur Insafi 4, UniKL-Ibil 4 Maybank 4, Tenaga Nasional 4 KL Hockey Club 3.

P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 10 8 1 1 34 13 25
TENAGA 10 8 0 2 27 11 24
MAYBANK 10 4 4 2 20 15 16
SAPURA 10 3 2 5 17 17 11
NUR INSAFI 10 2 1 7 14 34 7
UNIKL 10 0 2 8 9 30 2