Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hero's welcome

Pakistani hockey player Rehan Butt is pictured with his family as he arrives from the Asian Games to Allam Iqbal International Airport in Lahore late on November 27, 2010. Pakistan celebrated their first Asian Games hockey gold in 20 years beating Malaysia 2-0 in the final in Guangzhou, China. The Asian Games win -- their eighth -- is their first major achievement since winning the World Cup in Australia in 1994.

Loads of money in MHL

THE Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division has attracted nine teams, and with an attractive budget of about RM3.5 million, the matches are expected to be explosive.
Scheduled to start on Dec 17, the Premier Division will see regulars Tenaga Nasional, Sapura, KL Hockey Club, Maybank, Universiti Kuala Lumpur and Nur Insafi in action.
They will be joined by last year's Division One champions Armed Forces-Airod and runners-up UiTM while Yayasan Negri Sembilan (YNS) received a wild-card as they have promised to hire a string of foreign players.
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary Maninderjit Singh said: "The MHF will support teams by providing jerseys, transport, accommodation and we have even increased the prize money by RM80,000 this year to make the MHL more exciting."
But even with MHF providing the basics, teams must be prepared to fork out about RM500,000 if they want to be among the top four in the Premier Division.
UniKL, who made their debut in the Premier Division last year and finished last, had spent a total of RM500,000.
"We spent half a million for both JHL and MHL matches, but then, we did not have any star players or hired any foreign coach or players," said UniKL team manager Amir Azhar Ibrahim.
"The rough estimate for a team to have the bulk of the national players as well as a good coaching outfit is about RM600,000 just to play in the Premier Division." Maninderjit concurred with the estimate.
"It all depends on what the team want to achieve in the Premier Division. If you are looking at the top of the table teams who hire the best in the country and those who have foreign players, it could easily come to RM600,000 or more," he said.
"This is because some of the teams retain and pay their players for the whole year. But for those who only seal deals for the duration the league is on, it could be very much less, but then, the results are also hard to come by."
"The MHF has allowed Yayasan Negri Sembilan into the Premier Division this year because they have promised to secure at least six top foreign players.
"We have been made to understand that YNS will hire at least six foreign players but have yet to receive the final team list from them," said Maninderjit.
"The MHF should have a clearer picture when we receive the full team list on Dec 4 (Saturday) when the competition committee meets."