Friday, August 19, 2011

Double champs KLHC waiting for Godot

MALAYSIA Hockey League (MHL) double champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) might just find their backs against the wall if a decision is taken today to bar national players from the league.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) council will meet today, and the most eagerly awaited decision is whether they are going to listen to coach Tai Beng Hai, or support the club structure.
MHF, due to an indecisive competitions committee, have placed MHL clubs in a dilemma as they keep them guessing about the tournament date, the availability of national players for club duty and the structure of the MHL.
“KLHC has not made any preparations for the MHL, as we are still waiting for a concrete answer on whether national players will be allowed to play for clubs or not.
“We also have not decided on the coach yet, as K. Dhar maraj is now fully involved with the Project 2013 squad,” said KLHC team manager George Koshy.
The champions have nine national players out of 22, and if the MHF decide to bar national players from the MHL, they will be left with only 13 players.
“We will be hard-pressed to defend our titles if the nine are not allowed to represent their club. That leaves us with nothing on the bench, and at this stage, it would be difficult to find replacements as well,” said Koshy.
Beng Hai is of the opinion that the MHL should be postponed to after the London Olympics Qualifier which is slated for March next year.
And if the MHF decide to hold the tournament this year, Beng Hai is of the opinion that national players should not be released to clubs as he fears fitness and injury problems.
The national team will play two tournaments this year, starting with the Inaugural Asian Champions Trophy next month and then the Champions Challenge in November.
Sapura and Yayasan Negri Sembilan have also expressed their disappointment on the inability of the competitions committee to come to a conclusion earlier in the year, because they were unable to sign on quality foreign players to beef up their challenge.

MHF place Sapura in a tight spot

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation’s (MHF) indecisiveness have placed clubs in a tight spot, as they are unable to plan for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHF).
The MHF have left it to the 11th hour, this Saturday, to decide when they will hold the league, its format, and also if national players will be allowed or barred from the MHL.
Sapura, Overall champions in 2005, 2006 and League champions in 2004 and 2005, are one of the hardest hit clubs.
“When the MHF leave it to the last minute to decide matters ion the MHL, clubs are placed in a bind because we cant plan ahead.
“Sapura still has not signed any foreign player for this year, simply because the MHF have yet to decide when to hold the League, and we can’t simply sign a blind contract,” said Sapura team manager Abdullah Yunus.
Sapura are also waiting to see if the MHF allows national players to play in the League before they can plan their local players list.
“To be fait to clubs, we need to be informed early if national players will be allowed or barred from the MHL so that we can approach quality local players, or just concentrate on the youth that we have,” said Abdullah.
The planning for this season’s MHL has been chaotic as the MHF can’t seem to make up their mind on how appease both the clubs as well as their national coach Tai Beng Hai.
Beng Hai is of the opinion that the MHL should be postponed after the Olympic Qualifiers next year, possibly in march, so as not to disrupt his training module.
However, clubs who rely on national players and sponsors are of the opinion that the MHL should be held this year, and national players must be allowed to represent their pay masters.
A workshop was held, and those who attended decided that the MHL be held on Sept 23 minus national players. However, the decision will only be endorsed, or refined when the council meet on Saturday.
Sapura finished third in the League and second in the Overall title with help from foreign signings last season, but they have yet to get off the starting block in preparing a team for this season.