Members of the senior hockey team at the Asia Cup last year. The training programme for the national team will be reviewed, after the Government decided to cut 30% of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation's funding.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will face a 30% cut in government funding and the ones set to feel the pinch the most are the two national hockey teams – junior and senior.
“This is basically the Government’s exercise to cut down on their expenses. And we will face a 30% cut. Of course, it will have an effect on us but it cannot be helped. We will carry on with our usual (development) programmes but there will be a review of the programmes drawn up by the national teams,” said MHC vice-president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmed on Thursday.
For example, the Project 2016 team had initially planned to go on at least three tours this year. But the cut in funding means they will only go on one trip – either to Europe or Australia – for test matches.
Their other programmes will involve matches at home, like the Razak Cup, Malaysia Hockey League and the Sultan of Johor Cup.
The training programme for the national team will also be reviewed. For now, it will be maintained as the target is the World Cup in June.
“It won’t affect the programmes harshly. There will be cuts ... but only where expenses are very high,” said Nur Azmi.
The Government’s funding for the MHC comes through the National Sports Council (NSC).
The senior hockey team have five major assignments this year. They will start with the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh next month, followed by the FIH Champions Challenge I in Kuantan in April and the World Cup in Holland in June. The other two meets are the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in September.
The main target for the Project 2016 team is the Junior World Cup in India, although they will play in the qualifiers (Junior Asia Cup).
MHC secretary-general Datuk Johari Abdul Aziz said on Thursday they have made a bid to host the tournament in Malaysia.
“We have forwarded our bid to the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) and are awaiting a reply. I believe they will make a decision some time in April when they hold their executive board meeting in Sri Lanka,” he said.
Malaysia hosted the last Junior Asia Cup in 2012 and the national juniors emerged victorious.
Meanwhile, the MHC have turned down an invitation from Germany for the national team to play in a four-nation meet in May as part of their World Cup preparation.
“We’ve decided not to accept the invitation after consulting with the national team management. The four-nation meet is just two weeks before the World Cup proper ... it won’t fit into our schedule. It will also mean having to leave earlier for Holland,” said Nur Azmi.
The World Cup will be held in The Hague from May 31-June 15.