NEGRI Sembilan Sikh Union (NSSU), formed in 1933 to look into the well-being of the community, has been honoured for being the longest serving affiliate of the Negri Sembilan Hockey Association (NSHA).
Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun, who is also NSHA president, presented a shield to NSSU patron Datuk Daljeet Singh Dhillon and president M. Jagjeet Singh after its biennial general meeting (BGM), and congratulated the group for still being active in the local hockey scene.
Daljeet, who was re-elected NSHA vice-president at the meeting, said NSSU was formed on May 3, 1933 and was initially known as Punjab Association.
The main objectives of the association then were to help unemployed Punjabis in the state get jobs and promote social interaction among its members.
Punjab Association went on to make its debut in the state hockey league on Oct 12 the same year, and defeated Paulians 2-0.
Daljeet said 14 Punjabis led by the late Datuk T. Mahima Singh, who later served as Teluk Kemang MP (now Port Dickson) for two terms, and the late Dr Tara Singh, had organised a meeting at the King George V school in Seremban to discuss problems faced by the community back then.
This resulted in the establishment of the association.
“A relief fund was set up for those living in Negri Sembilan who needed aid.
“Subsequently, the socioeconomic objectives that led to the formation of the association were widened to include sports,” he said, adding that the Punjab Association was renamed Sikh Association in 1934 as its members comprised only Sikhs.
The organisation, according to Daljit, got its present name in March 1940 when members endorsed it during an annual general meeting.
Jagjeet said since then, NSSU had bagged several state titles, the most recent ones being in 2001, 2009 and 2011.
It had also produced many players who have gone on to represent the state at national-level tournaments.
“There were years when the NSSU fielded two teams in the hockey league.
“This was also to allow the younger players gain experience playing at a higher level against better players,” he said.
Besides that, NSSU also organised the annual Vaisakhi Games, featuring various sports events, and participated in the Gurdwara Cup, one of the oldest hockey tournaments in the country.
Earlier in his speech, Aminuddin urged the NSHA to continue with programmes to promote hockey at the grassroots.
“Negri Sembilan was once a hockey powerhouse and we need to bring back the glory days.
“It will be good if the NSHA can hold more free clinics and identify new talents so that we will be a team to be reckoned with again.”
Also present at the BGM was Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal.
Aminuddin said he was glad to note that the state’s Under-14 girls team has emerged national champions while the boy’s Under-14 side came in fourth in 2019.
He said the state government, on its part, has built a hostel that could house 24 boys and 24 girls at any one time, near the Seremban 2 hockey stadium.
There are also seminar and meeting rooms with facilities for video sessions.
“We are planning to change the turf at the hockey stadium and upgrade the lighting system.
“Once we do that, we will be able to host international tournaments,” he said.
Subahan also congratulated NSHA for its activities and said MHC has been carrying out programmes to promote hockey in the country.
“It is my hope that all states will provide more funding to further develop hockey at the grassroots.
“If we can have more tournaments like the Under-12, 14 and 16 levels, then I am sure the game will flourish and we will be able to discover new talents,” he said.
Subahan said MHC was also doing all it could to promote hockey and this had resulted in improved world rankings for both the men and women’s teams.