THE Malaysia Handball Federation(MAHF) will commencetheir competition calendar forthe season with the inauguralMalaysia Junior Handball Leaguescheduled at the National SportsInstitute (NSI) in Bukit Jalil fromFebruary to April.
The boys’ and girls’ Under-19 competitions are each expected to feature eight teams from club sides.
So far, club sides from Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Perak have indicated their eagerness to compete in the tournament organised by the Kuala Lumpur Handball Asso-ciation.
MAHF secretary Ng Num Thiam said there was more to be done to nurture young players for the national teams.
“The league would be a platform to groom younger players, especially the school leavers, to don the national stripes for the next two editions of the SEA Games. We are not charging any entry fee because we want to encourage young players to gain match exposure and come through the ranks,” he added.
In the previous edition of the biennial games held in Thailand last year, the national sides returned home with two bronze medals through the women’s and men’s teams.
Both teams settled for the third spot in the fray of four sides, losing to Thailand and Vietnam, who finished as champions and runners-up respectively, in the women’s and men’s categories.
Ng expects to retain half of the 16 players in the squad for the next Games to be held in Laos in 2009.
“For the previous Games, our players only trained part time. The majority of them did not go through proper conditioning training as a build-up, and, as a result, they were not in prime physical condition,” Ng said, adding that they could deliver better results with a full-time coach guiding the players.
Meanwhile, hot favourites KL Star will be out to continue their domination in the third Malaysia Handball Clubs League starting in May.
Besides the Klang Valley-based teams, outstation sides from Perlis, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Johor and Terengganu will be also in action in the four-month league.
“The expatriates team, comprising players of French, German, Austra-lian, Dutch and Japanese nationality, will also add excitement to the league. The national men’s coach, Thomas (Chataigner), who is a Frenchman, will be spearheading the team,” said Ng.
In addition, MAHF will be conducting a coaching course for teachers over the August school holiday.
“We can accommodate up to 45 participants for the seven-day course,” Ng added.
For details, call 013-306 8448 (Ng).