D-League aims to unearth talents for national squad

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia D-League (MDL) serves as a stepping stone for young cagers aged below 23 to join the national team in future.

The development league will start tomorrow at the Malaysia Basketball Association (Maba) Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

The players have to be under 23 years old and a maximum of three national players are allowed to represent a club.

Maba secretary general Tan Kee Hian said the national team currently lacked talent.

“We need players to represent our country so we decided to call up a few for selection,” said Kee Hian.

“But we realised that we do not have a big pool of players to select from as we did not hold our national championship for the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We had to rely on state affiliates to recommend players for national duty,” said Kee Hian.

Kee Hian hoped the presence of foreign teams in the league would also benefit the locals. Three South-East Asian countries – Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei have confirmed participation.

“Our players will get the chance to play against foreign players in their own country, which is good,” said Kee Hian.

Meanwhile, the commissioner of MDL, Frank Ch’ng Eng Hing said the standard of the current batch of national players was low compared to other countries in the recent Hanoi SEA Games.

“We saw how far we were left behind compared to Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam,” said Frank.

“The men’s team can’t even compete against Vietnam and sometimes struggled when they take on Singapore.

“Back in those days, these countries were not a threat to Malaysia,” added Frank.

In men’s category, Group A comprises Indonesia’s BBM CLS Knights, Penang Stallions, Selangor XX, Roosters, Flyer Spirit, NS Matrix, Go Strong and KL Aseel while Brunei’s Pegasus will join Penang Sunrise Youngsters, Selangor XXIII, Singapore Adroit, Johor Tiger, Speed Hunters and MBC in Group B to compete for the title and RM15,000 prize money.

There will be only four teams, Johor Tiger, MYKC Dragons, NS Matrix and Singapore Adroit competing in the women’s category to win RM10,000 prize money.

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