KUALA LUMPUR: It’s been 20 years since Maybank last won the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) title.
But don’t put your money on them ending the drought any time soon.
Maybank, who have featured in the league since 1987, do not have any internationals in their squad.
If that’s not bad enough, they are still unsure if the five Pakistani internationals hired will even turn up!
Besides that, they also have a new coach – S. Vellapan replacing Wallace Tan, who had coached the team for the last six years.
Velappan admitted that it would be tough to win the title this year.
“It’s nice to handle the Maybank team but it won’t be plain sailing for us,” said the 52-year-old coach.
“Our foreign imports have not been finalised yet. The Pakistani players had verbally agreed to play for us, but they’ve not contacted us yet.
“We’re still waiting for their reply as we need them to sign their contracts.
“I’m also worried whether the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) will release the players for the MHL after their poor outing in the World League Semi-Finals (in Antwerp, Belgium).”
Pakistan finished a disappointing eighth in Antwerp, thus ending their hopes of featuring in next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Vellapan said Maybank will be led by two former internationals – forward Hafifihafiz Hanafi and defender Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin, who is a penalty corner flick specialist.
Last year, Maybank had two Pakistani players – Shakeel Abbasi and Abdul Haseem Khan – but still finished last in the six-team Premier Division.
In the knockout stage, the Tigers lost to Tenaga Nasional to finish fourth.
The other teams in the Premier Division are double champions Terengganu, Tenaga Nasional, Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC), Sapura and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).