MHC want to take M’sian women’s hockey to the top in Asia

Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have grand plans to turn the national women’s team into Asia’s best in eight years.

The team had stagnated at the fifth spot in Asia since 2000 and are lying at the 20th spot in the FIH rankings.

The national body had spent RM6mil since 2014 to improve the standard of the women’s team but they are still lagging behind Asian teams India (ninth in the world), China (10th), South Korea (12th) and Japan (13th).

MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal said it was time to ring in some changes after chairing the executive committee meeting in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

“Physically, we are similar to the other Asian nations but it’s a surprise that we are still rooted at the fifth spot, ” said Subahan.

Subahan said even the National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail has challenged the national body to raise the bar higher.

“We’ve had a meeting with Shapawi too. The government is willing to help but they want us to be the number one team in Asia in eight years. They are willing to spend but we have to relook the whole process, ” said Subahan.

“It’s time to draft in youngsters into the senior squad, and for the seniors to consider coaching jobs.

“We are looking for the best coach who can groom these younger players. We are also talking with Holland and Belgium to see what are needed to form our eight-year plan.

“We have spent so much money, but have not seen much results. We’ve to see what others are doing and what we are not. We’ve to think outside of the box.”

Meanwhile, Subahan said the national men’s team would return to training on July 1 as part of their preparation for the Asian Champions Trophy in November in Dhaka and new guidelines would be put in place during the training sessions.

They are also waiting for the NSC to get a special permission from the immigration department to get head coach Roelant Oltmans, who is still in Holland, to resume his coaching job with the team on July 1.

As far as the domestic competitions are concerned, Subahan is hopeful that the Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and Razak Cup will be held in September or October this year.

“It will be a tall order, but with the right planning, we should be able to do it. As for sponsorship, there is nothing to worry about as some of our sponsors have decided to increase the sponsorship amount.”

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