T’bolts on tenterhooks

PETALING JAYA: Please don’t close the book on students dreaming to play in the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL).

The league starts on March 11 but the participation of TNB-Thunderbolts are hanging in the balance as 12 of their players, who are students from different schools, have yet to get permission from the Education Ministry.

The Youth and Sports Ministry are doing all they can to revive the sports activities amidst the Covid-19 pandemic under strict protocols and it will be good for other ministries to throw in their support too.

The deadline for player registration is tomorrow.

The 12 students out of the 24-member TNB-Thunderbolts team come from various sports schools like Bandar Penawar Sports School (Johor), Bukit Jalil Sports School (Kuala Lumpur), Sekolah Menengah Temerloh (Pahang) and Sekolah Menengah Anderson (Perak).

Afterall, all of these boys are from sports school, where the emphasis is on sports. Once the league is over, the boys can catch up on their studies like they used to do.

The others in the team, include national players – defenders Najib Abu Hassan, Mohd Amirol Aideed Arshad and national juniors – defender Mohd Fahmi Khalid and goalkeeper Mohd Hamiz Mohd Ahir.

Team coach Madzli Ikmar (pic) has been on tenterhooks all week as he awaits some news.

If they don’t get the greenlight from the Education Ministry, Madzli knows that they will be left with no option but to pull out from the much-awaited league.

“As a coach, no one wants to be put in such a spot. The players are anxious too, ” said Madzli.

Madzli is making his debut as the main coach in MHL for the first time after playing deputy to Nor Saiful Zaini with Tenaga Nasional for the last few years.

“We have three weeks to prepare, but we must settle this issue first, ” he said.

“I have to be prepared for any situation. If we have to pull out, it’s a decision I will have to accept. The boys are eager to play, and we, the coaches, cannot wait to guide them, but we have to abide by what the authorities say.”

To date, they have not heard from the ministry on whether the boys can play, and Madzli said time was running out.

“We have conveyed our concern to the ministry because half of our players are schoolboys but we have heard nothing. We’ve two more days before the closing date, ” he said.

“For now, we are just doing home workouts, and I’ve told the boys to stay at home. They’ve been told not to go out often unless they need to.

“We cannot hold a camp yet because we are still waiting for the permission.”

All the MHL teams will be placed under a bubble system from March 10 until April 4 to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The other teams in the league Tenaga Nasional, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), Terengganu, UiTM, Nur Insafi, Maybank and Sabah.

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Madzli Ikmar , Thunderbolts , MHL


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