KUALA LUMPUR: Seventeen of the 19 players in the Malaysian Sports School (MSS) team who won MJHL Division One title are available to play for other teams in the championships next year.
Only Mohamed Fikri Bassar and Mohamed Nor Affazaly, who begin their pre-university studies next month, will feature for Sports School again next season.
The others will be leaving the team after completing Form Five at the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) at the end of the year. But BJSS coach V. Muralidharan said yesterday that they were not fretting over the player exodus.
It happens every year and we are used to it. In fact, Sports School Juniors, who played in Division Two (this year), also faced a similar problem, said Muralidharan.
But the juniors will still be with us and 15 of them will move to the MSS team next year. We accept this fact (movement of players) as our task here is to groom players of various age groups.
MSS are a combined team of players from the sports schools in Bukit Jalil and Bandar Penawar. The Sports School Juniors team comprised players from BJSS while the Under-15 players from the Bandar Penawar school, who did not find places in the MSS team, played for Division Ones Johor Sports Council.
Sports School Juniors will play in Division One next year. They finished as runners-up to Malacca MC this season.
Muralidharan added that 17 of their former players featured for other teams this season.
Overall champions Tenaga Nasonal had seven of them in their ranks Mawardi Samad, Mohd Sari Jasmani, Syafiq Amir Kamaruddin, S. Selvaraju, Ibrahim Mohd, Mohd Fairus Hamsani and Abbas Nekmat. Telekom Pahang had six former MSS players while Petaling Jaya Municipal Council had two in their side. There was one player each in the MSS Perlis and MPK-Olak team.
Muralidharan said they were happy to see their players earning places in other teams after leaving the sport schools.
Our target at the sports school is to develop and groom players. It is pointless if they leave the game after completing their studies. We are happy and proud that they are still playing and proving to be key members of other teams, he said.
For their challenge this year, MSS had former international Tai Beng Hai to coach the team.
Beng Hai said yesterday: As the sports school, a lot is expected from them and winning a title is just reward. We have a team of very talented players and it was unlucky that we failed to win the double (MSS were beaten 0-1 by Tenaga in the final for the overall title).
MSS have become a success story and it holds promise of a bright future for Malaysian hockey.