PETALING JAYA: Hockey is one sport which Malaysia can boast of having attained world class status.
Given the limited resources and infra structure facilities, the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF), have managed to produced calibre players capable of making an impact in international tournaments.
Now that the government is coming in to assist the MHF in their development plans, hockey , according to acting secretary T. Paramalingam, can expect to see better days ahead.
“With the support of the government a lot more can be done to take the game to new heights,” said Paramalingam, who lauded the government-aid move taken by the newly appointed Cabinet Committee under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for the Development of Sports.
The MHF have no permanent premise which they can call a home or headquarter. Neither do they own a National Training Centre to carry out their junior development programmes or centralised training camps to prepare players for the various international tournaments.
“We hope that with the government's assistance we will get a permanent home. At the moment we are looking at the Hockey Stadium (Pitch 2) in Bukit Jalil to be converted into a national training centre. It is well equipped and has hostel facilities and also an administration block.
“We also want to sort out the hockey set-up in the states. There is need of proper playing pitches around the country. In fact, many states do not even have proper pitches. Kelantan for instance do not have a good pitch at all while there is only one pitch in Malacca, which is insufficient.
“It is the same in Johor. There is one pitch for the whole state. There should be pitches in areas like Kluang, Batu Pahat, Muar and Segamat (all in Johor), if we want to unearth talents. It won't cost that much now with the introduction of the new grass, which is cheaper than the normal turf available in the market,” said Paramalingam.
Paramalingam said that the MHF, aside from organising domestic competitions (the MHL League, Junior MHL (U-19) League, Tun Abdul Razak tournament, the Under-21, Under-16 and Under-14 leagues) also carried out centralised training on an ad hoc basis for the various age groups from time to time.
“We are able to cater for only a limited number of about 20 players for each camp in Bukit Jalil. With more funds available we will draw up a more organised programme for bigger groups.
“The logistics problems have always bogged down the development of the sports in East Malaysia. They are keen to take part in our programmes and activities but with shortage of funds and the high cost of flight charges they cannot participate. We hope to get them involved in our tournaments in future.”
Lastly, the MHF are also in need of technical expertise.
“Just like in any sport, there is a need to have the right staffing for the various programmes and activities organised by the MHF. I feel there should be more employed coaches. There are a lot of MHF qualified coaches who could serve better in a more systematic approach with the various states,'' said Paramalingam.
Besides hockey, the other sports, to receive the special funding are badminton, football, bowling, squash, gymnastics, aquatics and athletics.