KUANTAN: Malacca are the hosts of Sukma (Malaysia Games) in June but surprisingly they do not have a team for the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL), which begins next month.
Last year, Malacca were represented by their state sports council’s side in the Under-19 league and they finished overall third in Division One.
The Malacca Hockey Association (MHA) deputy president, Nur Azmi Ahmad, said that he was disappointed with their state education department for not putting up a team for the MJHL.
“Malacca have many school players and we also have a number of teachers with the Level 3 coaching certificate,” he said.
“But because there is no Sukan Teras programme this year due to financial constraints, the state decided not to participate in the MJHL.”
Nur Azmi, who is also the deputy president of the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF), added that since Malacca would be hosting Sukma, the state education department with the help of state sports council should have taken the initiative to field a team in the MJHL.
“The players need all the exposure they can get in the MJHL to put up a strong challenge in Sukma,” he said.
“Even Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Education Minister, want all states to give priority to sports.”
One-student one-sport vision, which was introduced by Sports Minister recently, is to have a big pool of athletes in every sport.
“If the state education department could not fork out the money, we (the Malacca HA) could have help them to look for sponsors,” said Nur Azmi.
“Malacca have a reputation of producing talented players for the national team, among them defender K. Embaraj and forwards Mirnawan Nawawi and Chua Boon Huat. It is very disappointing that we don’t have a team in the MJHL this time.
“Our neighbours, Negri Sembilan, have two school teams – Datuk Taha of Gemencheh and Tunku Besar of Tampin. I admire these two schools for having good development programmes for the sport.”
A total of 19 teams, nine in Division One and 10 in Division Two, will feature in MJHL beginning on April 9.