KUALA LUMPUR: Only 11 teams have signed up for this year’s Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) – compared to 13 last year – when entries closed yesterday.
There were six teams in the Premier Division and seven in Division One last year.
All six Premier Division teams are back in the fray this time. But the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have been saddled with a minor problem with Terengganu’s entrance.
Terengganu, having hired some of the best players in the country, will surely be way too strong for the other teams in Division One.
They have asked to play in the Premier Division and the MHC will only make a decision prior to the team managers’ meeting on March 3.
The six Premier League teams who are back for another season are KL Hockey Club, Tenaga Nasional, Maybank, Sapura, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and Nur Insafi.
The teams who have signed up for Division One are UiTM, Uniten-KPT, Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) and Thunderbolt.
Last year’s Division One champions Johor have not entered a team while Politeknik-KPT have declined to take part.
Armed Forces have verbally agreed to take part but have asked for more time to make a final decision.
MHC secretary general Johari Abdul Aziz said that teams could still register with them in the coming week.
“The competitions committee will also look at Terengganu’s request to play in the Premier Division and decide on the format of play for the new season,” he said.
Terengganu’s request is not without precedent. In 2011, Yayasan Negri Sembilan entered a team comprising 11 foreign players. The MHC put them in the Premier Division although they should have featured in Division One. The team did not take part the following year.
This season’s MHL is due to start on March 22, with the final slated for May.
Last year, KLHC won the double.