IPOH: Defending champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) have secured the services of five Pakistanis and an Australian to spearhead their challenge in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) this year.
The double winners were forced to look for foreign players after six of their national stars – Azlan Misron, Mohamed Shahron Nabil, Fitri Saari, Mohamed Amerullah Aziz, Ismail Abu and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin – left to join debutants Terengganu in this year’s Premier Division.
The Australian player who has signed on is Timothy Deavin, who is now playing in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.
Skipper and penalty corner specialist Mohamed Imran leads the Pakistani brigade. The others are Fareed Ahmad, Wassim Ahmed, Umar Bhutta and Akhtar Ali.
Like Timothy, Imran and Fareed are also playing in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
Said KLHC team manager George Koshy: “There are limited choices when it comes to local players. But we have retained the rest of the team members from last year’s squad.”
KLHC have been the dominant team in the MHL for the last decade, winning the league title seven consecutive times since 2006 and the overall title in 2008, 2011 and 2012.
The MHL starts on March 22. Today is the closing day for teams to submit their team lists.
The teams that will play in the Premier Division are KLHC, Sapura, Tenaga Nasional, Maybank, Nur Insafi, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and Terengganu.
Seven teams – Uniten-KPT, UiTM, Sunday 2030, Ipoh City Hall, Bukit Jalil Sports School, Thunderbolt and SSTMI – will play in Division One.