KUALA LUMPUR: Hockey nomad Waseem Ahmed says that the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) is not as competitive and challenging as the European leagues in Germany and Holland.
The Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) centre-half, who is featuring in the MHL for a second straight year, is set to make his debut in the Australian Hockey League for Melbourne Club next month.
“Playing in the MHL is a good experience for me but the local league here is not competitive compared to the European leagues,” said the 36-year-old former Pakistani skipper.
“Only three teams – KLHC, Tenaga Nasional and Maybank – are strong in the MHL. The other four teams have to work much harder to improve their standards before they can pose a strong challenge to the others.
“It’s fun and enjoyable playing in the MHL as there isn’t much pressure compared to the Dutch and German leagues where all the teams are equally strong.
“But I believe that the MHL is fast developing into a strong league with the presence of foreign imports.
“The MHL needs to have more foreign players from other parts of the world to make it more competitive and interesting.”
Waseem played for Harvestehude Club in Germany for two seasons from 2002 before joining Rotterdam Club in the Dutch League for five years from 2004.
He also played in the Indian League in 2011 before making his debut in the MHL with Nur Insafi last year.
Wassem, who has featured in four World Cups (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010) and three Olympics (2000, 2004, 2012), is confident that he can play just as well as during his younger days despite his age.
“I’m happy to have been called up for national training in Pakistan next month ... but I might not attend training as I’m looking forward to making my debut in the Australian League,” said the father of two girls.
“It’s an honour for me to play for Melbourne Club and I don’t want to throw away the chance.”
Wassem, who played an instrumental role in helping KLHC retain the league title, now aims to steer the club to their fifth double.