Though still at planning stage, several youngsters from the Project 2013 squad and the national squad will be sent to play in leagues overseas to ensure that they improve their skill level for the betterment of Malaysian hockey.
In revealing this, National Sports Council Director General Dato Zolkples Embong said that talks are being initiated with several countries to enable players to ply their trade in overseas leagues.
“We are in the process of negotiating with several clubs from three countries and hopefully are able to settle this by the end of June,” said Zolkples when met in Malacca.
“We realize that our players need to be exposed in foreign leagues in order to become complete players and hence the NSC, with the blessings of the MHC has started working on this matter.
“It is not easy to get a place amongst top clubs but then again we need to tray as the stint will help Malaysian hockey long term.
“I am optimistic that if we were to do this right, then as many as 12 to 18 players will be able to benefit from this arrangement.”
The last time the NSC took a lead role in seeking clubs for hockey players was in 1997, prior to the World Cup Qualifiers.
Five players, namely R. Shanker, Chairil Anwar Abdul Aziz, Nor Azlan Bakar, S. Kuhan and Kerpal Singh went on a three month stints with clubs in Germany. While Kuhan and Kerpal played for Limburg HC, Shanker represented Safo HC while Chairl and Nor Azlan donned the colours of Frankfurt 1880.
The stint paid dividends as the players were more matured and helped Malaysia qualify for the 1998 Utrecht World Cup, after a hiatus of 16 years as the last time Malaysia played in the World Cup prior to that was in the 1982 edition in Bombay.
There have been some players who have been over the past few years playing in foreign leagues – S. Selvarajoo, Chua Boon Huat, Mohd Sallehin Ghani, Kuhan, Faisal Saari and S. Bubalan, but none was a concentrated effort by NSC or MHC.
Dato Zolkples said that he had discussed this matter with Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, the President of MHC and had received the green light to proceed making arrangements.
“I have contacted several parties on this matter and we are at the moment compiling the clips and bio-data of these potential players for consideration of the clubs,” said Zolkples.
“We have to market these players and only then can we look at more possibilities in order to strengthen the national senior and junior sides.”