KUALA LUMPUR (27 OCTOBER 2014): The 2014 TNB-Malaysian Hockey League gets underway on Friday promising a sizzling season as six teams go on pursuit for the coveted trophy and a lucrative winner’s purse.
Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC), the four-time back-to-back double champions, will open accounts against Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) in the Charity Shield match this Wednesday before going into a head-on encounter with Maybank in their TNB-MHL opening tie on Nov 2.
However, waiting on the sideline to clip KLHC’s wings for the championship title will be Sapura, TNB, Maybank, THT and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) coached by Arul Selvaraj.
Coach Wallace Tan’s Maybank have signed up three foreign players in goalkeeper Moritz Knobloch from Germany, and Pakistanis Shakeel Abassi and Abdul Haseem Khan who were both members of the silver medal-winning team in the Incheon Asian Games recently while defending champions KLHC, coached by Dharma Raj, have six foreign signings.
Dharma’s foreign pack includes two young Australians – Harrison Page and Matthew Mallinson, both 20 years of age, and Pakistanis Akhtar Ali, Waseem Ahmad, Fareed Ahmad and Muhammad Imran.
Terengganu Hockey Team has registered five Koreans to beef the squad which is also strengthened by current nationals and several former internationals. The team is coached by former international Sarjit Singh.
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) senior vice-president, Dato’ Nur Azmi Ahmad said the development in successful hockey playing nations is at the club level and the TNB-MHL is seen as the answer to producing talented players.
“With the presence of a stellar cast of foreign players in the TNB-MHL, the quality of the league is unquestionable. Every participating club will raise its own level of play and hope to revel in the league,” said Dato’ Azmi at the launch of the TNB-MHL 2014 and the tournament official website in Kuala Lumpur today.
TNB senior general-manager for Corporate Affairs and Communications, Datuk Ir. Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Amin, MHC secretary-general Dato’ Mohd Johari Abdul Aziz, senior MHC officials and sponsors were also present at the TNB-MHL launch.
Dato’ Azmi added: “The TNB-MHL will also serve as a favourable platform for our players to impress national selectors for upcoming international tournaments. It is a tough league with a lot to gain. There may only be six teams competing but the quality of players playing in every team is high.”
He also paid tribute to TNB for their continuous support of MHC’s development programmes. Since 2006, TNB’s investment in the TNB-MHL has been close to the region of RM12 million, complementing the Ministry of Youth and Sports call for the corporate sector to help in the development of the game at home.
Datuk Ir. Mohd Aminuddin, commented: “TNB is committed to not only powering the nation’s homes with electricity but it is also our Corporate Social Responsibility to help in the development of athletes in the various sports, especially hockey.”
“Hockey is one of the elite sports in the country and we are proud to be associated with MHC in the development of the game. The TNB-MHL will once again produce intense competition in our own backyard. This can only augur well in our pursuit for excellence and improve the quality of our national hockey teams,” he said.
This commitment, added Datuk Ir. Mohd Aminuddin, is manifested through TNB’s involvement in the TNB Smart School Programme (Promoting Intelligence, Nurturing Talent and Advocating Responsibility).
“Under the Nurturing Talent tenet, TNB has helped students develop their talent in sports such as hockey by organising coaching clinics for schools since 2009. This programme measures the development and level of hockey skills among students,” he said.
TNB has adopted 13 schools in the country this year under its Smart School Programme for hockey, involving an estimated 800 players.
For more information on the TNB-MHL, kindly visit www.tnbmhl.com.
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