MHL: Dharmaraj willing to let Project 2013 players feature for respective employers
THE Project 2013 will not play as a team in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) as all their players have contracts to play for their respective clubs.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) has yet to announce the dates for the MHL, as proposals to send players to Europe and other matters are still being ironed out.
"My hands are tied, there is no way that Project 2013 can play as a team in the MHL because all my players have binding contracts, or are working for their respective clubs. It could turn ugly if I bulldoze through," said Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj.
The coach himself played in the MHL for the juniors squad in 1989, but things have changed since.
"Back then, nobody wanted juniors as clubs already had established players and did not want to take risks by blooding youth.
"That is why the then MHF (Malaysian Hockey Federation) had to field the juniors as an outfit for experience.
"But today, my players have established themselves at a young age, and contracts have been signed and employment provided by clubs to secure their services," said Dharmaraj.
After winning the Sultan of Johor Cup and the Junior Asia Cup, Dharmaraj's charges are now in great demand.
UniKL, Maybank, Tenaga Nasional and KL Hockey Club all have signed or offered jobs to the Project players, and might even stop their players from venturing overseas if the MHL clashes with their stints.
"The date of the MHL must be carefully planned, if not I am afraid that clubs might not be too keen to release players for overseas stints if it clashes with the MHL period.
"These clubs have invested much into the sport and they would surely want to see returns in titles," said Dharmaraj.
Citing an example, Dharmaraj said that in the 2009 Razak Cup, one state even did not want to release one player when a proposal was made for them to play as a team.
"That was just the Razak Cup but it turned chaotic when one state did not want to release a player when we wanted to field a national juniors team. Imagine what would happen if the clubs are told to release their players to play in the MHL under the Project 2013 banner," said Dharmaraj.