KUALA LUMPUR: As expected, the local players failed to shine in the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL), which concluded on Saturday, with Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) winning the TNB Cup.
With no new local players with quality emerging from the tournament, national coach Stephen Van Huizen will have to make do with his current squad for four major assignments this year.
The national team will start their campaign in the Azlan Shah Cup (March 3-10), followed by the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (April 4-15), Jakarta Asian Games (Aug 18-Sept 2) and the World Cup in India (Nov 28-Dec 16).
Van Huizen’s side are hoping to win the Asian Games gold medal as it will automatically earn them a ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In the MHL, no Malaysian made the top four of the scorers’ chart with Argentine Gonzalo Peillat of Terengganu Hockey Team topping it with 16 goals.
Former international Baljit Singh, who played for UniKL, was exceptional throughout the league but he is not expected to be recalled for national duty.
However, Van Huizen could have Baljit as an option as at least three of his national players failed to make an impact in the MHL.
“Most teams spent a lot on foreign players who played more minutes compared to the locals. Naturally, the foreigners topped the scorers’ chart and were noticed in the tournament,” said Van Huizen.