MHL, utter confusion reigns

The 2020 Malaysian Hockey League gets underway on January 10.

And as expected, there are 8 men’s team and 6 women’s team in the one division competition.

The only significant addition is Hockey Academy from KL in both men and women competitions.

However their status remains unclear as firstly are they affiliates of KL, registered with Sports Commissioners Office and do they have a competitive enough team to be entered.

But putting that aside, let’s just look at what transpired Saturday.

A team managers meeting was held at 10am and those present were left bewildered as every query posed received the standard reply – “ We will get back to you”.

No fixtures were released and discussed, only general briefings by the Competition Committee Chairman Dato Sri Anil Jeet Singh as well as Tournament Director K. Ananthavale and Umpires Manager Ravinderpal Singh.

The most ironic situation was the newly appointed Competitions Committee only met at 1pm, a few hours after the managers meeting.

Next came the shocking revelation of the fixtures.

My first look at the fixtures bewildered me and I am sure most Hockey fans will share the same views.

The MHL is being held from Jan 10 to February 22, making in the shortest duration run league in its history .

For those who may not know this, the MHL was initiated in 1987.

Next comes the Charity Shield match between UniKL as the defending league champions and Terengganu Hockey Team as the defending overall champions.

Rightfully the match, which besides the shield, also offers 3 points, ought to be played in either Kuala Terengganu or Bangi, the home ground of these two teams and not in Bukit Jalil as listed.

And perhaps the biggest shocker is holding a one leg semi finals for the top 4 teams.

The only time one leg matches were played before were in the early 90’s where there used to be a quarterfinal stage.

If there is going to be a one leg semis, why bother having semis at all!

Might as well let the two top teams at the end of the league contest the final.

Wait, the aftershocks still continue.

Matches are being scheduled at 5.00pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Have those sitting on the pedestals forgotten that these two days are working days and with most finishing work at 4.30, it’s asking too much to ask them to rush to the fields to watch.

This is the premier tournament in the country but obviously no thought whatsoever was given to doing the fixtures and playing time.

Anyway, have they sorted out the TV telecast? For the teams did bring up that question but were left with blank looks.

In any competition the most important element is the facilities, which is the stadia and playing surface.

UniKL faved much brickbats last season for their bumpy pitch.

Though repairs were said to be carried out, has any indirection been undertaken.

Pitches in Uitm and Sungai Petani are slippery, USM has no technical or substitutes bench. KLHA lights are not up to the mark.

Hence before rectifying all this, how on heavens earth were the home venues approved?

And from the whispers, there is already talk of gist cutting by only appointing officials from the venues where matches are being held.

So are you going to parachute Technical Officials in Terengganu?

Ethically and morally , those Technical Officials registered with FIH and AHF should be given priority to serve in the MHL as they have attained a highest position and need to be active in domestic competitions,

The fact that the Competitions Committee splints Tournament Director and his assistant who are not on the FIH is indeed bewildering.

And what is this we hear – no video referrals in the MHL?

Why is all this happening?

Simply put it’s due to the fact that it’s not putting the right people in the right places to get a good outcome.

Rather it’s all about putting cronies in committees so that at a photo session all can smile and pose.

Hockey, who cares anyway what happens.