UniKL – defending champs in dire straits

With the Malaysian Hockey League just three weeks away, it is anybody’s guess as to what’s transpiring at the camp of defending overall champions UniKL.

They have yet to formally appoint a coach and start preparations for the new season, despite the knockout getting underway on Jan 3 and the team managers meeting this Saturday.

Speculation is rife that their coach Arul Selvaraj was moving to the East Coast side Terengganu Hockey Team.

But this report was quickly dispelled by the club President Dato Amir Azhar Ibrahim.

One thing is clear though, Arul is in Dublin at present and UniKL have confirmed that not a single training session has been held

Another thing that is certain, whoever the coach, UniKL will not have the services of Jeroen Hertzberger and David Harte as both will be playing for their respective countries, Holland and Ireland in the forthcoming Pro League.

So back to the team and it is also claimed that the club has yet to pay its players two months salary.

However it is learnt that this is expected to be settled before formal training commences next week.

However questions are being raised with regards to the unpaid bonus as they did not get what was due after winning the overall. It seems the players were told that they will be paid but nothing was done till now.

This has caused uncertainties amongst the players and it is an open secret that some senior or long serving players had conspired with certain officials to remove Arul midway through last season.

But a good selection of foreign players. astute management, Amir managed to nip the problem in the bud and the team went on to create history.

Though they have their own stadium now in Bangi, the surface is said to be very bumpy and the World Cup bound New Zealand team abandoned the venue as training ground after two days due to safety issues.

Issues with the pitch could have been resolved if it was often used as the “ bumpiness” is often associated with the pitch not settling down and frequent usage would be a step to overcome this malady.

With other teams already in training, it will be tough for UniKL to retain the title or for that matter net any of the three trophies at stake.

Amir needs to make tough calls, either focus on the team or let someone else run the team.

Despite being a well run club initially, UniKL has either let success go to its head or are dying due to little “ napoleons” in the midst of the club,

It will be a shame if UniKL also ends up on the sidelines as has many great clubs before it.

Perhaps it’s the curse of the title!