KL Hockey Club are amongst the early favourites for the title in the Premier League of the MHL that gets underway on December 17. Team Manager George Koshy shares his thoughts on the MHL and offers some insights on his team. For the record KLHC were the league champions last season but lost in the semis to Sapura.
Question: Having being part of MHL for some 10 years, what is your opinion on the standard of hockey in the MHL?
George: Over the last couple of years the MHL has basically been a three team race. However, i'm certain this will change in the current year because the tea
ms have 1)started earlier preparation 2) invested more by injecting more quality into their teams. There will be more teams capable of winning trophies this year which is a direct correlation to the standard of hockey.
Question: KLHC won the league but faltered at the overall stage last year. What are the lessons learnt from that experience?
George: We are aware of what our shortcomings were and have taken steps to rectify it.
Question: The composition of the team has not changed much over the years. What are the latest additions to the team and who has been dropped?
George: We still have until this Saturday to finalize the team. Three players have left us on their own accord and as such we have replaced them with the following additions namely Shanker Shanmugam, Mohd Noor Faeez and Hairulnizam Bin Maizan. We are still looking at a possibility of making a further changes.
Question: This season the teams are expected to play at five venues outside KL, an increase from the three last season. How will the traveling affect the players as well as seeking leave since KLHC is not an employer club?
George: I don't think it will pose a problem, if it does, we will need to make adjustments. I understand the reasons behind increasing the number of
venues and we are fully supportive .
Question: KLHC has refrained from seeking the services of foreign players akin to TNB. Will there be a change of policy?
George: We are a small self funded club with no big corporations behind us, we have our own constraints.
Question: What are the targets set for the team this season?
George: We participate to win.
Question: Do you think that the MHL helps in the development of hockey overall as there are only teams from some states in the fray?
George: MHL shouldn't be used as the platform for development. It is a competition and teams play to win. There are already other initiatives at schools, states and national level to cater for development.
Question: Finally, do you think that the prize money offered is sufficient given that teams invest a whole load more?
George: Does the prize money in any other competition in the world ever cover the investment cost, i really don't think so. At the end of the day the teams themselves must undertake their own cost versus benefit analysis to identify their own baseline. I understand that the prize money in the current year has been somewhat increased, naturally as human beings we always want more!