15 Pakistani national hockey players will join the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) when the league resumes on August 2.
Former Pakistani national team captain Muhammad Imran, Haseem Khan, Kashif Ali and Azfar Yaqoob already signing on with KL-based Sapura HC.
Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and Maybank Hockey Club meanwhile both signed no less than five Pakistani players with Rizwan Senior, Fareed Ahmed, Ali Shan, Waseem Ahmed and Umar Bhutta now players of KLHC while Shafqat Rasool, Imran Butt, Touseeq Arshad, Muhammad Waqas Shareef and Muhammad Irfan all joining Maybank HC. Hammad Butt was signed by Tenaga National Berhad Hockey Club.
Despite being one of the most successful hockey teams in the world, Pakistan defeat at the hands of the Irish in the World Hockey League (WHL) ensured that the three-time Olympic champions will not be on the plane to Rio.
The Pakistan Hockey Confederation (PHC) are also struggling financially to pay its players but with a host of Pakistani players now playing their trade in Malaysia, Imran Butt hopes that the money issue will be resolved by the PHC soon but their financial situation will be slightly levitated by playing in Malaysia.
“All the players are really happy to participate in the league as this will not only give us match exposure and practice, but will also help us in getting ourselves out of the financial crisis,” Butt told The Express Tribune.
“Last year when I was signed by Sapura HC, I had to miss the league for the 2014 Champions Trophy training camp, for which I did not receive any compensation. However, considering that PHF released some of our dues and also gave us the no-objection certificate (NOC) for the league, I am quite confident that the payment for the Champions Trophy would also be cleared soon.”