Unfortunately, today's game had been officially postponed to 21st May by the MHF Competition Committee. A rightful act in view of the 19th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (SAS Cup) from 6th to 16th May in Ipoh. This was one of the 2 main reasons communicated by the MHF Secretary in his written communication.
Fortunately, with the SAS Cup completing by 16th May, it would permit the MHJL to get back to its normal pace considering that the tournament must be completed before the SUKMA Games.
Prima facie, all these are suitable explanations of the Competition Committee particularly when the 2nd reason is embodied into the equation ie national interest as players are involved in the SAS Cup. Fundamental in all these is that the Competition Committee had preached certain reasons in postponing the game. It is whether they are fully practicing it or selectively conducting their "preaching" exercise.
I ask this question on the following basis:
- Only 1 player from the MJHL teams is involved in the SAS Cup and he is from the Thunderbolt team.
- The Project 2013 team made up of players playing in the MJHL were assembled to play friendlies with the visiting teams for the SAS Cup. They are free to join back the MJHL teams from 6th May.
- Nothwithstanding the MHF Secretary's 1st reason for postponement ie the SAS Cup, there are other MJHL matches still going on including a key game between BJSS and Thunderbolt on 14th May.
- Thunderbolt would not have the services of their key player for that game because he would still be involved in the SAS Cup.
In view of the above scenarios, is there a need to postpone the UniKL and Thunderbolt match scheduled on 7th May? It would seem there are inconsistencies in the MHF Secretary's letter on behalf of the Competition Committee. Effectively what the Competition Committee has done by changing the UniKL and Thunderbolt game is to become "kingmaker" in determining who should win the MJHL title. By "twitching" the match schedules, the Competition Committee has created an "unbalanced" scenario that does not provide a "level playing field" for the contenders of the title.
Maybe what i outline below would help to enlighten the Competition Committee:
- If the 7th May match between UniKL and Thunderbolt had proceeded, the players involved for Thunderbolt would be the same as when they play BJSS on 14th May. The "playing field" would be of the same level for the 3 contenders.
- If the 7th May is rescheduled to 21st May, Thunderbolt would be reinforced with one of their key players who is currently with the national team in the SAS Cup and another player returning from his stint in Holland.This would give Thunderbolt that extra advantage over UniKL, who also have an additional player returning from Holland.
- The 14th May game between Thunderbolt and BJSS would mean Thunderbolt would not have their "heavyweights" for that game, thereby creating an injustice to UniKL by postponing their game on 7th May, when there was no "genuine" reason.
In fact the Competition Committee should have been fair all round either by maintaining the original MJHL match schedules or postponing all the games during the SAS Cup. By undertaking selective actions on certain matches and trying to create reasons that does not provide a genuine basis and gives an impression of "jerry mandering" by the Competition Committee to a state of wanting to determine the winners of the MJHL. This supports the notion that the Competition Committee is playing the role of "kingmaker".
In all these i must also take on the UniKL hockey management in choosing to remain silent on this issue. They should have been more responsible in officially raising this issue with the Competition Committee detailing the inconsistencies in the Committee's decision. For a 1st timer to the MJHL and with the possibility of winning the title they seem very relaxed about such matters. I wonder whether it is the "fear factor" of not wanting to create any controversy because the person who is responsible for starting hockey in UniKL is their Chancellor, who is also the President of MHF ie the TM. UniKL has a sound basis to protest and it is only fair that all the games should be postponed and played after the 16th May when the SAS Cup is completed. In this way there shall not be any room for accusations nor a purported claim of a "kingmaker".