FROM a home office and files kept in a car boot for years, Sabah Hockey Association (SHA) now have their own place to meet and plan bigger things for their players.
They started “dreaming bigger” after their youth teams returned with medals from the 2018 Malaysia Games.
The boys’ team won the gold for the first time after beating Pahang while the girls’ team took silver after finishing second to Selangor in the final.
Sabah-born Shello Silverius even captained the national junior team at last year’s Sultan of Johor Cup.
“We used to be the whipping boys in the Malaysia Games, but we upset the formbook by winning the boys’ competition and taking silver in the girls’ event in 2018.
“Our proudest moment came when Shello was named the national junior captain for the SOJC last year,” said Sabah HA president Datuk Seri Anil Jeet Singh.
SHA moved into their new office in January and also bought a bus to transport players, who mostly come from rural areas.
“Following the success of our girls’ team in the Malaysia Games, we fielded them in the Malaysia Women’s Hockey League for the very first time.
“Our team, comprising
16 Malaysia Games players,
finished fifth in the six-team competition.
“It was a promising performance, considering that the other teams had national and foreign players,” said Anil.
On the progress of their
development players, he said: “We have at least five
players each in the JHL (Junior Hockey League) boys’ and girls’ teams, who have the potential to go far.
“As for the younger players, we have hired former national junior coach Yahya Atan to scout and train players from rural schools. This project also looks promising,” said Anil.
Their biggest problem is sparring partners. They have to travel across the South China Sea, incurring flight and accommodation expenses to play against teams in the peninsula.
“For peninsula teams, it is just a bus ride to play in tournaments but for Sabah (and Sarawak) the costs are much higher.
“But since there is no other way for our players to progress, we have to often raise funds to realise the dreams of our players to don national colours,” he added.