JOHOR hockey has taken note of its slump, especially at the senior level, in national competitions. However, the Johor Hockey Association (JHA) has taken immediate steps to plug the loopholes.

“Johor Hockey will rise again but we have to develop grassroots hockey to kick start our mission,” said JHA president Dato’ Majid Manjit Abdullah who drove home a strong message for the districts to get cracking on grassroots development during his speech at its annual general meeting held in Johor Bahru on Thursday.

“Without grassroots development, we will not be able to achieve our mission. Johor has done quite okay at the national age-group tournaments and this has given us hope to win the men’s Razak Cup. However, I am disappointed with the state of affairs in women’s hockey which is at its lowest ebb.

“Kluang District HA was given the mandate to handle women’s hockey but it flopped badly. This is a shame as Johor women’s hockey is at its lowest ebb. Now we have asked Batu Pahat District HA, the canter of excellence for the game in Johor to take over the task,” said Dato’ Manjit.

Dato Manjit also revealed that an indoor hockey pitch will be built soon and this is adjacent to the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium – the venue for the annual Sultan of Johor Cup International Invitational Under-21 tournament which features in the annual FIH (International Hockey Federation) calendar.

He also announced that Johor wants a team to compete in the next National Hockey League. 

At the same function, Dato Manjit called on JHA to revive the very popular inter-district tournament for the Choo Joo Thye Trophy which saw a keen rivalry between the districts. This tournament was last held in 1983. 

“It has been a difficult two years for this sport in Johor due to the pandemic. It has been more on recovery for the sport but the time has come for us to take stock of the situation and we are going big on grassroots development in every district in the state.

“Without grassroots, hockey development will not progress in the state. Only with hockey development can we start winning titles. Sadly, we have lacked in this respect of late but we have taken note of the shortcomings.

“We should start winning titles at age-group national titles like the Under-14, Under-16, and so on for a start, and from here, we can think of winning the premier Razak Cup title. On a bigger stage, we want a team in the National League.”

Tangkak, which is a new district in Johor can develop good hockey players. Tangkak can take a cue from Batu Pahat which has proven itself as the centre of excellence for the game.

On another note, Dato Manjit added: “Proudly, we have a building of our own – Thanks to UM Land for their kindness in making the kind donation, and the building is located in Seri Alam on the outskirts of Johor Bahru. 

“We hope to tie up some loose ends soon before the three-storey building, worth RM1.8 million is handed over to the Johor Hockey Association. We can be proud that we are the only hockey association in the country to have a building of its own.”