Nur Insafi are at a disadvantage even before the first match of the Malaysian Hockey League. For they have no pitch to train on and travel to Sg. Petani, Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur to hold training sessions.
The Penang team cannot train on the USM pitch as the charges are way too expensive, ranging from RM300 to RM450 per session. And even if they manage to cough up the money for rental, they are often turned away as USM gives preferences to their team which plays in Division One as well as for their student activities.
"We just have to manage with what we have as there is no pitch available for us in Penang. So in order to hold training sessions, we have to go to outstation venues," said coach cum manager Dr. Thaitchana Muruthi.
"But we have been coping well despite all these problems and I am grateful to the Perak HA and KLHA for allowing us time to train at their venues. Without such assistance we will not be able to put up a side that can provide challenge to opposing teams."
Despite not making an impact in their participation in the MHL, Nur Insafi nonetheless have the courage to put up a team, something that other states have been unable to do.
Spearheaded by Thaitchana, who relies on his own funds besides contributions from well wishers, Nur Insafi made heads turn when they registered 15 foreign players last season. But that will not be the case this time around.
"We will have four players from Pakistan, two each from Bangladesh and India and are in the midst of securing the services of a former Australian junior," said Thaitchana.
On the local front, Nur Insafi have the services of former international Keevan Raj, Prabhu and Prabhakaran. The bulk of team comes from players that represented Kedah, Perak, Malacca, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur in the recent Malaysia Games.
Among the players expected to shine are Hrsikesa and Mhd Idrus, both youngsters who have the potential to do well if given the opportunity.