Comeback kings: (from left) Technical advisor Datuk R. Yogeswaran with Mirnawan, Logan Raj and Ow Soon Kooi (team manager)
By Jonathan Fernandez
FORMER internationals Mirnawan Nawawi and Logan Raj will return to the competitive game when they play for Kepong Baru in the Kuala Lumpur Hockey League. Mirnawan, 38, stepped down from the international scene in 2002 after having acquired 327 caps.
He last played in the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) for Telekom Malaysia in 2005. Logan quit the national team after the Korat Sea Games in 2007. The 28-year-old played for Sapura in the MHL until last year before announcing his retirement from competitive hockey.
Logan’s younger brother, Mano, has also been recruited. And that’s not all. Also returning to “active duty” is former national captain and Olympian Ow Soon Kooi as team manager. Kepong Baru have also roped in former national coach and manager, Datuk R. Yogeswaran as technical adviser.
“Kepong Baru are a young side and that’s why we decided to join them — to help realise their potential. Logan and I want to put back what the game had given us,” said Mirnawan, also known as “The Boss”.
There is also an “import” in the team — Chris Kelly who used to play in the Perth League. Kelly, 38, also represented Western Australia in age-group tournaments.
The main sponsor for Kepong Baru, nicknamed Kay Bees, is Olympic Sports Hotel while the others are Mist Club and AstroTurf. The Kuala Lumpur Div 1 starts next week and it promises to be more fiery than before. Although several teams have withdrawn, the mainstays have confirmed participation.
At least five teams are title contenders from among the 11 teams. The frontrunners this year are the usual campaigners — MISC (defending champions), Sentul (last year’s losing finalists), Sunday 2030, New Straits Times and Bukit Jalil Sports School.
The other teams in the fray are MSSKL, KL Irrigation, Old Collegian, TPCA and UPM Staff. Sentul will play the opening Div One match against the young MSSKL side next Tuesday. Div One is expected to be completed by end January. The top two teams will play in the final.
THE TEAMS: Sentul, MSSKSSKL, Sunday 2030, MISC, Bukit Jalil, NSTP, KL Irrigation, Kepong Baru, Old Collegian, TPCA, UPM Staff.