THE Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division has produced a surprise leader after three matches, and it looks like Maybank’s trust in youth has paid off.
And the same can be said about the young UNiKL-Ibil side, who stanched a point from the foreign-based Nur Insafi after two defeats.
“Last year we blooded some young players, and they were a little shaky. But it paid off in the last three matches this season, and we are looking forward to the remaining match es with confidence,” said Maybank coach S. Velappan.
UNiKL-Ibil have five Project 2013 players, while the rest were ‘picked from here and there.”
“Initially we had difficulty in fielding a side as all the top players were already attached with other clubs. So we took in five Project boys, and then had to source the others from the reject pool,” said UNiKL-Ibil coach I. Vickneswaran.
The average age of the UNiKL-Ibil team is 20, and they did well to hold more experienced foreign players from Nur Insafi to a 2-2 draw.
The trust in local youth paid off, while the trust in players from India and Pakistan has only brought Nur Insafi two defeats and a draw.
Nur Insafi has the likes of Indian national midfielder V.S. Vinaya and Pakistani forward Mohamed Nadeem, as well as Pakistan penalty corner flicker Imran Warsi.
However, the youth of UniKL-Ibil still managed to hold them to a draw.
And off the pitch, it looks like the fans are still shying away from the Tun Razak Stadium even though some quality matches have been played to date.
The MHL will take a break and resume on Jan 2 at the Universiti Sains Malaysia grounds, and hopefully the fans in Penang are more responsive.
P W D L F A Pts
MAYBANK 3 3 0 0 9 2 9
KLHC 3 3 0 0 10 4 9
SAPURA 3 1 0 2 7 7 3
TENAGA 3 1 0 2 5 5 3
UNIKL 3 0 1 2 2 8 1
NUR INSAFI 3 0 1 2 4 11 1