THE New Year will start with an explosive weekend in Penang, as Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division leaders Maybank and Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) lock horns at the Universiti Sains Malaysia grounds.
Maybank top the standings only on goal difference, and second placed KLHC have the players to take over the reigns.
However, KLHC coach I. Vivekanandan is not in the mood to celebrate just yet.
“Maybank have showed consistency in their three matches they played, and being the leaders, I am sure they will not cave in easily.
“We will have to be careful not to give them too much of space, as they have speedy forwards,” said Vivekanandan.
KLHC basically have the same players who won the double for Ernst & Young last season, and even then then had difficulty when facing Maybank.
“It will be a difficult weekend for us as after we play Maybank, Nur Insafi is next. Lets not forget the fact that last year E&Y, with the same players I have now, beat Nur Insafi 10-0 but in the return leg in Penang, we had to come back from behind twice, to beat them 3-2.
“That is why I see this weekend as a crucial mid-way battle and the winner is likely to place his hands on the title,” said Vivekanandan.
While KLHC are cautious and will only travel to Penang today morning, Maybank are already at the Island, waiting for their opponents.
“We are ready to face KLHC and continue our run in the MHL. It will be a cracking weekend, but I expect my boys to keep the top spot.
“The match against KLHC will be energy sapping, and then there is not enough rest before we face Sapura the next day. But I am confident my players will not disappoint,” said Velappan.
SATURDAY: Sapura v UniKL-Ibil (4.30pm), KL Hockey Club v Maybank (6.30pm), TNB v Nur Insafi (8.30pm).
SUNDAY: TNB v UniKL-Ibil (4.30pm), Maybank v Sa pura (6.30pm), Nur Insafi v KL Hockey Club (8.30pm).
All matches will be held at the Universiti Sains Malaysia grounds.
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