UNIKL-Ibil ended-up at the bottom of the pool, but their coach I. Vickneswaran and sponsors are more than happy with their young side’s debut performance in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division.
The team has an average age of 22, and they met their more experienced opponents head-on. Their only heavy defeat was a 5-1 drubbing against Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC), which is made up of national players.
UniKL can hold their heads up, as they only lost 1-0 to Sapura, and 2-0 to Tenaga Nasional.
“Our position on the standings does not look good, but I as well as our sponsors and University are happy with the maturity shown by the young players in their debut MHL,” said Vickneswaran, a former International himself.
The youngest in the team is 16-year-old Taufik Hamid, who started jittery, but is now a regular in the side.
“Taufik was a bundle of nerves when I first fielded him, but he has shown tremendous improvement, and is now a regular on the starting list. I see a bright future for the lad, and his start was made possible by the faith placed by the University, and our sponsors.
UniKL staff make it a point to watch the boys play, while Ibil is an IT company whose other sporting interest is Rallying in Felda areas.
The boys scored a total of five goals and let in 26 in nine matches, and as comparison, second from the bottom Nur Insafi who have 16 foreign players from India and Pakistan scored 10 and let in 33 goals.
Today, the six teams will be playing their final league match before the quarter-finals begin on Jan 29. However, all six positions have already been cemented last weekend, and the matches will be purely warm-ups.
League champions KLHC will pocket RM30,000, Tenaga RM20,000 and Maybank RM15,000.
Prize money for Division one will also be presented today with champions UiTM receiving RM20,000, ATM Airod RM15,000 and Malacca City Council RM10,000.
In the quarter-finals, KLHC will square off against Division One runners-up Airod, while Tenaga Nasional will meet Division One champions UiTM.
The other quarter-final, first-leg matches, will see May bank playing UniKL-IBIL and Sapura squaring off against Nur Insafi.
TODAY: Sapura v Nur Insafi (4.30pm), UniKL-Ibil v May bank (6.30pm), Tenaga Nasional v KL Hockey Club (8.30pm).
All matches at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca.
P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 9 8 1 0 31 9 25
TENAGA 9 7 0 2 23 8 21
MAYBANK 9 4 3 2 16 11 15
SAPURA 9 3 2 4 16 13 11
NUR INSAFI 9 1 1 7 10 33 4
UNIKL 9 0 1 8 5 26 1