DEFENDING champions Kuala Lumpur are the team to beat if any state wants to lift the National Under-16 hockey title at the Sandakan stadium from today.
KL have 14 boys from Bandar Penawar and Bukit Jalil Sports Schools, and will open their campaign against Sin gapore tomorrow.
Coach Lokman Yahaya feels his charges are primed for the tournament, but have to get adjusted to the newly-laid pitch fast.
“We are lucky to have trained at the new pitch a few times since we came here because it is a little bumpy and faster than the KLHA pitch which we trained.
“My players hat some difficulty pushing and stopping the ball during penalty corner training, but are slowly getting used to pitch,” said Lokman.
The boys trained for a week at the KLHA stadium in Kuala Lumpur, and should have no problems making an impact in Group A.
In Group B, silver medallists Perak start as the favourites.
GROUP A: Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Kelantan, Pahang, Perlis, Selangor, Singapore.
GROUP B: Perak, Penang, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Sabah, Sarawak.
TOMORROW: Group A: Kelantan v Selangor (6.30am), Pahang v Perlis (8am), Johor v Singapore (3pm).
Group B: Perak v Negri Sembilan (9.30am), Malacca v Penang (11am), Sabah v Sarawak (4.30pm).
Sunday: Group A: K. Lumpur v Singapore (11am), Johor v Selangor (3pm), Kelantan v Perlis (4.30pm).
Group B:Perak v Sarawak (6.30am), Penang v Sabah (8am), Malacca v N. Sembilan (9.30am)
Monday: Group A: Kelantan v Pahang (6.30am), K. Lumpur v Selangor (8am), Johor v Perlis (9.30am).