By Ajitpal Singh
SHAKEEL Abbasi and Rehan Butt, both
Shakeel, who arrived a day before Yayasan Negri Sembilan's (YNS) opening match on Saturday, turned on a mesmerising display to help his team beat Maybank 4-1 while Rehan, who was named in the World XI recently, was the strength behind Sapura's impressive 7-2 victory over ATM-Airod.
The 28-year-old Shakeel, also the captain of YNS, said he could easily adapt with his team's style of play as there were many
"I hardly trained with the team as I only arrived a day before the match. I had a shaky start in the beginning but everything went well for me once I got into the groove," said Shakeel, who scored 125 goals in 320 appearances for
"I had several offers from
Shakeel said the exposure in the MHL will help him keep fit in-preparation for next year's Champions League and the 2012 London Olympics.
"We do not play much hockey in
Rehan almost single-handedly tore open ATM's leaky defence to help his Sapura teammates poach goals on Saturday.
Sapura coach I. Vikneswaran said Rehan, together with the other foreign signings, hardly trained together prior to Saturday's match.
"Rehan had one full training session but some did not even have one. For instance, national player Jiwa Mohan only arrived a few hours before the match. And so winning the match is a good booster for the team," said Vikneswaran.
In another match on Saturday, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (Unikl) were made to slog before edging UiTM 3-2, courtesy of a hat-trick by Richard Patherick, a
Coach Darren Smith said his boys made mistakes and did not follow the game plan.
"Some players tend to dribble instead of making simple passes. But these things will need time to correct and while I am glad with the win, I cannot say the same for the performance," said Smith.
The MHL restarts on Dec 31.