WHOSE TITLE? ..Tenaga captain Madzli Ikmar (left) and KLHC skipper Azlan Misron get a feel of the silverware before the big battle.
KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) are posed to claim their Malaysia Hockey League treble when they meet Tenaga Nasional in the TNB Cup at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tonight.
They are determined to keep their unbeaten record, which has earned them the Charity Shield and the League title, and not even their skippers wedding last night is going to stop their set of determined players.
KLHC skipper Azlan Misron attended yesterday morning’s Press Conference with his bride in tow: “I’m getting married tonight (last night) but will be there to rally and motivate my team-mates to win the TNB Cup.
“It is an important day in my life, but my duty towards my club is just as important and my final aim is to make sure we win the treble.”
Twenty-eight-year-old Azlan, a former national skipper, was sidelined in the last few international assignments as younger players overtook his pace.
“I’m a fighter who hates to lose and will take the nudge from younger players as a challenge to improve my fitness and game so that I would be considered for national duty again,” said the Perak-born player.
KLHC and Tenaga played the season opening Charity Shield, and the former won on a slim 2-1 margin.
“Statistics do not matter at this stage and Tenaga have shown real grit to reach the TNB Cup final. They also have the best goalkeeper in Asia and possibly in the world in S. Kumar.
“Tenaga also have the national defense, while their young forwards. I predict, will turn into future stars,” said KLHC team manager George Koshy.
In defense, Tenaga have the national line-up of Kumar, Madzli Ikmar, Amin Rahim and Baljit Singh.
And their young forwards Faizal Saari (18 goals which include four hat-tricks), Firhan Ashaari and Amir Farid are super fit and can turn the tables in a flash.
“However, Tenaga have a weak midfield and that is what we will exploit to win the match,” said Koshy.
KLHC have nine national players, and their top scorer is Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin with 17 goals.
TNB will miss Sallehin Ghani who was red carded in the semis against Sapura for a bad tackle on Joel Samuel van Huizen.
So they will have to reshuffle its backline with Amin Rahim playing in the middle of defence and skipper Madzli Ikmar playing in front of him. S. Bubalan is expected to replace Sallehin in the starting line-up.
“Sallehin’s absence will affect us but this is something we hope to overcome by moving some players around. No doubt that KLHC hold the aces, but we will play the game of our life to upset them,” said Tenaga coach Lailin Abu Hassan.
Tenaga skipper Madzli said playing second fiddle to KLHC is not something that he aims to do when the final whistle is blown.
“We have to play smart and be wary of the quick counters which KLHC are capable of. They have several players that can inflict damage on us if left unchecked, but I and my defenders know the capabilities of all their forwards, as we are team mates in the national squad. That will be our plus point,” said Madzli.
TODAY: Final: Kuala Lumpur HC v Tenaga (8pm); Third-Fourth: Sapura v Maybank (6pm).
Both matches at the second pitch of the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.