HISTORY and past glory will be thrown out of the window as the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) gets underway to day.
This is because newly appointed national chief coach Paul Revington and his assistant Arul Selvaraj would be on the lookout for new blood to play for the country in the Champions Challenge I and Asian Champions Trophy in November and December respectively.
There are some experienced hands in the national team that need to be replaced fast, as they have shown little motivation or promise in the Dublin Olympic Qualifiers.
And with plenty of young legs, especially players from the Project 2013, who have shown more desire and promise, there could be some surprises in the selection when the MHL ends on Oct 10.
In the Premier Division, which will see six quality sides instead of the nine diluted teams last season, double cham pions KL Hockey Club and Tenaga Nasional start as favourites while Sapura, Maybank, UniKL and Nur Insafi- MBI have openly declared that their focus is making the semi- finals.
And there would be seven teams in Division One fighting it out for their own league and overall titles, as there is no quarter-finals in the TNB Cup this season.
Today, fans are in for quality time as defending champions KL Hockey Club play league runners-up Sapura in the Charity Shield.
Sapura have promising youngsters and steady old hands while KLHC’s line-up comprises the who’s who of Malaysian hockey.
Former national coach Stephen van Huizen, who now is a coaching consultant for Sapura conceded that KLHC will be the team to beat: “KLHC are the favourites as they are not only the defending double champions but have the services of all the key national players as well as ex national players who have played together for a few years.
“They have built a good understanding over the years, and are armed with deadly penalty corner set pieces. Its an opening match that will severely test my side.”
KLHC have a sound penalty corner battery in Razie Rahim, Ahmad Kazairul and Baljit Singh.
“Besides having good set pieces, in Tengku Ahmad Tajud din, Chua Boon Huat, Azlan Misron and Kelvinder Singh, KLHC also has strength on the bench,” said Stephen.
Sapura have former skipper S. Kuhan, the Mohan brothers Jiwa and Jivan and Megat Azrafiq for experience.
They also have Korea’s Jason Lee Mung Seon and Pak istan’s Muhammad Imran to boost their challenge.
KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj said their mission is to win every match as there are only five opponents.
“We always play to win, and with home-and-away, we can’t let the other team grow in confidence by losing points, As this would make the return leg much more difficult,” said Dharmaraj.
TODAY: Premier Division -- Tenaga v Maybank (National Stadium II, 4pm), UniKL v MBI-Nur Insafi (National Stadium II, 6pm), KLHC v Sapura (National Stadium II, 8pm).
Division One: Armed Forces v UniTen (National Stadium I, 5pm), Bukit Jalil Sports School v Thunderbolts (Ministry of Education, 5pm), Politeknik-KPT v Johor HA (Taman Daya, 5pm).
Tomorrow: Premier Division -- Tenaga v MBI-Nur Insafi (National Stadium II, 4pm), Maybank v KLHC (National Stadium II, 6pm), Sapura v UniKL (National Stadium II, 8pm).
Division One: UiTM v Armed Forces (Ministry of Education, 5pm), Thunderbolts v UniTen (National Stadium I, 5pm).