TWO JOHOR teams will be out to create history in the Junior Hockey League Milo Cup Semi-finals today, but only one of the Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School side is expected to cruise into the final.
SSTMI Juniors will find the going tough, as they will face UniKL Young
Guns in the first leg semi-finals today, while it would be relatively
easier for their sister side SSTMI who will meet Anderson of Ipoh in the
two leg semi-finals.
If history is to be used as yardstick, then
UniKL are going to cruise into the semis as they beat SSTMI Juniors 6-2
in the League.
And on the same yardstick, Anderson had beaten SSTMI
3-2 in the League, to become the only side that had taken three points
off the Johor school in the last three seasons.
But it would be
foolish to judge the semi-finals using history, as SSTMI went on the win
the League title, while SSTMI Juniors held off Division One runners-up
Petaling Jaya City Council on 8-7 aggregate to reach this stage.
The formbook was torn to pieces, as both the Sports Schools have shown that they have gritty players.
"Eventhough we expected to meet PJCC in the semifinals, and were
planning to avenge our 0-1 defeat to them in the league, SSTMI Juniors
sprung a surprise to book a date with us," said UniKL Hockey Club acting
president Amir Azhar Ibrahim.
However, Amir cautioned his side:
"SSTMI Juniors have come a long way since we beat them in the League,
and they can challenge UniKL in every department as they did to PJCC in
"I expect them to come fully prepared to face the
Young Guns as they also enjoy the vast experience and tactical knowledge
of Tenaga Nasional coaching setup as what their senior team receive.
"We are aware of that and will have the full squad (suspension and
injury free) ready for the challenge in the home leg tomorrow (today).
We will try to capitalise on the home turf advantage before we travel to
Johor on Friday for the return leg".
As for SSTMI coach Wan
Roslan Wan Rahman, the shock defeat to Anderson in the League is nothing
to worry about as the teams face each other on a new frontier.
"That (the defeat) was when we were bogged down by travel fatigue and
playing non stop as the fixtures were drawn up in such a way. Also, we
did not have two key players who were injured then.
side are ready for a home run as the injured players have recovered, and
we are fresh after a good rest," said Wan Roslan.
Semi-finals (First Leg): Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School v Andersons
(Taman Daya, 5pm); UniKL v SSTMI Juniors (National Stadium Pitch II,
FRIDAY: Semi-finals (Second Leg): Andersons v Tengku
Mahkota Ismail Sports School (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5pm); SSTMI Juniors v
UniKL (Taman Daya, 5pm).