Monday, March 10, 2014

Promising pool from JHL...

THE Junior Hockey League ended with a bang for SSTMI Thunderbolts over the weekend, but the rest of the teams need to do more than just soul searching.
   Division One had seven teams, while three groups in Division Two had 23 teams making the JHL into a mammoth tournament which showcased 540 players.
    But many teams had players who only went through the fixtures, and there was little improvements in their game after playing so many matches.
   Only a large number of players from Thunderbolts, UniKL Young Guns, Petaling Jaya City Council, Politeknik-KPM and Olak-PKT showed promise.
    And from the large pool, national  Juniors coach Arul Selvaraj named 25 trainees for the 2016 Junior World Cup,  with Division Two outfits Politek-KPM  and Olak-PKT providing six and three players respectively.
    Politeknik-KPM and Olak-PKT not only provided players for the national side, but also added spark to the otherwise predictable JHL.
     Politeknik went on the win the Division Two playoff title, while Olak qualified for the semi-finals, and the Division Two team finished a credible fourth and pocketed RM10,000.
   Thunderbolts, who won their third consecutive double, whacked the daylights out of every team they met, and even early season it was a well known fact that it was their title to lose.
    “This (third straight double) was a combined effort from the school as well as our sponsors Tenaga Nasional. We could not have done it alone,” said SSTMI Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman.
    Arul Selvaraj will now get his chance to train the players every Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays while releasing his trainees to play for clubs in Division One of the Malaysia Hockey League.
    Arul does not have time on his side as he prepares a side for the Junior Asia Cup, which is a qualifier for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in 2016.
    But with quality players selected from the JHL, his task has ben made easier by the club coaches who have already taught the basics, and now Arul only needs to strengthen their determination and desire to make an impact in the Asia Cup.
    For the record, Malaysia are the Junior Asia Cup champions and finished fourth in last year’s Junior World Cup in New Delhi.