THE MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League Milo Cup knock-out stage highly favours Division One teams to dominate Friday, as they are far ahead of the Division Two qualifiers.
League champions SSTMI Thunderbolts are too good for 1Mas Perlis, while Petaling Jaya City Council (PJCC), UniKL Young Guns and SSP-MSP-Thunderbolts all went through a toughter time in Division One, and are hardened by their experience.
However, 1Mas Perlis are not awed, neither afraid of Thunderbolts who will be gunning for their fourth consecutive JHL double after lifting the League title.
The tiny state finished champions in Group B of Division Two: “The odds are definitely against us, but we are not going to bow out without a fight. I know my players will keep their heads up and show no fear against them (Thunderbolts),” said 1Mas Perlis coach Wira Osman.
On paper it should be easy pickings for the defending champions, however, Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman is not planningto take matters lightly and has prepared his charges to come out with guns blazing.
“On paper we are the better team but I dont' believe on relying on past match results so my players have been grilled to give a hundred per cent to make the second leg much easier," said Wan Roslan.
The most inconsistent team of the season title goes to PJCC, who were looking at the league silverware at one stage, but fell to third after losing steam at the tail-end.
“No doubt we were close to laying our hands on the Division One title at one stage, so finishing third is rather disappointing.
“Consistency was our biggest problem, however, the team are now focused on making the final of the Milo Cup and our first step is to beat the Johor team (SMKDBL PH Johor)," said PJCC coach Azlansaufi Ahmad Sufian.
Division One runners-up UniKL Young Guns will also be hoping to put aside their erratic form when they play Division Two champions Nur Insafi-Penang Hockey.
UniKL have been on a roller-coaster ride throughout their campaign so coach I. Vickneswaran is keeping his fingers crossed that his side shows up with the right mindset today.
“A team must fire on all cylinders consistently, however that is something that we have failed to do this season.
“On paper we may be the better side, but take nothing away from Nur Insafi, as they have some really talented players that can trouble to us if we gave them too much space,” Said Vickneswaran.
FRIDAY: MILO Cup q-finals (First Leg): SSTMI Thunderbolts v 1Mas Perlis (Kangar, 4.45pm); SSP-MSP-Thunderbolts v Bukit Jalil SS Juniors (Temerloh, 4.45pm); Petaling Jaya City Council v SMKDBL PH Johor (National Stadium, 4.45pm, Pitch I); UniKL Young Guns v Nur Insafi-Penang HA (National Stadium, 4.45pm, Pitch II).