Thursday, March 30, 2017
Pic: MISC-UFL Kuala Lumpur players training at Kuala Selangor during their one week camp there.
THE Junior Hockey League (JLH) season begins Friday, with three Division One matches postponed due to the Asian Schools Hockey in India.
Division One will have 10 teams, with League champions Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) and Overall champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) starting off as early favourites.
And In Division Two, 20 teams have been drawn in three groups and there are no clear favourites in this development group.
The Girls' JHL will also be held simultaneously with the 11 teams placed in two groups.
The number of teams competing in the Boys and Girls events is huge, and this augurs well for the development of the sport at the grassroots.
And two teams in Division Two will be on a mission of their own -- to increase the number of Indian hockey players in the country.
Malaysian Indian Sports Council (MISC) in collaboration with Universal Fitness & Leisure (UFL) fielded one team last season, and came back stronger this year with two teams in the Northern and Central zones.
MISC-UFL Kuala Lumpur and MISC-UFL Penang will see 41 Indian and Punjabi boys competing in the JHL.
"The objective of fielding MISC teams is to give boys of Indian origin (even Indian Muslims) a chance to play hockey and be spotted by scouts for further development.
"There used to be many Indian and Punjabi players in the national teams, but today, only goalkeeper S. Kumar and Baljit Singh (Charun Singh) are left," said former international Nishel Kumar who will be coaching the Central zone side.
After two months of training, the MISC KL went for a one-week camp in Kuala Selangor.
"In training and during friendlies, the players were just average. But after undergoing a one-week camp during the school holidays, I can see some positive changes which I hope to see during our first match (on Sunday) against Terengganu Juniors," said Nishel.
Nishel will be coaching a young side with four 14-year-olds, two 15-year-olds and 10 16-year-olds.
The pioneer MISC side did not do well last season, as out of the seven matches, they only won one and drew one.
But with a long-term development programme in mind, MISC have set higher goals to achieve in the next few years from these young players.
MISC-KL -- Goalkeepers: Kumara Guru, S. Ramanan, Sanjit Singh Randhawa.
Sharan Kumar, P. Roshan, S. Surenthar, P. Tanesh, Paul Chelladurai, T. Praveen, R. Phavineshmittra, P. Mithiran, Harroshan Singh Kuldip Singh, Harsuraj Singh Kuldip Singh, R. Kanesh, D. Vickneswaran, S. Shivaneishan, H. Kishorthanan, Danish Kumar, T. Perabu, S. Rishikumar, R. Thivagaran.
MISC-Penang -- Goalkeepers: Haamrid Kumar, K. Harishan.
B. Visnu, Chin Peng Hoong (Vinok), A. Muhkkesh Adrian, A. Gubenthiran, G. Mithiran, A. Arunan, Thullsisyamanath, N. Mugeash, M. Vassudevaan, S. Thanesh, V. Veeran, S. Tharushan, M. Nilavarasan a/l Mahendran, Angad Singh Khalsa, Gobind Singh Khalsa, B. Yuvvaraj, Jasraj Singh Sarwan Singh, Satvinder Singh Naranjan Singh.
FRIDAY: Division One: UniKL Young Guns v BJSS Juniors (KLHA, 6pm).
DIVISION TWO: Group A -- MSSP Stinger v MSS Kedah (Kuala Perlis, 5pm), MSSC-UFL Penang v MSSPP-USM (Sungai Petani, 5pm), USM Juniors v MSN Young Lions (USM, 6pm); Group C: Johor Baru HA v Datuk Taha (Taman Daya, 5pm).
GIRLS' -- Group A: MSN Kedah v Sabah SS (Lela Pahlawan, 5pm), USM Juniors v CBN (USM, 4pm).