Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tenaga thump Malaysia Sports School


TENAGA Nasional finally tasted the overall title glory when they edged
Malaysia Sports School 1-0 in the final of the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior
Hockey League at the National Hockey Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
The win also "unmasked the real champions" as Tenaga were sore after
losing the Division One title when Malaysia SS scored 12 goals against
Johor Sports Council in the final league match to edge them on a single
goal difference.
Tenaga vowed revenge, and it was sweet victory for them yesterday.
"We went in with a mission and I am happy that my boys unmasked the real
champions of the JHL by beating Malaysia SS in the final," said Tenaga
coach K. Rajan.
Being named as the Man-of-the Match justly rewarded Tenaga's Abbas
Nekmat, who clinched the winner in the 60th minute.
Both the teams played to instructions in the first half, and almost put
the 3,000-odd crowd to sleep as they sized up each other.
Tenaga Nasional made a concerted effort in the first five minutes, but
when they failed to get the early goal, the players started playing
Malaysia SS received three penalty corners but all went to waste, and
the same happened to Tenaga's solitary penalty corner in the first half.
The second half saw better hockey in midfield, but the forwards still
could not break the deadlock and by the 50th minute, the possibility of
penalty strokes to decide the champions loomed large.
Tenaga's Abbas Nekmat had the best chance to clinch the match for his
team, but his 55th minute thundering shot hit the crossbar and bounced
Tenaga had a slight advantage in the second half as two Malaysia SS
players were sent to the sin-bin, one after another, but still, they could
not make use of the numbers.
First Malaysia SS's Che Mohamed Nasal was sent out, and when he was
called in, Amerullah Aziz was sent to the sin-bin but the sports
schoolboys played their hearts out and denied Tenaga.
But the tempo changed in the 60th minute when Abbas Nekmat tapped in a
soft goal after receiving a pass from S. Selvaraju, but Malaysia SS
players claimed the shot was dangerous and that the goal should have been
The Malaysia SS players crowded umpire S. Sagayanathan and there was
some pushing and shoving until Malaysia SS goalkeeper-cum skipper Ahmad
Bazli Razali pushed them away and fought his case alone.
Sagayanathan then consulted second umpire Ravinderpal Singh and blew for
goal again.
With 10 minutes remaining in the match Malaysia SS became desperate and
opened up the game. There was plenty of attacking, but Malaysia SS
forwards, especially their ace Tengku Ahmad Tajudin, were guilty of over-
Tenaga allowed Malaysia SS to be in the match by playing an open game,
and there were many heart-stopping moments for the Tenaga fans and
officials on the bench.
So when the final horn blew, there was plenty of wild celebrations on
the Tenaga bench.
ROLL OF HONOUR - Fairplay Award: Johor Sports Council (RM3,000), Top
Goal Scorer Div One (RM200): S. Selvaraju and Saiful Amri Idris
Terengganu) - 10 goals each, Top Goal Scorer Div Two (RM200): Ahmad Anuar
Sham Kamar (Malacca MC), S. Mahendran (Malay Mail), Baljit Singh (Sports
School Juniors) - all scored 13 goals each; Best Goalkeeper (RM200):
Khairul Nizam Ibrahim (Telekom Pahang); Best Player of Tournament (RM200):
S. Selvaraju (Tenaga Nasional); Man-of-the-Match (RM200): Abbas Nekmat
(Tenaga); League Champions - Overall Champions (RM25,000): Tenaga
Nasional, Runners-up (RM15,000): Malaysia Sports School, Div One: Malaysia
Sports School (RM10,000), Div Two: Malacca Municipal Council RM10,000.

Anderson stun Telekom


SCHOOLBOYS Anderson Xybase reached a milestone yesterday when they edged
Telekom Pahang 2-1 to finish third and bag RM10,000 in the MHF-Milo-
Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League.
In the Girls' JHL, debutants Pahang Sports Council beat Batu Pahat
Municipal Council 1-0 to clinch third spot which comes with a RM2,000
Telekom Pahang swamped the Anderson semi-circle in the first half, but
failed to score as Anderson defender Baljit Singh was in solid form.
But just as the half-time horn sounded, Anderson were awarded a penalty
corner which was tucked away by Razali Zulkipli.
With the advantage, the schoolboys grew in confidence and got their
second goal in the 41st minute when Mohamed Noor Khairul sneaked in a
Jolted, Telekom Pahang woke up from their slumber but their 67th minute
goal by Norhisham Shaari was too little too late.
Anderson's Baljit and goalkeeper Noorazlan Daud were the `players of the
match' as they frustrated the skilful Pahang strikers.
Baljit kept a tight rein on Pahang marksman Al-fadhir Kassim and his
team-mates had very little to worry about.
Anderson coach Mokhtar Baharudin was smiling from ear-to-ear after the
match, and said his players will be rewarded handsomely.
"I still do not know how much from the RM10,000 the boys will receive
but for sure, we will request that they be handed the medals again during
the school assembly so that their schoolmates can share in their joy,"
said Mokhtar.
In the girls' third-fourth play-off, Pahang Sorts Council bettered their
target of finishing fourth in their debut when Siti Maizura scored a field
goal in the 28th minute.
Today's much awaited battle between Malaysia Sports School and Tenaga
Nasional will take place at the National Hockey Stadium, and hockey fans
are assured of fireworks as both sides have yet to clinch the Overall
title in the JHL.
Boys' third-fourth placing
ANDERSON XYBASE .......... 2
Razali Zulkipli 35th,
Mohamed Noor Khairul 41st
TELEKOM PAHANG ........... 1
Norhisham Shaari 67th Girls' third-fourth placing
Siti Maizura 28th
BATU PAHAT MC ............ 0

Tenaga to unmask the real champs


TENAGA Nasional coach K. Rajan's wish of meeting Malaysia Sports School in
the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League final has been granted. Now
he gets his chance to prove which team are the `real champions'.
Tenaga were deprived of the JHL Division One title when Malaysia SS
scored the right number of goals, 12, against Johor Sports Council, and
Rajan wished loudly "I hope we meet them in the final to prove who the
real champions are."
Malaysia SS scored their 12th goal with 10 more minutes in the match and
the Tenaga entourage walked out of the Tun Razak Stadium bitterly
Rajan has vowed to put matters right in the final. His boys produced one
of their best performances to subdue a spirited Telekom Pahang 2-1 in the
semi-finals second leg in Kuantan after being held to a scoreless draw in
Kuala Lumpur. TNB were written off.
In tomorrow's final, Tenaga will walk onto the pitch with speedy
forwards S. Selvaraju and Abbas Nekmat, who have 18 goals between them.
With the fast improving Kelvinder Singh to assist them, Malaysia SS are
expected to face the test of their lives.
Kelvinder failed to impress in the January Under-19 Four-Nation, but the
gruelling JHL schedule has made him a much more matured player. His deft
touches are a delight to watch, and he has the knack of being at the right
place at the right time.
Selvaraju has also come a long way since he was flashed the red card
last season for throwing his hockey stick at the technical desk. Now,
everytime he gets agitated or angry, he walks to the bench and asks coach
Rajan to be rested for a few minutes.
Tenaga have all the ingrediants to lift their first overall JHL title
since its inception in 1995 - if their key players keep cool.
Tenaga: Palaniappan Karunandan (gk), Mohamed Fitri Abdul Aziz (gk),
Mawardi Samad, Mohamed Sari Jasmani, Syafiq Amir Kamarudin, Vijay Gopal
Krishnan, Bubalan Sandrakasi, Selvaraju Sandrakasi, Ibrahim Mohamed, Niki
Poon Tuck King, Mohamed Fairuz Hamsani, Chandramohan Balachandran, Abbas
Nekmat, Kelvinder Singh Makbul Singh, Eszreen Abdul Azis, Inderjit Singh
Pantlia, Mohamed Zulkhairie Faudzi, Azli Misron, Yunaeswaran Arjunan,
Paramasivam Panier Selvam.
TODAY (3rd-4th placing) - Boys: Anderson Xybase v Telekom Pahang
(5.30pm); Girls: Batu Pahat MC v Pahang Sports Council (3.30pm).
TOMORROW (final) - Boys: Malaysia Sports School v Tenaga Nasional
(5.30pm); Girls: Kuala Lumpur v Bukit Jalil Sports School (3.30pm).
Note: All matches at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

MSS hope history repeats itself


MALAYSIA Sports School have the distinction of having beaten Tenaga
Nasional three times over the past 12 months, but they know better than to
bank on dusty archives this Sunday at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit
Malaysia SS dented Tenaga's hopes when they beat them in both legs of
the JHL semi-finals last year. And in the opening encounter of the League
this season, Tenaga were humbled 2-1.
Coach Tai Beng Hai kept his feet firmly on the ground when he said it
will be an explosive affair, with little separating the two teams.
"We beat them in our first JHL match when Tenaga were still in the
process of team re-building, but their players have come a long way since
and my boys will have their hands full on Sunday," said Tai.
Tenaga team officials, as well as their ardent fans, thought their team
were in for a thrashing in the JHL when their hopefuls S. Selvaraju,
Kelvinder Singh, Abbas Nekmat and the rest of the 16 players displayed
pathetic form in their opening match against Malaysis SS.
But the boys grew in confidence with every match, and reached the final
in style.
Tenaga are swift in counter-attacks, and this is where Malaysia SS will
depend heavily on defender Mohamed Shamsul Abdul Aziz and goalkeeper Ahmad
Bazli Razali.
Ahmad Bazli saved two Tenaga penalty strokes in the semi-finals first
leg last year, and robbed Tenaga with a sterling display in the second. He
was also instrumental in helping his team beat Tenaga 2-1 in the League
this year.
Tai knew from the start that he could depend on Bazli, but he is
pleasently surprised with Shamsul's rising form.
"He has always been in the shadows but in this JHL, he has shown
maturity and can always be depended upon to keep a cool head."
The Malaysia SS player who will be heavily marked on Sunday is Tengku
Ahmad Tajuddin. The skilful striker has scored eight goals and helped
create many others to take Malaysia SS to final.
He scored the winner aganist Tenaga in the League encounter, and will be
the player to watch in the final.
"None of my players are carrying injuries and that is the only plus
point we have. I have not prepared anything special for the final because
I do not want to disrupt their pattern of play."
Malaysia SS are at their best when they play attacking hockey, and it
will be wise if they continue that style instead of adopting a defensive
strategy againt a highly charged Tenaga.
Malaysia Sports School: Ahmad Bazli Razali (gk), Zaidi Zainuddin, S.
Yogeswaran, Mohamed Shamsul Abdul Azis, Mohamed Nor Affazly Abdul Ghafar,
Mohamed Fikri Bassar, Mohamed Fauzi Abdul Rahim, Mohamed Shukri Abdul
Mutalib, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Mohamed Amerullah Abdul Aziz, Mohamed Noor
Wahi Ismail, Zainur Lizam zainal, Hafriz Aliff Mohamed Zaid, Mohamed Al-
Qawi Haqq, Amir Hamzah Ahmad, Che Mohamed Nasai Ramli (gk), V.
Suntharesan, Ahmad Lutfi Hamsi, Nor Azlan Mohamed Din.
Team manager: Suhaimi Sun Abdullah; Coach: Tai Beng Hai.

Aleef's strike wins it for St John's


ST JOHN'S Institution pipped SMK Vivekananda to the Under-18 Kuala Lumpur
Schools Sports Council hockey title when Aleef Kamarulzaman scored a
sudden-death goal at the KLHA Stadium in Jalan Pantai yesterday.
It was sweet victory for St John's coaches Kamarulzaman Mohamed and
Mohamed Noor Hashim when they finally tasted victory after four years with
the team.
Mohamed Noor, a retiree, and Kamarulzaman, an employee with Maybank,
have been voluntarily coaching the St John's and Convent Bukit Nanas (CBN)
teams because they have `vested interests'.
Kamarulzaman's son scored the winning goal for St John's while Mohamed
Noor's son, Mohamed Firdaus, was a pillar of the team.
And, for a brief moment, it looked like the coaches were in for a double
as CBN's game against SMK Sungai Besi went into sudden-death penalty
strokes. SMK Sungai Besi won 3-2 on penalties after the final ended 1-1.
"We did not have any hockey background when we started four years ago, but
picked up the sport over the years because our sons were interested in
it," said Mohamed Noor.
Both of them do not have coaching certificates, but after four years of
trial-and-error, their boys won gold, while the girls silver.
In the Girls' Under-15 final, Project School SMK Bandar Tasik Selatan
beat SMK Setapak Indah 4-3 and coach R. Vivekanandan feels his girls are
ready for the Under-18 challenge next year.
"All my girls are in Form One this year but they have mastered the
basics and it will be fruitless for them to play in the Under-15 next
"I will be taking a big risk by fielding Form Two girls in the Under-18
competition next year, but that is the only way to expose them," said
Vivekanandan, who is also the coach for the Kuala Lumpur girls in the
Women's Junior Hockey League, started training the Bandar Tasik Selatan
girls a year ago and it has already paid dividends.
Results - Boys' Under-18: St John's Institution 1 SMK Vivekananda 0.
Under-15: SMK Setapak High 4 SM Sains Selangor 0.
Girls' Under-18: SMK Sungai Besi 1 SMK Convent Bukit Nanas 1 - Sungai
Besi win 3-2 on sudden-death penalties.
Under-15: SMK Bandar Tasik Selatan 4 SMK Setapak Indah 3.

BSN get Imran for MHL


MALAYSIA Hockey League (MHL) defending overall champions Bank Simpanan
Nasional have managed to secure Pakistan junior Imran Warsi for the
challenge starting on June 5 - but they are still smarting from a player
BSN won an unprecedented third consecutive title last year when they
beat Anderson Sports Club 1-0, but might struggle this year.
Pakistan's Sohail Abbas and Kashif Jawad, who helped them lift the title
last year, could not be signed this year as they are on national duty. But
BSN coach C. Paramalingam pursued the Pakistan officials relentlessly and,
reluctantly, they agreed to part ways with Imran.
"Pakistan have a busy schedule this year in their run-up to the
Champions Trophy and they were not willing to release their top players to
play in the MHL. But I kept up the correspondence and finally, they agreed
to spare Imran who is a budding junior," said Paramalingam.
Imran is a penalty corner flicker who plays for the National Bank of
Pakistan as a left back, but Paramalingam is planning to utilise him in
midfield. He played in the Four-Nation International Under-19 Invitational
Hockey Tournament at Bukit Jalil in January and emerged joint top-scorer
with team-mate Mahmood Ali on five goals.
After stalwarts Lee Sien Lam, Roslan Jamaluddin, Amin Rahim, P.
Prabahkaran and Jivan Moham left BSN, Paramalingam was left with a diluted
side and they will be playing as underdogs this year.
"No doubt, we will be the underdogs this year, but I have secured 20
`big hearts' who have given their best in training. Only Megat Azrafiq (in
Europe with the national team) and Imran are not with us yet. Hopefully,
Imran will be down by next week after his visa is cleared," said
Dr Calvin Fernandez will be returning to hockey after completing his
studies and BSN will place him in midfield with old hand I. Vickneswaran,
and Redzuan Ponirin.
For strikers, BSN have secured Rodhanizam Radzi, Faizal Daud, Muazam
Mahmud and Robert Alcantara.
And in Roslan's spot between the posts, Paramalingam will depend on his
second choice last year - Firdaus Razali.
"I was toying with the idea of getting a goalkeeper from the Bukit Jalil
Sports School, but I have decided on Firdaus because it will be too risky
to try and expose a goalkeeper in the MHL," said Paramalingam.
Meanwhile, Johor Baru Municipal Council and Pahang Sports Council paid
their MHL entry fee yesterday, making it an 11-team league. MHF are still
waiting for Ipoh City Hall to complete the cast.
Five teams - Tenaga Nasional, Sapura, Customs Kuala Lumpur, Srii Aroma
PISC and Johor Baru - have yet to submit their team lists.

MHF(WS) rejects Batu Pahat MC protest


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (WS) has rejectd the protest lodged by
Batu Pahat Municipal Council on poor umpiring during their MHF(WS)-Milo-
Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League match against SMK Raja Perempuan of Ipoh
on Sunday.
Batu Pahat, who lost 2-1 and with it their spot in the final, had
claimed that since both umpires were from Perak, they (Batu Pahat) were at
a disadvantage.
Batu Pahat needed a win to pip Bukit Jalil Sports School to the final.
MHF(WS) secretary Dr S. Shamala said yesterday that Batu Pahat had no
grounds to claim that the umpires were biased.
"It is true that we have been utilising home-ground umpires for all our
matches but this only because of financial constraints and we also want to
expose more umpires to the JHL. There were minor protests at some matches,
but most went smoothly except for the Batu Pahat-Raja Perempuan encounter.
"Batu Pahat did request for neutral umpires, but we did not entertain
their request because it would be unfair to the other teams in the JHL if
we did give them special treatment.
"Although the protest has been thrown out and the score stands, we will
hold an inquiry on the alledged threatening incident," said Shamala.
Batu Pahat captain Raihana Hazali alledged that she was threatened by
the match umpire during a heated protest after Raja Perempuan scored their
second goal.
Fixtures: Saturday - 3rd-4th placing: Batu Pahat MC v Pahang Sports
Council (3.30pm).
Sunday - Final: Kuala Lumpur v Bukit Jalil Sports School (3.30pm).
Note: Both Matches at the National Hockey Stadium, Bukit Jalil.

No clear favourites


THERE were no clear favourites in the semi-finals first leg matches of the
MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League played at two venues in Kuala
Lumpur yesterday.
Malaysia Sports School struggled to edge Anderson XYbase 3-2 at the Tun
Razak Stadium, while Tenaga and Telekom Pahang played to a goalless draw
at the KLHA Stadium in Jalan Pantai.
Tenaga played one of their worst matches yesterday even though Telekom
Pahang were forced to utilise eight of their players for the entire 70
minutes because they did not have enough substitutes.
B. Raj Kumar, AWOL for three days, made a surprise return and Telekom
Pahang coach Izwan Suhardi used him to the maximum.
Tenaga were pinned in their half as Telekom Pahang used long balls to
rip their midfield but the lone figure of Al-Fadhir Kassim became
increasingly frustrated as Tenaga goalkeeper Fitri Aziz brought out some
sterling saves even though his defenders were caught flat-footed on
numerous occasions.
Tenaga goal-getters Kelvinder Singh, S. Selvaraju and Abbas Nekmat did
nothing right in the semi-circle, and the handful of chances they did
manage to get off always found Telekom goalkeeper Kairulnizam Ibrahim in
his element.
As the match progressed, it was getting evident that Telekom Pahang
would achieve their target of keeping a clean slate and go for the kill in
the second leg.
At the Tun Razak Stadium, Malaysia Sports School scored two early goals
but failed to beat schoolboys Anderson XYbase.
Malaysia SS scored in the second minute off a Nor Affazly Ghafar penalty
corner and by the 11th minute, they were two-up via a field goal from
Amerullah Aziz.
But Anderson were not broken and Baljit Singh took his team to level
terms when he fired home two penalty corner goals in the 18th and 25th
Anderson XYbase took control of the match but gave away the third goal
when umpire Paramjit Singh changed his mind.
Paramjit first awarded a free hit to Anderson, but when he felt that
Baljit was wasting time, awarded Malaysia SS a penalty corner which was
converted by Nor Affazly.
Anderson XYbase coach Mokhtar Baharuddin said the one-goal defecit was a
minor hic-cup for his boys.
"We have won half the battle by only giving away one goal in the first
leg. Playing at the Azlan Shah Stadium, in front of our own fans, I know
that my boys can make the first final after playing in the JHL for eight
seasons," said Mokhtar.
Tomorrow - S-finals 2nd leg: Anderson XYbase v Malaysia Sports School
(Azlan Shah Stadium, 5.15pm); Telekom Pahang v Tenaga Nasional (Kuantan
Stadium, 5.15pm). SEMI-FINALS 1ST LEG
MALAYSIA SS.............3 ANDERSON.............2
TENAGA..................0 T'KOM PAHANG.........0

Telekom short of players for semis


OVERALL defending champions Telekom Pahang started the season with only 16
players and still managed to reach the semi-finals of the MHF-Milo-
Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League.
But they suffered a double blow recently which could put their title
defence in jeopardy.
Playmaker Zulkifli Abdullah has picked up demerit points and is out of
the semi-finals, while B. Raj Kumar cannot be contacted which leaves
Telekom Pahang with only 14 players for the semi-finals against Tenaga
Nasional today.
"We could only register 16 players because four of our key players
received national call-ups and were barred from the JHL. But my players
still gave their best and we reached the semi-finals," said Pahang Telekom
coach Izwan Suhardi.
"But now I am in limbo because Zulkifli is suspended while Raj Kumar
opted out three matches ago saying that he had to concentrate on his
studies and we can't get in touch with him."
But Izwan has not given up hope on Raj Kumar, who is from Ipoh, because
not only is his team depleted, but three of his key players are carrying
"Zulkifli Rejab, Zarit Zainal and Norhisham Shaari are all injured and
need to be rested periodically. That is why the presence of Raj Kumar can
help matters a little," said Izwan.
Earlier in the League, Pahang and Tenaga drew 1-1 at the Kuantan
Stadium, and now that the first leg will be held at Tenaga's den, Izwan is
naturally worried.
"Although we are the defending champions, I feel that we will be going
in as the underdogs against Tenaga because they have very swift forwards
in Abbas (Nekmat), (S.) Selvaraju and Kelvinder (Singh). The trio are very
dangerous in counter-attacks, and that is why I will not open up too much
like we did against Terengganu in the first leg of the quarter-finals,"
said Izwan.

MHF to wait for NSC on candidates


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) Coaching Committee interviewed three
candidates for the post of juniors' coach yesterday, but the name of the
successful candidate will only be announced in a week.
Sarjit Singh, Arul Selvaraj and Tai Beng Hai have been attached to
national chief coach Paul Lissek for the past four months, and the
Coaching Committee will select one among the three to coach the juniors.
Coaching chairman Datuk R. Yogeswaran said they still have a few things
to iron out with the National Sports Council before releasing the name of
the appointed candidate.
"All three of them attended the interview today (yesterday) but we
cannot release the name of the successful candidate as NSC (the
paymasters) have to be briefed first," said Yogeswaran.
Tai Beng Hai and Arul are currently attached to the Bukit Jalil Sports
School and if either one is selected, NSC should have no problem absorbing
the coach. But if Sarjit is selected, NSC will have to come out with a
win-win situation for the former national skipper.
Arul and Sarjit will leave for a 20-day tour of Europe starting on
Friday to gain more on-the-job experience under Lissek. Tai was left out
because he accompanied the national team to Australia recently.
The Coaching Committe, as yet, has no plans for the two unsuccessful
candidates but it is reliably learnt that they will be absorbed into other
positions as it would be a waste to let them go after being under Lissek
for months.
Yogeswaran also said that more coaches will undergo the attachment
programme which will be re-packaged as the `national apprenticeship
"From the feedback we have received, we have decided to continue the
programme under `national apprenticeship programme'. More coaches will be
placed under Lissek to nurture a bigger pool," said Yogeswaran.
The Coaching Committee was also briefed by Poon Fook Loke, the MHF
special projects manager, on the stagnation of the Junior Hockey League
"Poon felt that the JHL coaches need a refresher course but the JHL is
coming to its last stages and we can't do much about it now. But for the
Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) we will hold a seminar for coaches before the
start and they can pick up a point or two from Lissek.
"Maybe we can also call some of the JHL coaches, depending on
availability, during the same period," added Yogeswaran.

Woeful Tenaga power on


TENAGA Nasional played one of their worst matches in the second leg of the
quarter-finals but still managed to beat Malacca Municipal Council to seal
a semi-final berth of the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League
Tenaga went in with a comfortable 3-0 cushion and even took a 2-0 lead
before the players crumbled and alowed Malacca MC to equalise.
Tenaga will now meet Telekom Pahang in a mouth-watering semi-final.
At the Kuala Terengganu Stadium, Telekom Pahang beat Terengganu Schools
Sports Council 1-0 to advance 7-4 aggregate.
"We have played 11 matches so far in the JHL, and this was our worst
performance. We scored two early goals, but rain interrupted the match for
25 minutes and after the restart, the boys just forgot how to play
hockey," said Tenaga coach K. Rajan.
Rajan has made it clear that his players are out to prove a point by
reaching the final, and hopefully meet Malaysia Sports School to decide
who the real champions are.
Tenaga were pipped to the Division One title by Malaysia SS on a one
goal difference, and the electrical company are still smarting from the
"We still have the upper hand against Telekom Pahang because we will be
playing at home first. We will go for a comfortable cushion, like we did
against Malacca, and then go for a win at the Kuantan Stadium," said
The Tenaga goals were scored by Fairuz Hamsani (sixth) and Eszreen Abdul
Azis (36th). Malacca came back into the game with goals from Nor Ikram
Sulaiman (39th) and Nor Hamezi Omar (44th) but it was too late to salvage
At the Kuala Terengganu Stadium, Telekom only needed to sit back and
enjoy the match because they had a 6-4 cushion. The Telekom goal yesterday
was scored by Redza Maadun in the 11th minute.
But Telekom, who only registered 16 players for the JHL, were dealt a
severe blow as Zulkifli Abdullah will sit out the first leg of the semi-
final for picking up demerit points.
S-final fixtures - 1st leg (Friday): Tenaga Nasional v Telekom Pahang
(KLHA Stadium, 5.15), Malaysia Sports School v Anderson XYbase (Tun Razak
Stadium, 5.15)
Sunday - return leg: Telekom Pahang v Tenaga Nasional (Kuantan Stadium,
5.15), Anderson XYbase v Malaysia Sports School (Azlan Shah Stadium,
5.15). Q-FINALS - 2ND LEG
Malacca Municipal Council ........2
Tenaga Nasional ..................2
(Tenaga win 5-2 on agg) Terengganu SSC ..................0
Telekom Pahang ..................1
(Telekom Pahang win 7-4 on agg) Anderson Xybase ..................0
Petaling Jaya MC ................0
(Anderson win 3-1 on agg) Sports School Juniors ............1
Malaysia Sports School ..........1
(Malaysia SS win 5-2 on agg)

Terengganu can upset Telekom


TERENGGANU Schools Sports Council are unbeaten at home, and this spells
trouble for Telekom Pahang in the second leg quarter-finals of the MHF-
Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League today.
In the first leg at the Kuantan Stadium on Friday, Terengganu SSC held
on to hope when they scored four goals against Pahang's six. Today, with
backing from their die-hard fans, Terengganu SSC might cause the biggest
upset in the JHL.
In the League, Terengganu SSC beat Pahang 2-1 at home and this could
boost their confidence - but they need to keep a cool head.
The first leg was marred by a pitch invasion incident caused by a near
free-for-all which stopped the match for eight minutes and today's match
is expected to be as robust.
Terengganu SSC hat-trick hero Saiful Amri Mohamed had to be pulled out
by team manager Mohamed Saberi on Friday and he has to keep his head if he
wants to take his team to the semi-finals.
After the first leg, it looks like three of the semi-final tickets have
already been booked. Tenaga Nasional, Anderson-XYbase and Malaysia Sports
School all have comfortable cushions and will be hard to upset.
Tenaga coach K. Rajan has made it clear that there is no way they will
allow Malacca Municipal Council to win by a 4-0 margin.
"Malacca have no choice but to come out attacking for four goals, and
that is when we plan to hit them for more goals and secure the semi-
finals," said Rajan.
Malacca were riding high in Division Two against weaker teams, and
looked shell-shocked playing Tenaga.
Anderson XYbase lost influential striker Fazreen Eksan Kulub to a yellow
card in the first leg, but coach Mokhtar Baharuddin is not worried.
Fazreen scored twice against Petaling Jaya Municipal Council on Friday
to bring his tally to eight and is now the second highest scorer.
"The boys played very well on Friday and got all three goals in the
first 15 minutes. Now we have a good advantage as we will be playing at
home and even without Fazreen, we have back-up players to get the goals,"
said Mokhtar.
Fixtures: Q-finals, 2nd leg - today: Sports School Juniors (1) v
Malaysia Sports School (4) (Tun Razak Stadium, 5.15), Malacca Municipal
Council (0) v Tenaga Nasional Bhd (3) (Bukit Serindit Stadium, 5.15),
Terengganu Schools Sports Council (4) v Telekom Pahang (6) (Kuala
Terengganu Stadium, 5.15), Anderson Xybase (3) v Petaling Jaya Municipal
Council (1) (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5.15).
Note: First leg scores in parenthesis.

Tenaga power into last four


TENAGA Nasional placed a solid foot into the semi-finals when they beat
Malacca Municipal Council 3-0 in the first leg quarter-finals of the MHF-
Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League at the Kuala Lumpur HA Stadium
At the Tun Razak Stadium, Malaysia Sports School also assured themselves
of a semi-finals berth when they beat Sports School Juniors 4-1.
But at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium, Telekom Pahang fought tooth-and-nail
to score six goals, but Terengganu Schools Sports Council managed to pull
back four and the return leg is still an open affair.
At the National Hockey Stadium, Anderson XYbase beat Petaling Jaya
Municipal Council 3-1 and the return leg tomorrow at the Azlan Shah
Stadium wil surely belong to the schoolboys.
Tenaga played one of their best matches and pinned Malacca MC in the 25-
yard-line in the first half but were unlucky to have only scored one goal.
Tenaga won their first penalty corner in the 22nd minute, and S. Selvaraju
hit the ball to the right side for Abbas Nekmat to deflect in.
Malacca played better in the second half, but in their quest to get the
equaliser, they left the defence wide open.
Tenaga skipepr Fairuz Hamsani broke free from a Malacca attack and
rushed to the other end of the pitch and won a penalty corner in the 45th
Selvaraju slammed in a rebound and Tenaga players became more confident
of themselves.
Malacca MC never let up the pressure and practically camped in the
Tenaga semicircle in the remaining minutes of the match but goalkeeper
Fitri Aziz was in sterling form and refused to be beaten.
In the dying seconds of the match, Malacca MC lost the ball in the
Tenaga semi-circle and Kelvinder Singh and Fairuz mounted a swift counter-
attack. Their one-two took them into the semicircle, and the last touch
for a healthy 3-0 cushion belonged to Kelvinder.
At Kuantan, the Telekom Pahang goals were scored by Zarit Zainal (8th,
65th), Zulkifli Rejab (12th), Redza Maadun (24th), Al-Fadhir Kassim
(51st), and Izwan Hassan (60th). The Terenggnu SSC hat-trick hero was
Saiful Amri Mohamed (10th, 62nd, 64th) while the other goal was slotted in
by Arif Omar to keep them in the running.
At Tun Razak, the Malaysia Sports School goals were scored by Nor
Affazly Ghaffar (fifth, 55th), Amerulah Abdul Aziz (11th) and V.
Suntharesan (57th). The Sports School Juniors' goal was scored by Razie
Rahim in the 69th minute.
At the National Stadium, the Anderson XYbase goals were scored by
Fazreen Eksan Kulub (fifth, 14th) and Hafifihafiz Hanafi (10th). PJMC
puled one back when Shahrul Nizam scored a field goal in the seventh
FIXTURES - Q-finals 2nd leg, Tomorrow: Sports School Juniors v Malaysia
Sports School (Tun Razak Stadium, 5.15), Malacca Municipal Council v
Tenaga Nasional Bhd (Bukit Serindit Stadium, 5.15), Terengganu Schools
Sports Council v Telekom Pahang (Kuala Terengganu Stadium, 5.15), Anderson
Xybase v Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5.15). RESULTS
Quarter-finals (1st leg)
Malaysia SS.......4 SS Juniors......1
Tenaga............3 M'cca MC........0
T'kom Pahang......6 T'ganu SSC......4
Anderson..........3 PJMC............1

Explosive and tight affairs


THE first leg quarter-finals of the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC today promises to
be an explosive affair, as there are no clear favourites among the eight
Malaysia Sports School are the only team who have a slight advantage
over their younger brothers Sports School Juniors, while the rest of the
matches will be touch-and-go.
Telekom Pahang were beaten 2-1 by Terengganu Schools Sports Council
while Anderson Xybase beat Petaling Jaya Municipal Council also by the
same margin - indicating that very little separates them.
Tenaga and Malacca Municipal Council have yet to meet because Malacca MC
played in Division Two, and it looks like the match of the day.
Tenaga have a slight advantage as they played tougher matches in
Division One, while Malacca MC were pitted against weaker teams in the
But Malacca MC have six goalgetters in Ahmad Anuar Sham Kamar (10
goals), Nor Ikram Sulaiman (10), Nazmi Kamarudin (9), Mohamed Azmir Roslan
(8), Mohamed Faizal Bakar 7 and Mohamed Syakir Hamzah 6.
All six had a gala time sharpening their scoring skills in Division Two
and this is what Tenaga coach K. Rajan is afraid off, what more with his
playmaker Azli Misron benched because he fractured his index finger in the
last League match against Srii Aroma PISC.
Telekom Pahang, the defending overall champions, played with only 16
players in the entire League because four of their players, who received
national call-ups, were barred from the JHL. But still, they finished
third in Division One with 20 points.
Pahang coach Izwan Suhardi was as shocked as the entire hockey
fraternity when his boys lost 2-1 to Terengganu SSC in the League, but he
received a second chance to redeem some pride and the match in Kuantan
today heavily favours the home side.
Anderson Xybase are the revelation of the JHL because they fielded 16-
year-olds and other than the first match hiccup against Old La Sallians
Association of Klang, where they lost 1-0, the boys played above
Baljit Singh holds the trump card for Sports School Juniors in their
quest to topple their bigger brothers Malaysia SS.
Baljit emerged the top scorer of the League with 12 penalty corner goals
and one field goal. The lad, solidly built for a 16-year-old, has a
powerfull hit and an eye for placing the ball in between onrushing
Both the sports schools train together and have the same system of play.
It will be interesting to see how coaches V. Muraleedharan (juniors) and
Tai Beng Hai plan the quarter-finals.

Poon: No exciting talent spotted


THE MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League has reached the quarter-
finals stage, but sadly, Malaysian Hockey Federation Special Projects
Manager Poon Fook Loke will submit a gloomy report to the parent body.
Poon was at almost all JHL venues, but did not spot any new and exciting
talents. Even worse, he discovered the form of established players had
dropped tremendously.
"I am very sad to say that I could not find any new and exciting talents
in the JHL this season. I am very concerned with the trend, especially the
drop in form of established players.
"I will submit a report to the MHF and the matter should be pursued by
the various committees to find out the root cause of the slide in junior
talent," said Poon.
Poon, a sterling player in his heydays, also found out that the JHL
coaches have reached a stagnant stage, and need urgent help.
"The JHL coaches are using the same training and warm-up methods without
trying out new techniques to get the best out of their players. They
should be more adventurous and try something new to get the attention of
their players and make them better," said Poon.
Johor Sports Council, which is made up of players from the Bandar
Penawar Sports School, was among the teams which did not have a single
player worth a national call-up.
"The Bandar Penawar Sports Schools boys were very disappointing and I
could not find anything exciting about the way they played. But if I
really dig deep, Malacca Municipal Council has two players who can be
nurtured further," said Poon.
He was talking about Nor Ikram Sulaiman and Ahmad Anuar Sham Kamal.
"Ikram and Anuar have shown that they have sound basics and with proper
guidance, they can become better players. Tenaga Nasional's S. Selvaraju
stood out among the more established players as he has managed to control
his short temper and channel it to play good hockey instead," said Poon.
Selvaraju played for Malaysia Sports School last season but was thrown
out after he received a red card for throwing the stick at the technical
desk during a match.
But now, under Tenaga coach K. Rajan, he has turned out to be a quality
player and helped Tenaga finish second in Division One. Some of the
national selectors had given up on him last year, but now, he has given
them reason for a re-think.
S. Mahendran of Malay Mail has also caught the eye of Poon: "He is a
good goalgetter and has the ability to get out of sticky situations."
Poon will be selecting 25 JHL players for a training stint on May 12-20.
"I will be recalling mostly the project squad players as no new talent has
impresed me enough. The selection will be done after MHF name the players
for the European stint," said Poon.

Rajan: We'll prove a point to MSS


TENAGA Nasional Bhd declared yesterday that they don't fear Malacca
Municipal Council, and will be on a double mission in the first leg
quarter-final of the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League at the
Kuala Lumpur HA Stadium on Friday.
Tenaga coach K. Rajan (pic below) said his boys have overcome the
`victim of circumstantial' disaster last weekend when they were pipped to
the Division One title by Malaysia Sports School.
And now, they hope to meet Malaysia SS in the final to decide who is the
better team.
"The boys have overcome last weekend's shock (when Malaysia SS scored
the right number of goals in their 12-0 rout of Johor Sports Council to
become the Division One champions) and we are looking forward to meeting
Malaysia SS in the final to prove who the real champions are," said Rajan.
"My boys are eager to enter the final and meet Malaysia SS to prove a
point. Last weekend's heartbreak has turned into the right tonic to lift
their game in the last eight challenge."
Rajan feels the only advantage Malacca MC have is their forwards have
had plenty of chances to sharpen their scoring skills.
"Malacca MC forwards scored 79 goals in 11 matches and that is good
practice. But on the other hand, their defenders were hardly tested
because they played weaker teams in Division Two," said Rajan.
The toughest hurdle for Malacca MC in Division Two were the Sports
School Juniors, and the match exposed chinks in their defence when they
were held to a 2-2 draw.
Tenaga have the advantage of playing tougher matches in Division One,
and that could be the deciding factor in their plan to reach the final.
"We played a friendly against Maybank yesterday (Monday) and the boys
showed that they are not disheartened because they were pipped to the
League title. I am sure they will give their best in the first leg at
their own turf so that we have a healthy cushion in the return leg in
Malacca," said Rajan.
Malacca MC coach Eugene Lee had planned to meet Malaysia SS in the
quarters, and now he will have to redraw his strategy.
"I seriously thought that Johor SC will give Malaysia SS a tough fight
and not allow tham to score 12 goals. My plans went up in smoke, and now I
am psyching my players to meet Tenaga instead," said Lee.
Lee declared that his two-prong target is stil intact.
"At the start of the JHL, I said that Malacca MC will lift the Division
Two title and then go for the Overall title.
"I have reached one and the second target is still within sight. I am
confident that my players have enough firepower to lift the overall title
as well," said Lee.
Fixtures: Quarter-finals 1st leg - Friday: Malaysia Sports School v
Sports School Juniors (Tun Razak Stadium, 5.15pm); Tenaga Nasional Bhd v
Malacca Municipal Council (KLHA Hockey Stadium, 5.15pm); Telekom Pahang v
Terengganu Schools Sports Council (Kuantan Stadium, 5.15pm); Petaling Jaya
Municipal Council v Anderson Xybase (National Hockey Stadium, 5.15pm).

Malaysia Sports School thrash Johor SC for title


MALAYSIA Sports School needed 12 goals to pip Tenaga Nasional to the
Division One title, and they did just that after pulling off a miracle of
sorts against Johor Sports Council at the Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala
Lumpur yesterday.
Malaysia SS lifted their first JHL title after making their debut in
1997, and the boys jumped with joy after the horn blew.
Johor SC, made up of the Bandar Penawar Sports School boys, showed
yesterday that they do not know how to play hockey. They did not even have
the basics needed to play the game and were relegated to Division Two.
The situation needs to be addressed urgently, because these are the boys
who might don Malaysian colours in the future and the nation might be in a
fix when this happens.
Tenaga and Malaysia SS ended the JHL fixtures tied on 22 points and both
teams had scored 38 goals - however Malaysia SS conceded one goal less and
were RM10,000 richer.
Tenaga Nasional coach K. Rajan brought his boys to watch the match, but
right after Malaysia SS scored their 12th goal in the 57th minute, they
left the stadium looking dejected.
Johor SC, coached by BPSS teacher Lukman Sa'adon, played like novices
who did not know how to stop the ball, or even make a decent attempt at
The match was so one sided, that Johor SS failed to win a single penalty
corner, or make a single foray into the Malaysia SS semicircle.
Malaysia SS coach Tai Beng Hai was happy that his boys played to the
game plan.
"I told the boys not to make direct attempts at goal but use deflections
or make a pass when in the semi-circle. It worked wonders as we scored
three goals in the first five minutes and after that, if was easy to rake
in the goals," said Tai.
Malaysia SS meet Sports School Juniors in the quarter-finals - and
should have no problems reaching the semis.
Malaysia SS goals were scored by Noor Wahi Ismail (fourth, sixth, 44th,
57th), Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (fourth), Fikri Bassar (21st), Amerullah Aziz
(26th, 35th, 49th), Fauzi Rahman (38th), Amir Hamzah (46th) and Nor
Affazly (53rd).
* AT the Kuala Terengganu Stadium, Terengganu Schools Sports Council and
Anderson-XyBase, satisfied with their quarter-final berths secured
earlier, played to a 0-0 draw.
* AT the Seremban II Stadium, Telekom Pahang beat Yayasan Negri Sembilan
The Pahang goals were scored by Zulkifli Rejab (25th), Al-Fadhir Kassim
(37th) and Zulkifli Abdullah (59th). The YNS goal was scored by Azrizal
Aziman (35th).
Results - Div One: Malaysia SS 12 Johor SC 0, Terengganu SSC 0 Anderson-
Xybase 0, Yayasan NS 1 Telekom Pahang 3.
Quarter-final fixtures - April 25 (first leg): Malaysia Sports School v
Sports School Juniors; Tenaga Nasional v Malacca Municipal Council;
Telekom Pahang v Terengganu SSC; PJMC v Anderson-Xybase.

Fahmi steers Penang Free to thump AFATS


PENANG Free School hammered Armed Forces Apprentice Training School
(AFATS) 9-2 to bring down the curtains on the Division Two MHF-Milo-
Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League at the Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala Lumpur
With the win, Frees finished fourth in the standings in their maiden
appearance in the JHL.
The top two positions, which meant a quarter-final berth and promotion
to Division One, were already booked by Malacca Municipal Council and
Sports School Juniors last weekend.
The Frees top goal-getter yesterday was Mohamed Fahmi Zakariya who
scored in the 13th, 33rd, 36th and 38th minutes. The other Frees' scorers
were Jabir Rahman (48th, 50th), Hafeez Azfar (57th), Alif Ali (66th) and
Azrul Shah Ramli (69th).
AFATS, who ended their campaign without a single win, managed to score
two goals off Nazrul Arshad (third) and Ismail Shahrom (17th).
Malay Mail finished seventh when they beat Kuala Lumpur Schools Sports
Council 2-1 at the same venue. KLSSC drew first blood in the fourth minute
off a Faisal Kamaruddin field goal but Malay Mail fought back and their
hero was S. Mahendran who scored in the 38th and 59th minutes.
* At the Johor Baru Stadium, Synergy Hockey Club beat English College 3-
1. The Synergy goals were scored by Syafiq Abdullah (34th), Iswandi Andi
(53rd) and Aizyren Aziz (62nd). The English College goals were scored by
Norfadli Omar (20th) and Suhaimi Jabar (50th).
Today - Div One: Malaysia SS v Johor Sports Council (Tun Razak Stadium,
5.15pm), Terengganu SSC v Anderson-Xybase (Kuala Terengganu Stadium,
5.15pm), Yayasan NS v Telekom Pahang (Seremban II Stadium, 5.15pm).
Results - Div Two: AFATS 2 Penang Free School 9, Malay Mail 2 KL SSC 1,
English College 2 Synergy HC 3.

JSC hold trump card


BOTTOM-of-the-table Johor Sports Council (JSC) hold the trump card in
deciding the winner of the Division One title when the MHF-Milo-Admiral-
NSC Junior Hockey League concludes its preliminary fixtures this weekend.
But it is an unenviable position, and even JSC coach Lukman Sa'adon is
wondering how they have gotten themselves into such a position.
JSC take on Malaysia Sports School (MSS) tomorrow at the Tun Razak
Stadium, and if they pull off a miracle, and win, MSS will be denied a
podium finish in Division One, and Yayasan Negri Sembilan will be
relegated to Division Two.
MSS not only need a win, they also have to score 12 goals to pip Tenaga
Nasional Berhad (TNB) to the title, which is not an impossible feat
considering they represent the finest talent from the two sports schools
in the country - Bukit Jalil and Bandar Penawar.
"We have no chance of pulling off an upset, but I have told my boys to
go for goals and if we manage to score two and contain the MSS strikers,
it will be a big boost for our campaign next year," said Lukman.
Lukman will be banking on their opponents' over eagerness to score 12
goals to sneak in a few themselves.
"If we win, it will be the biggest upset in the League and instead of
us, YNS will be relegated. The stakes are very high on Sunday (tomorrow),
and I hope the boys put up a good fight," said Lukman.
Johor SC are in fact the Bandar Penawar Sports School in disguise, and
there is a fear that they might let MSS run riot to pip TNB.
"Many things have been said, but I have told my players to ignore the
rumours and play their normal game without fear-or-favour," said Lukman.
For the record, Malaysia SS have 19 points from eight matches. They have
scored 26 goals and let in eight.
Johor SC are second from the bottom with one win and one draw from eight
matches and have let in 29 goals.

SHA gets one blow after another


A day after Selangor Sikh Association (SSA) players were alleged to have
assaulted an umpire, the Selangor HA (SHA) Division One League received
another blow when Old La Sallians Association of Klang-MPK (Olak-MPK)
threathened to withdraw.
Olak, after playing seven matches, are pulling out because an
unqualified umpire has been umpiring in the League.
Olak play Synergy Hockey Club at the Pandamaran Hockey Stadium today but
Olak officials said that they will not be at the venue.
"I have sent the boys back to their respective States as we will not
play against Synergy tomorrow (today)," said an Olak official who declined
to be named.
As for the assault, umpire Hasbullah Rashid alleged he was assaulted
after the SHA Division One League match at the Pandamaran Hockey Stadium
on Tuesday, and the Selangor HA will hold a meeting on May 6 to deliberate
on the matter.
In his police report, Hasbullah alleged three SSA players pushed him to
the ground after they lost 2-1 to Selangor Indian Association.
He also claims to have been pushed to the ground and jabbed with hockey
sticks, a claim which SSA denies.
SHA secretary G. Tamilselvam yesterday said: "The technical Committee
will decide whether the case should be referred to the Disciplinary Board.
"There are many versions to the incident, so we will wait for the match
officials' report, and also talk to the umpire before deciding whether to
refer the case to the DB," said Tamilselvam.
"As for Olak's withdrawal, I have not received anything in writing from
them. But if they decide to pull out after playing seven matches, there is
avenue to take action against Olak," said Tamilselvam.
A SSA official who declined to be named, said the umpire was never
pushed to the ground.
"The players (Selangor Sikh Association) rushed to the umpire after the
match because we were unhappy with a penalty stroke awarded by Hasbullah,
which was dubious.
"We did crowd around him to ask for an explanation, but there was no
pushing or shoving.
"Maybe some of the players accidently bumped into him when we crowded
him, but for sure, Hasbullah did not fall on to the pitch and none of the
players jabbed him with hockey sticks," said the official.

Selangor Sikh Association players assault umpire


THREE Selangor Sikh Association players assaulted umpire Hasbullah Rashid
after they were beaten 2-1 by Selangor Indian Association in a Selangor
Hockey Association Division One League match at the Pandamaran Hockey
Stadium on Tuesday.
Hasbullah made a police report in Klang, stating that Kevinder Singh,
Rajinder Singh and Kavaljit Singh from the Selangor Sikh Association
assaulted him.
An official, who declined to be named, said that it was mentioned in the
police report that three players from the Selangor Sikh Association pushed
him (Hasbullah) to the ground and then poked his stomach with hockey
"The umpire was not injured in the incident, but made a police report
for safety reasons," said the official.
Selangor Sikh Association were leading 1-0 when Hasbullah flashed a
yellow card at a Selangor Sikh player and this got them riled up.
"I witnessed the entire episode. After the match, all the Selangor Sikh
Association players rushed the umpire and there was shoving and pushing.
"The police report has been sent to the Selangor HA and hopefully the
Disciplinary Board will take stern action against the guilty players,"
said the official.
Kavaljit Singh was flashed a red card in the first league match against
Synergy Hockey Club, and it is alleged that he was the player who poked
the umpires' stomach with a hockey stick.

MHF set May 15 for India to confirm entry


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) has given India until May 15 to
confirm their entry for the 2004 Azlan Shah Cup, failing which, England
will take their place.
India pulled out of the 12th Edition in Ipoh last month at the eleventh
hour protesting the Malaysian police treatment of their IT personnel. MHF,
instead of slamming the door on them for their behaviour, has decided to
give them more than what other teams were given.
Germany, Australia, Spain, South Korea, Pakistan and hosts Malaysia were
given a Feb 28 deadline and all six replied in the positive and in time.
MHF is only waiting for India's reply before it gets its marketing arm
cracking for the Cup scheduled for Jan 8-18, 2004.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) also let India off the hook
with a rap on the knuckles for pulling out of the recent Azlan Shah Cup.
The FIH Executive Board accepted the explanation offered by the Indian
Hockey Confederation (IHF) for pulling out of the Cup.
India withdrew just hours before their departure on the advice of the
Ministry of Sports, who were advised by the Ministry of External Affairs
not to travel to Malaysia for security reasons. FIH said there were no
grounds for sanctions or fines.
India's withdrawal caused many red faces in the MHF because its souvenir
programmes, fixtures and name tags with fixtures at the back had already
been printed.
"The deadline for entries for the 2004 Azlan Shah Cup officially closed
on Feb 28, but we (MHF Council) decided to give India more time because
they have a large number of fans in Malaysia," said Satgunam.
Satgunam disclosed that England wrote in saying they are keen to play in
the 13th edition and that the MHF has marked them as the first reserve.
"After consulting chief coach Paul Lissek, MHF decided that in case
India reply in the negative, England will be invited," said Satgunam.
Spain will return to the Cup after a long hiatus because Lissek is keen
to play the 2004 Athens Olympic Qualifier hosts as a dry run before the
real thing.
Invitations were sent out early because MHF was afraid teams might have
other commitments in the Olympic Qualifier year.
Malaysia have started planning for the Athens Qualifier and part of
their training is a tour-cum-Test matches in Madrid at the end of the
South Korea, who have set their sights on the Athens Olympics medal,
will play in the Four-Nation in Australia in early January before coming
for the Azlan Shah Cup.
The venue for next year's tournament has yet to be decided, but early
indication is that the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil is the
favoured choice.

Physical instructor to whip `em


NOBODY disputes the fact that our national hockey players possess the
skills and are technically sound, but their fitness level leaves a lot to
be desired. But help is on the way.
The National Sports Council (NSC), keen to see hockey regularly on the
podium, will hire a physical instructor to help them.
In the recent Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia lost all their matches
and finished bottom not from lack of skills but their fitness level. Most
players could not last the pace even in one match despite being rested
"The NSC did hire a physical trainer for the Jaya `98 programme (Gurmit
Singh) but he has since left and we are looking for a suitable candidate
to help hockey," said NSC director general Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad.
However, NSC will not look beyond Malaysian shores.
"We would like to hire a Malaysian because he will understand the
athletes better. Also, the development will be gradual and systematic so
that the players will not suffer burnout or injuries. This could happen if
we rush for a `fitness freak' for short-term results," said Mazlan.
National hockey coach Paul Lissek is basically a tactician and is facing
an uphill battle as most of the national players cannot be counted on to
work on their own fitness level.
Skipper S. Kuhan and Amin Rahim left for South Korea last Saturday to
join the Koreans in training and Mazlan feels the duo have taken the right
"Kuhan, especially, needs to be the fittest because he is the captain
and will be looked upon to set the standard. I am very glad that he took
up the offer to train with the Koreans to become a better player," said
"The Korean method has shown results but we will not hire a physical
trainer from there because their culture is different and we can't use
their methods here."
Korea's coach for the Azlan Shah Cup, Jeon Jae-hong, made the offer to
train Kuhan and Amin and if he is ever hired, half the Malaysian squad
will surely retire early.
The Koreans, under Jeon, undergo 14 days of gruelling physical training
in a month.
"The hockey team has many important assignments in the next two years,
and the person we are looking for will not only train the seniors, but
also the juniors so that when it is time for national duty, everyone is
ready from the moment they are selected," said Mazlan.
The Champions Challenge in July in Randburg, South Africa, is the next
big assignment. Should Malaysia finish last, they will be relegated into
hockey's abyss.
Then comes the Asian Cup on Sept 10-21 in Kuala Lumpur. The winner earns
an automatic ticket to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, hense the urgent
need for a physical trainer.
"Those interested in the job can submit their resume to the NSC," said
Teams fighting for a ticket to the World Cup are South Korea, Pakistan,
India, Japan, Bangladesh, China and hosts Malaysia.

Perlis move up


PERLIS Schools Sports Council fought off Kerian District 4-3 in Division
Two of the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League to move up the
Perlis started the League on a high note, but their finishing was much
to be desired and they are tied for fourth with Penang Free School on 19
Kerian, firmly rooted at the bottom of the table, played one of their
best matches yesterday but were unlucky not to have shared points with
The Perlis scorers yesterday were Akmal Hafizal (23rd), Aimi Ja-maluddin
(41st, 53rd) and Ammar Gaddafi Ishak (51st). The Kerian goals were scored
by Zulazmi Sani (44th), Shahrul Faizal (59th) and Alif Fitri Ismail
* IN Kepala Batas, Penang Free School (PFS) thrashed English College 5-1
at the Bertam Sports Complex.
The PFS goals were scored by Mohd Alif Mohd Ali (3rd), Azrulshah Ramli
(6th and 60th), Harisaan Kathamuthu (27th) and Hafeez Azfar (44th).
Mohd Hanif Mohd Din replied for English College in the 68th minute.
The rest of the matches were among teams which are out of the running
for the quarter-finals. The much awaited match today is between Olak-MPK
and Tenaga Nasional Bhd because Olak, although out of the running for the
last eight, are the most unpredictable team in the JHL and could throw a
spanner in Tenaga's quest to be tops in Division One.
Results - Div One: Johor SC 3 Srii Aroma-PISC 2; Div Two: Synergy HC 3
Perak Malays 2, Penang Free School 5 English College 1, AFATS 0 KL SSC 1,
Perlis SC 4 Kerian District 3.
Today's fixtures - Div One: Anderson-Xybase v Telekom Pahang (Azlan Shah
Stadium, 5.15pm); Petaling Jaya MC v Terengganu SSC (National Stadium,
5.15pm); MPK-Olak v Tenaga Nasional (Pandamaran Stadium, 5.15pm); Malaysia
SS v Yayasan NS (Tun Razak Stadium, 5.15pm).
Div Two: SMK Datuk Taha v Sports School Juniors (Bukit Serindit,

Kuhan and Amin head to South Korea for training


NATIONAL hockey skipper S. Kuhan and Amin Rahim will head for South Korea
tomorrow to train under Korean coach Jeon Jae-hong.
The Koreans have become a world hockey power by putting a huge emphasis
on fitness, and the two Malaysians will join their training camp for two
weeks (April 12-26) to get into shape for July's Champions Challenge in
South Africa.
Fitness was one of the main reasons why Malaysia did poorly in the
recent Azlan Shah Cup. When the Korean coach offered the Malaysians a
chance to train with his team, the management decided to send Kuhan and
While Kuhan's place in the national squad has always been secured (he is
the best penalty corner flicker in the country today), Amin has seen more
downs than ups since making his debut with the national side in the 1999
Brunei Sea Games.
Amin caught the selectors' attention when playing for Old La Sallians
Association of Klang in the Junior Hockey League, but was dropped from the
2002 Kuala Lumpr World Cup because he lacked match experience.
Capped 40 times, Amin persisted and fought his way back into the
national squad, and subsequently helped Malaysia to the bronze at the
Busan Asian Games. It was Malaysia's first medal at the Games after a
lapse of 12 years.
"The Busan Asian Games is very special to me because that is the highest
level of hockey that I have played. Winning the bronze is a memory I will
always cherish," said Amin yesterday.
Amin, 23, said the Korean coach made the offer to Kuhan during the Azlan
Shah Cup, and when Paul Lissek approached him, he jumped at the offer.
"Maybe I was selected because I am presently jobless and not committed
to studies," he said.
Amin is one of the most hard working players in the national team. He
never misses training and never shirks his duties when the going gets
tough or rough.
"I don't mind undergoing gruelling physical training if it can improve
my fitness and my game. This year, I aim to fight for a place in the
Champions Challenge and then the Olympics Qualifiers (March next year),"
said Amin.
This is the first time Malaysians will train with Koreans although the
national team have undergone the Korean style of training before.
In 2001, the national team had a training stint in Korea under former
Korean coach Kim Sang-ryul.

Ismail and Shahrum picked for Champions Challenge


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) named a 25-man training squad for
the Champions Challenge in South Africa on July 19-27 with two national
discards getting lifelines.
Ismail Abu and Shahrum Nabil were named to the squad despite their
earlier decisions to withdraw due to study commitments which led the MHF
to bar them from playing in the ongoing Junior Hockey League.
Sallehin Ghani was also named as one of the five reserves should there
be a withdrawal.
But the trio's selection comes with a condition - they must provide
written assurances to the MHF that they will make themselves available for
national duty until the Champions Challenge in Randburg, South Africa.
Brothers Jiwa and Jivan Mohan and K. Logan Raj were also required to
give written assurances they too have study commitments and withdrew from
the recent Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.
"The six players will be asked to give written assurances that they will
be available until the Champions Challenge," said MHF secretary S.
Three players - Madzli Ikmar, Rodhanizam Radzi and Redzuan Ponirin -
will undergo medical tests to determine their fitness as they are
recovering from injuries.
Youngster Wan Asryzal Wan Mustapha, who had a good outing in the Azlan
Shah Cup, was omitted as was another youngster Fakhrulrazi Baharuddin.
Both made way for experienced players.
K. Gobinathan, who picked up an injury on the eve of the Azlan Shah Cup,
has also been included to beef up the defence.
The squad will undergo training until April 25 when the squad will be
trimmed to 18 players who will go on a Tour of Europe starting on May 2.
The national team will play two matches against the Belgium national
side (May 5-7) in Brussels and then head for England where they will play
two Test matches against the hosts on May 9-10.
Malaysia will then set up base in the German town of Limburg (May 11-15)
where matches have been lined up with club sides as well as a Test against
the German national side.
From Limburg they go to Worms where they will play in a Four-Nation on
May 16-19 involving two German sides and Egypt.
National trainees: Roslan Jamaluddin, S. Kumar, S. Kuhan, K. Gobinathan,
Chua Boon Huat, Saiful Azli, Fairuz Ramli, Azlan Misron, Amin Rahim, Nor
Azlan Rahim, Megat Azrafiq, Nor Azlan Bakar, Ridhuan Nasir, P.
Prabhakaran, Tajol Rosli, Chairil Anwar, Hanafi Hassan, Madzli Ikmar,
Rodhanizam Radzi, Redzuan Ponirin, Jiwa Mohan, Jivan Mohan, K. Logan Raj,
Ismail Abu, Shahrun Nabil.
Reserves: Engku Malek, Mohamed Fakrulrazi, Wan Asryzal Wan Mustapha,
Ikmal Jabar, Anwar Ali, Sallehin Ghani.

MHF throws out Kerian's `malicious' protest


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) Technical Committee yesterday threw
out the protest made by Kerian District regarding six Malacca Municipal
Council players.
Kerian team manager Mohamed Abdul Hadi had submitted the protest, with
the RM200 deposit, after his team lost 9-0 to Malacca MC, alleging that
Malacca MC fielded five former Anderson and one former Ipoh City Council
player even though they were not on Malacca's payroll.
"We find Kerian's protest very mischieveous. We did do our own
investigation and found Malacca MC to have fielded legitimate players
because they are members of the Malacca Municipal Council Sports Club.
"Under the JHL Eligibility Rules, a player either has to be an employee
or a club member to take part," said MHF secretary S. Satgunam, who
chaired the Technical Committee yesterday.
Satgunam also questioned the sincerity of the protest.
"Why protest after over seventy (70) matches have been played. And why
didn't Kerian bring up the matter at the managers meeting held before the
Junior Hockey League started?" said a puzzled Satgunam.
If the MHF had entertained the Kerian protest, teams like Tenaga
Nasional Bhd, Telekom Pahang and Malay Mail would also have been dragged
into the controversy, because most, and in Malay Mail's case, all their
players are not employees.
"We are very grateful to the corporate bodies for putting up teams via
their sports clubs. If not the JHL will die off," said Satgnam.
Tenaga had also sent in a request to bring forward the Malaysia Sports
School-Johor Sports Council match from April 20 to April 13.
Tenaga, in their letter to the MHF, said that since Malaysia Sports
School, Tenaga Nasional and Telekom Pahang are involved in a keen tussle
for the Division One title - which could boil down to goals scored to
decide the champions - they feel that it is an unfair advantage for the
Sports School to have their last match against Johor SC.
Johor SC are in fact the Bandar Penawar Sports School in disguise.
"The Technical Commitee decided not to entertain the request because the
draw was made during the managers meeting and it will be wrong to alter it
now. It was not premeditated, and it is just a coincidence that Malaysia
SS will be playing their last match against Johor SC," said Satgunam.
The Technical Committe also suspended Shaffrizan Affendi of Perlis
Schools Sports Council for one match (against Kerian on April 11) for a
red card offence during the match against Sports School Juniors.

Still much to fight for


THE MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League has come to its tailend, but
there are still no clear winners in Division One, while the Division Two
has remained very much a two-horse race.
Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Malaysia Sports School and Telekom Pahang are the
three teams still in the hunt to finish tops in Division One.
Malacca Municipal Council, at present are the virtual champions of
Division Two, as they have only bottom of the table Perak Malays to beat.
But if a miracle happens and they falter, Sports School Juniors will be
jumping for joy.
The Junior League has been incident-free so frar, but Kerian District
have sent in a protest which might make the League topsy-turvy.
Kerian, after being hammered 9-0 by Malacca MC, sent in a protest
stating that Malacca MC had six guest players where else the JHL rules
clearly state that teams are only allowed to have four guest players.
Kerian manager Mohamed Abdul Hadi said, in the protest, that he has
proof that Malacca MC have five former Anderson School boys and one Ipoh
City Council player.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation Disciplinary Board will hear Hadi's
protest today, and it will be interesting to see the outcome.
The rules of the JHL, under Eligibility of Players 5.5, states: each
team is allowed to field a maximum of four guest players.
But there is a loophole in 5.2.1: He should be an ordinary or associate
member of the club that he has chosen to play. And under 5.2.2: In the
case of employer clubs, he should be an employee of the organisation.
Malacca MC coach Eugene Lee said that all his players are members of the
Malacca Municipal Council Sports Club, which makes them legitimate
"When we won the 2001 title, 11 of my players were not employed with
Malacca MC but members of the Sports Club. If the MHF decides that we are
wrong then, please, strip us of the 2001 title too," said Lee.
Teams like Tenaga Nasional, Telekom Pahang and Malay Mail, to name a
few, also have more than the allowed guest players but are eligible
because they are club members.
The MHF will have to make it clear to all participating teams in future
on the rule.
Fixtures - Wednesday: Pahang Telekom v Petaling Jaya Municipal Council
(Kuantan Stadium, 5.15).

Sunday, September 16, 2007

SS Juniors hold Malacca


MALACCA Municipal Council (MMC) finally found their match in Division Two
when they were held 2-2 by Sports School Juniors in the MHF-Milo-Admiral-
NSC Junior Hockey League match at the Bukit Serindit Stadium yesterday.
Malacca MC will now have to wait for their last match against Perak
Malays on April 13 to decide the Division Two title which comes with
Yesterday the Malacca MC boys, who have scored a total of 72 goals in 10
matches, put too much pressure on themselves and let in an early goal.
Hairul Ibrahim sounded the board off the first penalty corner in the
second minute and Malacca MC found themselves in unfamiliar territory as
no team has scored first against them in the last nine matches.
But Malacca MC got the equaliser four minutes later off an Ahmad Anuar
Sham field goal. Malacca MC went ahead in the 46th minute when Ahmad
scored his second goal but the SS Juniors refused to be broken and
snatched a draw with a Jamil Saidin field goal in the 56th minute.
SS Juniors could have sealed the Division Two title with a win, but they
missed five penalty corners and, at best, now they will finish second as
Malacca MC have easy pickings in their last match.
* At the Kuala Terengganu Stadium, Terengganu Schools Sports Council
edged closer to their target of playing in the quarter-finals when they
beat MPK-Old La Sallians Association of Klang 3-2, reports ZAINUDDIN
The home side looked set to cruise into their fourth win after leading
by two goals scored by Saiful Amri Idris (10th) and Amerullah Sabda (17th)
but OLAK almost turned the tide after the break when S. Lingkeswaran
scored in the 48th minute.
And three minutes later, Lingkeswaran took advantage of a goalmouth
scramble to flick in the equaliser.
Terengganu SSC were lucky to score the winning goal in the 54th minute
through Saiful Amri Idris.
* At The Azlan Shah Stadium, Malay Mail beat Perak Malays 4-1 with
second half goals from Tejvinder Singh (48th), K. Kunaseelan (50th), M.
Shriganenthra (5th) and S. Mahendran (70th). The Perak Malays goal was
scored by Chin Kok San in the 38th minute.
In a later match, Synergy HC edged Kerian 3-2, with goals from Jeremiah
Michael(9th), Harwinder Singh (42nd), and Mohamed Izwandi Sanirang (62nd).
Mohamed Faiz Musa got both the goals for Kerian, scoring in the 18th and
* At the Bertam Stadium, Penang Frees beat Kuala Lumpur Schools Sports
Council 4-1. The Frees goals were scored by Barath Kumar (third, 8th),
Mohamed Jabir (48th) and Fahmi Nasir (70th). The KLSSC goal was scored by
Ahmad Faizul Azar (57th).

Tenaga edge Anderson


TENAGA Nasional Bhd edged Anderson-Xybase 2-1 in a fiercely-contested
Division One match of the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League at the
Kuala Lumpur HA Stadium yesterday.
With the win, Tenaga kept their hopes alive of emerging top in Division
One. In the other deciding match, Telekom Pahang were leading 1-0 against
Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (PJMC) when lightning and rain interrupted
play in the 22nd minute.
Match officials abandoned any further play after waiting for the
stipulated 45 minutes. The match will now start afresh at the Kuantan
Hockey Stadium on Wednesday as yesterday's tie had not completed the 35-
minute barrier.
In Division Two, Sports School Juniors suffered a slight setback when
they were held 2-2 by the Perlis Schools Sports Council. With the draw, SS
Juniors will have to beat Malacca Municipal Council today if they harbour
any hope of finishing on top.
The Tenaga goals were scored by Azli Misron (seventh) and Eszreen Abdulk
Azis (14th). Anderson narrowed the gap through a well executed penalty
corner set-piece which was deflected into goal by Noor Khairul Azrain in
the 24th minute.
Heavy rain forced the match to be stopped for 20 minutes, and upon
resumption, Anderson took control, but their forwards were guilty of
missing too many sitters and subsequently lost the match.
Tenaga coach K. Rajan was relieved with the three points, and now plans
to send in a special request to the Malaysian Hockey Federation.
"I will write to the MHF requesting to bring forward the Malaysia Sports
School (SSM)-Johor Sports Council (JSC) match to April 12, instead of
April 20. This is because both SSM and JSC have very good ties with each
other and could decide the Division One title by going for goals in the
last match," said Rajan.
JSC is the Bandar Penawar Sports School in disguise and Rajan is afraid
if the Division One title depends on goals, Tenaga will be at a
Telekom Pahang are also believed to be against the SSM-JSC match being
held on the last weekend of the JHL, and will put in a request to the MHF.
Results - Div One: PJMC MC v Telekom Pahang (Match abandoned, rain);
Tenaga Nasional 2 Anderson-Xybase 1; Johor SC 0 Yayasan NS 0; Div Two:
English College 2 AFATS 1; SS Juniors 2 Perlis SSC 2.
Fixtures - Today - Div Two: Perak Malays v Malay Mail (Azlan Shah
Stadium, 4pm), Penang Frees v MSSKL (Bertam Stadium, 5.15pm), Malacca MC v
Sports School Juniors (Bukit Serindit Stadium, 5.15pm), Kerian v Synergy
HC (Azlan Shah Stadium, 6pm).
Div One: Terengganu v MPK-OLAK (Kuala Terengganu Stadium, 5.15pm).

Economic progress spoiling our athletes


MALAYSIAN athletes of today have everything at their doorstep but despite
that, their performances at international meetings are still incomparable
to the achievements of athletes of yesteryear. Why?
This question was posed by The New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad Group
Editor-In-Chief Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad at a nasi bungkus dialogue session
with the top brass of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), president
Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar, deputy president Datuk M. Jegathesan
and secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi at Balai Berita yesterday.
Abdullah who chaired the session was perplexed as to why "when the
athletes were poor and received less incentives, they had achieved a lot
more than the athletes of today who are enjoying better rewards and higher
"When (Datuk) Ghani Minhat and Wong Peng Soon were at their prime, they
received little monetary rewards but are still remembered for their
achievements while the athletes of today have everything but are still
lagging," stated Abdullah.
Replying to Abdullah, Dr. Jegathesan said the advancement of technology
played a big part in this.
"When I was running, there was little to do as we did not even have
television sets. We had all the time in the world to train hard without
any distractions. Life was very simple," said Dr. Jegathesan.
"But today, the youngsters have shopping malls, computers, satellite
television and other forms of entertainment which takes up most of their
spare time."
He also felt that the schools have neglected sports, and sports rivalry
among schools and States is almost non-existent.
"Back in my days, every child will be out playing one sport or another
in the evenings. Parents found it almost impossible to stop them from
running out of homes for sport in the evenings. Every available patch in
housing estates were turned into a sporting arena.
"And when in school, it was compulsory to take part in sports, and those
who were not good at it, were simply asked to run around the field.
"But today, schools no longer put emphasis on sports. It has shifted to
education because every parent wants their children to secure a
professional future," said Dr. Jegathesan.
He also felt that teachers and headmasters are no longer motivated
enough to make sure sports thrive at grassroots.
"Headmasters used to be the driving force in schools sports success. But
today, when one drives around during the weekend, school fields are
deserted as no activities are planned for students to excel in sports.
"That is why I feel that even though athletes receive more money and
attention with very good facilities around, the distractions are just too
great," concluded Dr. Jegathesan.

'Pahang Telekom can only finish second at best'


OVERALL defending champions Pahang Telekom have resigned themselves to the
fact that, at best, they can only finish second in Division One when the
MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League pool matches end on April 20.
Pahang coach Izwan Suhardi arrived at this conclusion because they have
three tough matches lined up and his penalty corner flicker, Zulkiffli
Rejab, injured his knee while playing in the Kilat Sixes during the JHL
"Zulkiffli scored an average of one goal per match (seven goals in six
matches) and his injury is a big blow to the team as we have tough
opponents in Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (tomorrow), Anderson-Xybase
and Yayasan Negri Sembilan," said Izwan yesterday.
The other Division One title contenders, Tenaga Nasional and Malaysia
Sports School, have easier opponents in their last three matches.
Finishing runners-up in Division One is dreaded by every team because
the draw for the quarter-finals is arranged in such a way the second-
placed team in Division One will play the top team in Division Two - most
likely to be high-flying Malacca Municipal Council.
"The boys are motivated enough to go all out for the top spot because we
want to defend our Overall title. But it is going to be very tough. I have
not seen PJMC play a single match and do not know what they are capable
of. Also, we will be playing the last three matches away and it is always
difficult when one travels," said Izwan.
"The other problem for Pahang is that rain has disrupted most of our
evening practices during the break. We could only do light workouts in the
mornings. As a result, although the fitness level has improved, we could
not sharpen our set-pieces," Izwan added.
Pahang Telekom charged to the top in their JHL debut last year, winning
the Group A title and then the Overall title by beating Malaysia Sports
School but they are a depleted side this year because four of their
players received national call-ups and were barred from the JHL this

SS Juniors lose star Nabil


SPORTS School Juniors lost their trump-card Nabil Fiqri to injury on the
eve of two crucial MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League matches this
weekend which will decide the Division Two champions.
The title comes with a purse of RM10,000, so SS Juniors coach V.
Muraleedharan is naturally anxious and is keeping his fingers crossed that
his ace striker will recover from a sprained ankle in time.
Malacca and SS Juniors have virtually qualified to play in Division One
next year as it is very unlikely that both teams will lose their remaining
three matches and allow SMK Datuk Taha, who have 17 points from eight
matches, to overtake them.
"Nabil is our best striker and it would be a very difficult weekend for
us if he does not recover in time to play against Perlis and Malacca.
"He picked up the ankle injury during a training match and right now, he
is a doubtful starter against Perlis on Saturday and Malacca on Sunday,"
said Muraleedharan.
SS Juniors and Malacca MC shared top spot with 24 points each when the
JHL took a short break for the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh. But Malacca MC have
a better goal average, and only need a draw to win the Division Two title.
Nabil, 16, played in the January Four-Nation tournament in Kuala Lumpur
and also the Bangladesh Four-Nation meet which involved India, Bangladesh
and Sri Lanka.
"The Bangladesh tournament, although we ended third and could only beat
Sri Lanka, was an eye opener for the Under-16 SS Juniors and hopefully,
they will use the experience to win both matches this weekend," said
But all is not lost as SS Juniors have Baljit Singh to get the goals if
Nabil is out of action.
Baljit has scored 13 penalty corner goals in eight matches, and is
gaining confidence with every match. He has a powerful hit and a sharp eye
to pick up the slightest gap when taking penalty corners to score.
"Baljit has been doing very well in training and we will be looking to
him for the goals this weekend.
"First, we will have to deal with Perlis at the Tun Razak Stadium
because the northern State has exceeded expectations in the JHL. The three
points will be a big boost when we play Malacca on their turf," said
Perlis have won five matches and are fourth in the standings. Although
they do not have a chance for promotion or play in the quarter-finals,
they could well play the spoiler's role.

Depleted BSN unfazed


BANK Simpanan Nasional created history when they won the Malaysia Hockey
League (MHL) title for an unprecedented third time last season, but this
year, they will be fielding a severely depleted squad.
Pakistan aces Sohail Abbas and Kashif Jawad, and four Malaysian
stalwarts - Roslan Jamaludin, Amin Rahim, P. Prabahkaran and Lee Sien Lam
- have opted to play for other teams this year.
But BSN veteran coach C. Paramalingam is not worried. Instead, he feels
this will be his chance to expose young players from the end of May till
"Sohail and Kashif said they are committed to their national team who
will be playing in the Champions Challenge and Asia Cup this year. I have
also lost a few experienced players but I am not worried because I will
use this chance to expose young players," said Paramalingam.
The hat-trick, unprecedented since the inception of the MHL, was
achieved when they defeated Andersen Sports Club 1-0 in a closely fought
final at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Then, they had to thank their goalkeeper Roslan who played like a man
possessed, repelling everything that Andersen Indian imports Len Aiyappa
and Dhanaraj Pilay could muster.
Sohail, who played a major part in taking BSN to the final, scored the
solitary goal off BSN's sixth penalty corner.
"I have been talking with up-and-coming players Megat Azrafiq, Ismail
Abu and a goalkeeper (he did not reveal the name) to fill the vacuum left
by the exodus. I am confident BSN will be able to put up a good display
this year too, because I will hire young players who are eager to make a
name for themselves, and both BSN and hockey will win in the end," said
BSN have not given up on foreign players and are still in the hunt for
two to beef up their squad.
"I tried to get Jorge Lombi (the Argentine penalty corner specialist)
but he too had domestic commitments. But the hunt is not over yet, we are
still looking for two strong imports," said Paramalingam.
Dhanraj and Aiyappa are also not expected to be down for the MHL,
because they are said to be committed to their domestic training and

Another title for Karamjit


BERJAYA Sports Toto Berhad Chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan yesterday paid
tribute to rally ace Karamjit Singh for winning the World Championship
title and being named Timesport-Sports Toto Man of The Year for 2002.
"The award goes well beyond winning cash prizes, it is about the
celebration of all that is good and honorable in sports," said Tan in
Bukit Kiara yesterday.
"Malaysians must preserve to be an exception, that breed which
ultimately, will strive to position Malaysian sport prominently in the
world map. And at Sports Toto, we will continue to provide all the support
and encouragement possible to make this a reality," he added.
Tan also paid tribute to past winners of this prestigious award.
"Past recipients of this award include the who's who of Malaysian sport
and included the likes of former Kuala Lumpur Mayor Tan Sri Elyas Omar,
two Sports Ministers - Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datuk Ghani Othman -
Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar
and many more.
"The idea for the award was mooted 15 years ago and since then, the
partnership between the two parties (Timesport and Sports Toto) has grown
from strength to strength and more importantly, we look at the award as a
motivating factor to inculcate in athletes, officials, sports bodies and
corporations the values of leadership, boldness, creativity, discipline
and diligence.
"To be successful, one has to have a vision and the energy and
discipline to overcome the challenges. And this is what Sports Toto,
through the award, would like to honour," said Tan.

Malacca MC out to clinch Division Two title


THE MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League resumes this weekend with
Division Two table-toppers Malacca Municipal Council (MMC) having an easy
match against Kerian in Ipoh.
Kerian are not expected to give MMC any problems, in fact, they could be
in for a thrashing. But come Sunday, MMC will not have it easy against
Sports School Juniors.
One week before the JHL break, the SS Juniors went to Bangladesh to play
in a Four-Nation tournament where they were whipped by India and
Bangladesh, but nevertheless, returned with valuable experience.
"This Sunday, we will be on a double mission. First, we will be putting
up banners promoting peace and not war around the Bukit Serindit Stadium,
and second, we aim to beat Sports School Juniors and claim the Division
Two title," said Malacca MC coach Eugene Lee.
Malacca MC and SS Juniors with 24 points each - are the only two teams
in the running for promotion. Third placed SM Datuk Taha are a distant 17
points behind.
The title race in Division One was thrown wide open when Pahang Telekom
and Tenaga Nasional drew 1-1 before the break. Now, four teams - Tenaga,
Pahang, Malaysia Sports School and Anderson-Xybase - are tied on 13 points
each after six matches.
"I gave the boys a one-week break and they only resumed training a few
days ago but everyone is in great shape. I still stand by my target of
being the Division Two champions and then taking a crack at the Overall
title itself," said Eugene.
MMC, the Overall title winners in 2001, did not compete last year
because of cash-related problems and were placed in Division Two. This
year they have enough firepower to achieve their targets.
The former Anderson players recruited by MMC to strengthen their quest,
goalkeeper Nazrul Azim, Faizal Ani, Hanif Hamzah, Faizal Bakar, Nazrin
Naserruddin and Mohamed Nor Othman, have been playing to expectations and MMC are the hot favourites to top Division Two, but they will face stiff
challenges in their quest for the Overall title.
Fixtures - Friday - Div Two: Malay Mail v Penang Frees (Tun Razak
Stadium, 4pm), Kerian v Malacca Municipal Council (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5.15pm), MSS Kuala Lumpur v Datuk Taha (MBJB Stadium, 5.15pm).
Div One: Srii Aroma v Terengganu Schools Sports Council (Bercham
Stadium, 5.15pm), MPK-Olak v Malaysia Sports School (Pandamaran Stadium, 5.15pm).
Saturday - Div Two: English College v AFATS (MBJB Stadium, 3.30pm),
Sports School Juniors v Perlis Schools Sports Council (Tun Razak Stadium, 5.15pm).
Div One: Petaling Jaya MC v Telekom Pahang (National Hockey Stadium, 5.15pm), Tenaga Nasional v Anderson-Xybase (KLHA Stadium, 5.15pm), Johor Sports Council v Yayasan Negri Sembilan (MBJB Stadium, 5.15pm).
Sunday - Div Two: Perak Malays v Malay Mail (Azlan Shah Stadium, 4pm), Penang Frees v MSSKL (Bercham Stadium, 5.15pm), Malacca MC v Sports School Juniors (Bukit Serindit Stadium, 5.15pm), Kerian v Synergy HC (Azlan Shah Stadium, 6pm).
Div One: Terengganu v MPK-OLAK (Kuala Terengganu Stadium, 5.15pm).

Unfit Malaysia a letdown


MALAYSIA had the best players available for the 12th Edition of the Azlan
Shah Cup in Ipoh, but still could not win a single point from four
The Cup was incepted in 1983 for the sole purpose of giving Malaysia
more quality matches to play at their own turf, but the hosts have yet to
feel what it is like to be at the top of the podium.
In 1983, Malaysia lost to India 5-0 in the third-fourth playoff, and the
best achievement after being hosts for 12 times was in 1996 in Ipoh where
Malaysia finished third by beating England 6-5.
This year, more was expected from the team because they ended 2002 by
beating Pakistan to the Asian Games bronze, but nothing went right.
From the onset, when Malaysia lost three straight Test matches to
Pakistan and one Friendly against South Korea, the feeling was that the
boys were not physically fit for the Azlan Shah Cup. Coach Paul Liseek had
said many times that he did not have his full squad for training because
they had work and study commitments, but that's no longer a valid excuse.
Germany came out from winter hibernation and the only hockey they played
was indoors, where they became the men's and women's world champions, but
they only dropped one match - in the final against Pakistan.
Germany had four new faces, South Korea seven, Pakistan four and New
Zealand four, but still all these teams had a better outing then Malaysia
simply because their player were fitter.
The national players are a skillful lot and a little bit of polish can
turn them into gems. The fact that S. Kuhan failed to score a single
penalty corner goal must also be looked into. Have his opponents learnt to
read his game? Or is it that he was slower because he was not physically
Lissek needs to find out fast because the Champions Challenge in July is
the next big exposure before they try to qualify for the 2004 Athens
Olympics. If they play like they did last week Malaysia might not see
action in Athens next year.
On the organisational side, many felt that spending RM450,000 to play
four matches was a bit too much for exposure. The Malaysian Hockey
Federation had to fork out about RM110,000 for every Malaysia defeat. It
looks like the tournament, instead of benefiting the home side, is
becoming increasingly popular because foreign teams always go home in
better shape.
New Zealand coach Kevin Towns was very grateful to the MHF for inviting
them when Australia pulled out because: "This is among the best
invitational tournament in the world today. It's not easy to get a chance
to play against teams like Pakistan and Germany in friendlies, so every
year, we are the first to put up our hands, just in case any team pulls
out and we get a chance to play in this world class tournament," said
Kevin Towns.
The Kiwis were so grateful for the opportunity that they edged south
Korea 3-2 to finish third.
The probability is very high that the 13th edition will be held in Kuala
Lumpur simply because the Azlan Shah Stadium is no longer suitable to host
international class tournaments because the facilities cannot accommodate
the modern requests of the print and broadcast media.
Past Winners - 1983: Champions: Australia, runners-up Pakistan; 1985:
Champions India, runners-up Pakistan; 1987: Champions Germany, runners-up
Pakistan; 1991: Champions India, runners-up Pakistan; 1994: Champions
England, runners-up Pakistan; 1995: Champions India, runners-up Germany;
1996: Champions Korea, runners-up Australia; 1998: Champions Australia,
runners-up Germany; 1999: Champions Pakistan, runners-up South Korea;
2000: Champions Pakistan, runners-up Korea; 2001: Champions Germany,
runners-up South Korea; 2003: Champions Pakistan, runners-up Germany.

Shabbir gives Pakistan third title


Shabbir Hussain 61st
Hayden Shaw 8th Lee Jung-seong 9th, 17th
P. Burrows 44th
Bevan Hari 61st
PAKISTAN upset the formbook when they toppled World and Azlan Shah Cup
defending champions Germany by a solitary goal in Ipoh yesterday.
And when the final horn blew, the Pakistan players went wild celebrating
the triumph with their fans - with goalkeeper Ahmad Alam and Kashif Jawad
dancing wildly on top of their goal imitating what the Germans did after
lifting the World Cup trophy in Kuala Lumpur last year.
Pakistan last won the trophy in 1999 and 20002, and the victory erased
last year's disastrous outing where they failed finish among the top
Pakistan attempted to seize the early goal yesterday but German
goalkeeper Arnold Clemens brought out some superb saves to deny the former
Asian powerhouse.
Pakistan received their first penalty corner in the 14th minute, but
Clemens read Sohail Abbas' flick well and palmed it over the bar. Pakistan
came back charging for their second penalty corner but were denied once
more by the towering Clemens.
After 25 minutes of ferocious attacking, the match slowed down with both
sides reluctant to let in any simple goals.
As the match entered the third quarter, Germany were pinned back in
their own semicircle with the ball whizzing from left to right of their
goalmouth, but Kashif Jawad and his team-mate's fancy stick-work came to
In the 52nd minute, Germany were awarded their third penalty corner but
there were no takers for Philipp Crone's low attempt.
Just as the capacity crowd were being lulled into slumber with the
Germans reluctant come out of their half, Shabbir Hussain brought the roof
Pakistan skipper Nadeem Mohamed crossed from the right and after Clemens
had missed it, Shabbir was left with the easiest task of tapping it into
goal for Pakistan's third Azlan Shah Cup.
Minutes later Kashif Jawad had the golden opportunity to seal the match,
but his shot rebounded off the post.
Meanwhile in the earlier match, New Zealand made full use of their
wildcard entry to finish third when they edged South Korea 3-2.
New Zealand, who received an invitation when Australia declined because
of domestic commitment, drew first blood when Hayden Shaw scored off a
penalty stroke but the Koreans fought back to find the equaliser a minute
later through Lee Jung-seong.
Lee took South Korea to the fore with his second penalty corner goal in
the 17th minute and the score remained until the 44th minute.
In the second half, the Kiwis increased their tempo with Phillip Burrows
tucking in a field goal to even the scores. Bevan Hari scored the winner
in the 61st minute through a penalty corner as the surprise team finished
third in the tournament.
Roll of Honour - Most promising player: Christopher Zeller, 18
Man-of-the-final: Clemens Arnold (German goalkeeper).
Man-of-the-tournament: Sohail Abbas (Pakistan); Fairplay: Pakistan.