Thursday, January 25, 2007

Unknown clawed their way to the top


TERENGGANU coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim described the Malaysia Cup Final
against Terengganu tomorrow at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium as a
revival of Malaysian soccer.
Rahman said with the upset of favourites Negri and Sabah in the
semifinals and the advancement of a Premier Two team to the coveted Cup
Final, the future of Malaysian soccer was bright.
"The two teams were never given a chance in the early days but they
still clawed their way to the top," said Rahman.
"Terengganu never had it easy and we had to fight to the top of the
Premier Two and then play in the qualifiers before marching into the
Malaysia Cup Finals. This is the kind of attitude the national team must
have to make their name in the international arena."
Perak team manager Datuk Raja Ahmad Raja Zainuddin played down the
Laszlo Repasi-Karl Weigang tussle with two words: "No problems."
He refused to comment on the issue although a police report has been
filed by Repasi.
"I don't know what happened because even though I was at the field after
the alleged scuffle, nobody said a thing about it to me.
"In fact, the team met Perak players from the 70s to motivate them after
training but not a word was said about the issue.
"I only read about it in the papers and I will probably comment on it on
Monday after speaking to both parties," said Raja Ahmad.
On the final, Raja Ahmad said: "I am speaking for both teams when I say
that playing at the National Stadium, which is a first for soccer, is a

Rahman: We prefer the underdogs tag


TERANGGANU coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim prefers the underdog tag when they
take on Perak today.
And his reason is simple.
"We were never the favourites right from the beginning and there is no
need to place any pressure on my men at this juncture.
"They have promised to do their best and I am confident of a good
showing, that is enough for me."
Team manager Datuk Che Mat Jusoh said his men will triumph because they
have faced and overcome many hurdles on the way to the final.
"Our aim is to create Malaysia Cup history at the National Stadium. The
fact that a Premier Two team fought all the way to the top should be
enough to satisfy any manager," said Che Mat Jusuh.
"We want to go one step further and bring home the Cup."
Terengganu have come a long way since Rahman was appointed coach and
after the Malaysia Cup, he will concentrate on rebuilding the national
"We have selected 31 players for centralised training which will
commence a week after the final.
"Four more players will be selected from Terengganau and Perak for a
total of 35 trainees.
"The team will be trimmed to 21 and we will work towards qualifying for
the next Asian Games and winning gold at the 2001 Sea Games in Malaysia."
After turning the tide in favour of Terengganu, it would be interesting
to see what Rahman can do for national soccer.

SportExcel running on empty


SPORTEXCEL, founded in 1991 for promoting grassroots development, is being
slowly bled to death.
In the words of SportExcel executive director Teng Mui Ngee: "We have
started digging into our fixed deposits to run the show, which means we
will not last long."
Bowler Shalin Zulkilfi, squash star Ong Beng Hee and Asian Games
champion Nicol David, the entire Putra Cup golf squad, and cricket
sensation Arul Suppiah are some of the SportExcel graduates.
"SportExcel are low on funds and unless we can raise some money fast,
the development of junior programmes and athletes next year will be
drastically reduced."
The economic downturn has forced major sponsors to pull out, and if this
trend continues, there will only be enough money to pay for overheads.
"The junior circuits will go on but the associations will have to
sacrifice a bit, like supporting payments for travelling allowances, for
food and even reducing prize monies for events."
SportExcel, the brainchild of Olympic Council of Malaysia president
Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar, was designed to promote youth development and
one of their most successful circuit is golf. But the list is longer and
it goes back to the days of cyclist M. Kumaresan and hurdler Nurherman
Majid who have, at one time or another, contributed medals at
international meets.
SportExcel have existed remarkably well alongside the national sport
associations and even earned praise from the National Sports Council and
Cricket and athletics were the latest to join the SportExcel family this
year while the established circuits are bowling, squash, diving, cycling,
shooting and golf.
"Although we will be running on a shoe-string budget, we have plans to
increase the air-gun circuit to three legs with a grand final at the
Subang Shooting Range.
"Also, we have plans to run a swimming and synchronised swimming circuit
next year. But it all depends on how much money is available in our
"As for the golf circuits, they are quite independent because we have
individual sponsors for each of the five legs."
SportExcel should not just rely on the sponsors to run the circuits but
tap into those who have graduated into the senior ranks to keep the
foundation moving.
Not that these athletes should be asked to contribute in cash but an
alumni should be formed so that the athletes, some of whom are world
class, could pay back by imparting their knowledge of the sport and coach
the juniors after they have stopped competing.
Kudos to SportExcel for their unwavering pursuit of youth development in

Maba still out hunting for young talent


THE Malaysia Amateur Basketball Association (Maba) are eyeing two golds at
the 2001 Sea Games, and with it will ride the future of basketball in
"That will be the starting point for basketball in Malaysia, after that
we will target for medals at the 2006 Asian Games which Malaysia are
bidding," said a confident Maba president, Datuk Loke Yuen Yow.
As for 1998, basketball was among the "almost there" sport and is best
Although faced with a dearth of new talent, the women cagers were one
step ahead of their male counterparts.
At the Jakarta Sea Games, the women ended a 10-year drought by beating
defending champions Thailand in a close encounter. So close that for the
watching VIPs, Sports Minister Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin and chef-de-mission
Datuk Seri Megat Junid Megat Ayob, the match was a nail-biting affair.
On the other hand, the Malaysian men, who clawed their way to the final,
found it hard to contain the superior Filipinos and settled for silver.
That was as good as the year went for the national cagers.
Malaysia are currently not among the Asian basketball powers and did not
even qualify for the Bangkok Asian Games, but Maba feel there is still
The introduction of the Malaysian Basketball League for women was one of
the steps towards the realisation of the association's objectives.
Three women's teams joined the five men's in this year's edition of the
MBL but at the end of the day, it was noted that there is much work to be
done if the women want to win medals at a higher level.
For a start, Maba did not even have enough women cagers to form three
teams. They had to source players from the junior ranks to field decent
Loke has single-mindedly pursued the objective of finding tall cagers in
Malaysia for the past five years; never mind the lukewarm response his
earlier programmes have received.
"We will go to the States and villages again and again until we have a
big pool of tall players. Lodging and scholarships will be provided for
those selected and they will be taught the basics of basketball," said
To achieve their target and get a wider coverage, Maba organised a
State-wide three-on-three on a multiracial basis and teams could only
compete if they had two non-Chinese cagers in their side.
But all these lofty plans came to naught.
Malaysia were ranked fourth in Asia back in 1977 but it has been
downhill since. Back then the mistake was placing too much emphasis on the
national team with no plans for a back-up pool - and that is still the
problem today.

Van Huizen in limbo


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) must make a decision soon on the
status of Stephen van Huizen as national coach.
And if they want to land his services, it must come with the assurance
of a two to three-year contract and job security.
MHF have chosen to remain silent on the issue but time is running out on
them because next year, Malaysia are down to play a string of important
internationals starting with the Six-Nation tournament in Egypt in early
Then, there is the Dubai Invitation at the end of February and the
Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in April.
Centralised training begins next month and it is imperative the issue of
Van Huizen's position is solved by then.
If it's not, word is that MHF would appoint caretaker coach Yahya Atan -
who helped with the preparation of the Asian Games challenge - to take
charge of the team.
After Van Huizen's return from Bangkok, there has been speculation that
he wants to return to his employers, Bank of Commerce (BOC), and continue
training at club level.
BOC is believed to have given him an ultimatum on whether he wants to
continue his banking career or opt out to be national coach.
The news was relayed to van Huizen a few days before the squad headed
for Bangkok on Dec 4.
MHF are keen to have a discussion with BOC to iron out matters before
taking their case to the National Sports Council (NSC).
"Right now, we have not made any decision because we have yet to meet
his employers. MHF have not heard anything from Van Huizen himself, we
have only read about his intentions in the newspapers.
"After the year-end holidays, we will meet BOC to get a clearer
picture," said MHF secretary S. Satgunam.
Since MHF have proven themselves to be fickle-minded when it comes to
local coaches, the danger of finding himself jobless after the Azlan Shah
Cup looms large in Van Huizen's mind.
"The MHF understand Van Huizen's dilemma. He has a tough choice to make
and we will try to help him make a decision soon."
Certain quarters have blamed the poor outing in Bangkok to the stand
taken by BOC but Van Huizen denied the allegations.
"I did not inform anybody on the issue except the team manager (R.
Yogeswaran), so the players did not know," Van Huizen was reported as
Malaysia bungled with a draw against Japan in the opening match while in
the fifth-placing playoff, Malaysia beat China 1-0.
* TERENGGANU will host next year's national Under-15 boys' hockey
tournament in Kuala Terengganu.
The non-availability of a proper pitch had also hampered the preparation
of the State squad, he said.
Hamzah said the new dessoturf pitch at the Batu Buruk Stadium is
expected to be ready in February.

The mind is willing but the body is weak


HIDAYAT Hamidon and Matin Guntali returned emptyhanded from the Asian
Games in Bangkok, but nobody was annoyed with their performance.
Hidayat in the 69kg, and Matin, in 54kg, were not medal prospects at the
Asiad. But the duo went with the hope of finishing among the top six,
which they failed. That was no surprise really.
The unexpected and the unexplained is the way the National Sports
Council (NSC), who played a pivotal role in grooming these weightlifters;
and the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), in whose hands rest the
selection for international assignments.
Undeniably, both tend to rely on `time-tested' athletes. But all is not
lost in the sport, at least as far as Hidayat and younger lifters like
Abdul Rahman are concerned. The 22-year-old Hidayat has age on his side
while Matin, 34, should have retired after winning three bronze medals at
the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.
It might seem cruel to many, especially since Matin was responsible for
the revival of the sport in Malaysia when he lifted a silver medal at the
1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games and proved his mettle again in Kuala
But the crux of the matter is the Malaysian Weightlifting Federation and
the NSC should stop relying on `old hands' and instead start exposing new
"The National Sports Council (NSC) must start preparing young athletes
for the 2002 Olympics and the 2006 Asian Games, which Malaysia hope to
"They should not rely on aging stars because by doing so, they are
neglecting the youth who will lead Malaysia's challenge into the next
century," said Malaysia's first Commonwealth gold medallist Koh Eng Tong.
It is a known fact, among the lifters, that at 34, weightlifters tend to
lose their touch and even though the mind is willing, the body is weak.
As the body ages, it becomes increasingly harder to add the kilos on the
Defying all odds, Matin has announced his plans to actively compete for
another 10 years, with the Manchester 2002 Commonwelath Games his main
Weightlifting was a struggling sport when it was incorporated into the
Jaya '98 programme in 1993, which was mooted to prepare for the KL Games
and it produced champions like Hidayat and Matin.
But the programme must not stop with these achievements, and NSC
director-general Datuk Mazlan Ahmad promised as much.
NSC have embarked on an ambitious programme which included the hiring of
foreign coaches from Europe and China and the distribution of
weightlifting equipment to centres of excellence in the States.
NSC bought equipment and stationed coaches at centres in Terengganu,
Johor, Malacca, Sabah and Sarawak. They also extended help to centres in
other States with a Chinese coach looking after Rompin and a Bulgarian in
Malacca while local coaches look after the other States.
Now that Malaysia have committed themselves to bid for the 2008
Olympics, a new development plan will be formulated and a band of foreign
coaches will be hired, according to Mazlan.
Weightlifting is a specialised sport which needs sport scientists with
credentials, like present national coach Slava Lelikov, to groom the
Also, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) are keen to
promote Malaysia as a centre of excellence in South-East Asia.
All Malaysia have to do is provide a training venue and the rest will be
taken care of. The proposal is still being discussed and looks promising.
With the undivided attention of the NSC on the sport, coupled with the
assistance from the IWF, the future of weightlifting looks bright - if we
don't repeat the mistake of banking on old muscles again.

Fifa give Halim due recognition


HALIM Abdul Hamid, the referee who officiated at the World Cup '98 in
France, received a tremendous career boost when he was promoted to full
Fifa referee.
Halim, who has been an assistant Fifa referee since 1993, made his name
in France where he officiated three preliminary round matches and one
second round match.
FA of Malaysia (FAM) director of referees, George Joseph, confirmed
Halim's appointment and said that with the latest appointment, Malaysia
now have six Fifa referees.
The five established Fifa referees are Nazri Abdullah, Nik Ahmad Yaakub,
S. Selvarajah, Zainal Abidin Yaacub and Sukri Mat Amin.
"Halim was promoted after his good performance at the France World Cup
where he received good marks for the four matches that he officiated,"
said Joseph in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Halim came under the spotlight when he handled the second round match
between England and Argentina.
It was an exciting match where England playmaker David Beckham received
marching orders. Halim acquited himself well in this key match.
In the preliminaries, Halim officiated the Morocco-Norway, Colombia-
Romania and Cameroon-Chile matches.
Before becoming a fulltime referee Halim, who comes from Kangar, did try
his hand as a soccer player and represented the Armed Forces in the Semi-
Pro League from 1986-1989.
Meanwhile, Nazri will not be able to do World Cup duty, no thanks to
Fifa rules. The retirement age for Fifa referees is 45 and Nazri, born on
Jan 23, 1955, will have one more season before retirement.
This has effectively ruled him out of possible duty at the 2002 World
Cup to be co-hosted by Japan and South Korea.
Nazri, however, had officiated at the pre-World Cup. He refereed the
England-San Marino match in 1993.
Fifa referees: Mohamed Nazri Abdullah, Nik Ahmad Nik Yaakub, S.
Selvarajah, Zainal Abidin Yaacub, Sukri Mat Amin.
Assistant Fifa referees: Ishak Ismail, M. Elagkoven, Kassim Kadir Bacha,
Ghani Ishak, Azimi Abdullah, Ismail Salleh, Mohamed Lazim, Awang Hamat.

Asum in the good books


THE successes of Lim Keng Liat and Elvin Chia at the recent Asian Games in
Bangkok have set the wheels of fortune in motion for the Amateur Swimming
Union of Malaysia (Asum).
The elusive Asiad gold medal that Malaysia had been chasing for years
was finally delivered by Lim in the 100m backstroke at the Thammasat
University Aquatics Centre in Bangkok.
Buoyed by that success, the National Sports Council and Asum now want
more. And in their scramble to unearth more calibre swimmers, they have
listed 30 names for full-time training and the chance for more
international exposure.
The NSC are also ready to open the lid of their coffers for Asum.
"Since swimming is compulsory for the Asian Games and the Olympics, the
NSC are keen to promote the sport on a larger scale," said NSC director
general Datuk Mazlan Ahmad. "For a start, we have told Asum to provide us
with a plan and we will appoint a project manager who will eventually draw
a blueprint for the 2001 Sea Games.
"But we will not stop at Sea Games level. The plan will be extended for
the 2008 Olympics."
Swimming is not the only sport the NSC are keen to promote. Athletics,
another compulsory sport for the Asian Games and the Olympics, is also on
the list.
"We did not do well in athletics at the Bangkok Asiad but that does not
mean we will neglect the sport. We have instructed the Malaysian AAU to
submit their plans for the future," said Mazlan.
Lim reversed the sagging fortunes of swimming in breathtaking fashion as
his triumph not only gave Malaysia their the first gold medal but it was
also the first time a Malaysian swimmer had won in the pool at the Asian
Games. He even set a Games and national record of 55.53s.
Mazlan declined to reveal the amont of money the NSC will be pumping
into Asum.
"We have yet to agree on the amount because it'd depend on Asum's plans.
But we certainly want to improve the status of swimming and athletics to
prepare for our 2006 (Asian Games) and 2008 (Olympics) bids," said Mazlan.
Chia, who won a bronze in the 100m breaststroke, and Lim, who also won a
silver in the 200 backstroke, will continue training overseas.
For next year, the major tournaments they will be taking part in are the
World Cup in Hong Kong in April, and the Pan-Pacific meet in Sydney.

Six bound for German stint


GERMANY is becoming a favourite training ground for Malaysian hockey
If the latest arrangement by German coach Paul Lissek is accepted by the
Malaysian HF, six juniors from the Project 2001 squad will get the chance
to play in the German National Hockey League as well as in a Four-Nation
tournament next year.
Lissek, who whipped up a respectable Malaysian team in two months for
the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games, wants to inculcate `German thinking'
in the Malaysian juniors to prepare them for the 2001 Junior World Cup.
"We received a fax from Lissek yesterday in which he proposed that six
juniors play in the German League to prepare for the Asian junior
championship in 2000 (which will also double up as the Junior World Cup
qualifiers in Malaysia)," said National Sports Council director general
Datuk Mazlan Ahmad.
"The NSC have agreed in principle to his suggestion."
The six to be recommended for the stint are Chua Boon Huat and Suhaimi
Ibrahim (Red and White Munich); K. Keevan Raj and K. Logan Raj
(Monchengladbach); Madzli Ikmar and Syayrim Uda Karim (Black and White
All the players featured in Lissek's Commonwealth Games training
programme although Madzli and Syayrim did not make the final 16.
Monchengladbach will be handled by Lissek, Red and White Munich by
German team manager Braum Gartner while Black and White Neuss by German HA
vice-president Walther Longess.
"All the teams are in the Division One Southern League and the plan is
similar to the one in 1997, which saw five seniors play with Germans
"I believe the stint was furitful as the five seniors returned better
"Right now, we have several players who might not be able to play for
the country in the near future, so we have decided to send the juniors
The six juniors will head for Germany in early March to prepare for the
first half of the League, which is from April to the end of May.
During the break, the players will return to Malaysia and train with the
national team from June to July.
At the end of July, they will return to Germany to play in the League as
well as in a Four-Nation tournament in England in August.
"Lissek has arranged for a Four-Nation among Malaysia, Germany, England
and Poland. The NSC will send 12 more players from the 2001 Project squad
to form a team for that tournament," said NSC hockey co-ordinator Ariffin
This will be the second attachment stint for national hockey players. In
the previous stint in 1997, S. Kuhan, R. Shankar, Kerpal Singh, Nor Azlan
Bakar and Chairil Anwar Aziz played in the three-month Bundesliga as part
of their preparations for the World Cup in Utrecht.
Malaysia failed to qualify for the Junior World Cup in Milton Keynes,
England last year for the first time after finishing fifth in the Asian
Junior Cup two years ago.

Penang, KTJ stroll into semis


THE Milo-National Schools Under-18 women's soccer at the Police Depot
ground in Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur, was a wet but lively affair.
The constant drizzle failed to stop Penang Combined Schools and Kolej
Tuanku Ja'afar (KTJ) from booking their tickets to the semifinals at the
same venue today.
They will meet Perlis Combined Schools and Sultan Ibrahim High School of
Johor respectively.
Yesterday, Penang Schools started attacking Tuanku Ampuan Durah School
from the whistle.
Tuanku Ampuan cracked under pressure when left winger Fatimah Talib made
a pass to the penalty area which resulted in a goalmouth melee. Norfaezah
Ngah took control of the ball and scored Penang's first in the seventh
In the 27th minute, a Penang player handled the ball in the penalty box
and the referee pointed to the spot. Tuanku Ampuan's Wan Norzamzalina has
the goalkeeper diving in the wrong way.
After the breather, Penang's Siti Salwa Khalid made a good pass to
Srimarziwati Pahrurazzi who kicked in their second goal.
After that goal, Tuanku Ampuan players looked lost and let in an easy
goal in the 55th minute. The match winner was Diana Talib.
At the adjacent field, Kolej Tuanku Ja'afar (KTJ) hammered Tunku Ampuan
Najihah High School (TAN) 7-1 for a place in the semis.

KTJ struggle, easy for Penang


KOLEJ Tuanku Ja'afar (KTJ) from Mantin, Seremban, had to wait until the
sudden-death penalty shootout to make the final of the Milo-National
Schools Under-18 Girls' soccer at the Police Depot ground in Kuala Lumpur
At the adjacent field, Penang Combined Schools had a relatively easy
semifinal when they beat Perlis Combined Schools 3-0.
Sultan Ibrahim High School (SIHS) from Johor had their first look at
goal in the sixth minute and Rozana Roslan chipped the ball over KTJ
goalkeeper Yeo May Chua for the lead.
In the 20th minute, KTJ's Lydia Tulip made a solo run from midfield to
beat SIHS goalkeeper Tengku Mariam for the equaliser.
After the breather, good defending by KTJ's Tan Kelee and May Chua
denied an attacking SIHS the winner on numerous occasions.
The match went into extra time but both teams failed to score.
In the penalty shoot-out, only KTJ's Lydia and SIHS's Rozana managed to
score, the others either shot wide or straight at the goalkeeper.
The match went into sudden death and STJ skipper Suriani Kempe took them
into the final.
The scorers for Penang combined schools were Normasturatul 'Ain (5th,
48th) and Hernani Halyas (21st).
In the morning, Tuanku Ampuan Durah School from Seremban beat Tunku
Ampuan Najihah High School, also from Seremban, 2-0 for fifth placing.
TODAY - 3rd placing: Perlis Combined Schools v SIHS (8.30am); Final: KTJ
v Penang Combined Schools (4.30). - both at Police Depot ground.

Andersonians shut out


NISHEL Kumar and Azman Shamsuddin saw Tampin District through to the
semifinals of the MHF-Milo National Junior League yesterday with a
handsome win over last year's runners-up Andersonians at the Sultan Azlan
Shah Stadium yesterday.
Old La Sallians of Klang (Olak), Electrical Switchgear Automation (ESA)
of Penang and Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (PJMC) are the other
Tampin District went ahead in the 34th minute when they received a
penalty stroke which Nishel tucked away nicely.
In the 49th minute Azman Shamsuddin, who scored two goals against Sultan
Abu Bakar College (SABC) of Johor on Saturday, scored a field goal to give
Tampin a 2-0 lead.
Andersonians pulled one back when Ho Kok On scored off a penalty corner
in the 62nd minute.
In the other matches, Olak defeated Pahang Sports Council (PSC) 7-1 at
the Kuantan Stadium while PJMC defeated Klang Municipal Council (KMC) 7-2
at the Petaling Jaya Stadium.
PJMC's Samsul Kamal started the rout in the eight minute off a field
goal and went ahead to score a hat-trick in the 35th and 64th minutes.
KMC's Mohamed Sharul made a solo run from midfield to pull one back in
the 14th minute. However, despite goals from Mohamed Faizal (24th),
Mohamed Hafiz (29th) and Samsul (51st) PJMC failed to break a fighting
performance from KMC who scored their second goal through Arifin Hasim.
After the break, PJMC's Mohamed Zabidi (55th), Hafiz (59th) and Samsul
sealed the match.
At the Kuantan Stadium, the Olak players who attained their names on the
score sheet were Shahrizal Mastor, Mohamed Faizal (two goals), Katar
Batcha, Mohamed Amin (two goals) and Kamal Affendy.
Mohamed Ali scored the sixth goal in the Leaque for Pahang Sports

Tampin drawn to meet champions ESA in the semifinals


TAMPIN District, who upset last year's runners-up Andersonians 2-1 at the
Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh on Sunday, will have to bring out their
best again in the semifinals of the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior League hockey.
They meet Electrical Switchgear Automation (ESA) of Penang while
Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (PJMC) play Old La Sallians of Klang
(Olak) for a place in the final.
ESA beat Tampin 5-0 in the earlier matches.
"It will be an uphill task but if the players produce the form against
Andersonians, we have a good chance of making the final," said Tampin team
manager Jusvir Singh after the semifinals draw at the Bukit Jalil Hockey
"Tampin did not do well in the earlier part of the League because we met
the top teams in MPPJ, Olak and ESA. Once the players got their act
together, we even managed to upset Andersonians so nothing is impossible."
Tampin is a place where many national and former national players were
produced and for this League they have national trainee S. Nishel Kumar,
who has scored nine goals thus far, and a host of talented players to bank
on for the crunch against ESA.
Olak team manager Joseph de Silva said: "I'm happy with the draw, we
drew 1-1 with MPPJ in the preliminaries. Now we have a chance of becoming
double champions."
Malaysia Hockey Federation (MHF) deputy president Datuk P. Alagendra
announced at the draw that the RM500 per-win reward in the preliminaries
have been extended for the semifinals and the final as well.
"There will be no gate collections for the final, we hope the fans will
turn out in force," he said.
FIXTURES - June 20 s-finals, 1st leg: PJMC v Olak (PJMC Stadium, 5.0);
ESA v Tampin (Universiti Sains Malaysia, 5.0).
June 22 - 2nd leg: Olak v PJMC (PJMC Stadium, 5.0); Tampin v ESA (Bkt
Jalil, 5.0).
June 28 - 3rd (3.30); Final (5.30) - Bukit Jalil.

Olak aim to stay unbeaten


LEAGUE champions Old La Sallians of Klang (Olak) are yet to lose a match
in the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior League hockey and they aim to keep the record
in the first leg of the semifinals against Petaling Jaya Municipal Council
(PJMC) at the PJMC Stadium tomorrow.
Their only draw was against PJMC and team manager Joseph de Silva said
his players are ready for a win this time around.
"Today (yesterday) we trained on penalty corners. That is our weakest
point, we have only scored two goals from the 57 we received in the
"With the League title in our hands, we are confident of winning a
double this year. Morover nine former Olak players are in the PJMC team
this year. We should be able to read their game and know what to expect,"
said de Silva.
Olak can also rely on skipper Syayrim Uda Karim, who has scored eight
goals thus far, Mohamed Faizal (7) and Kamal Affendy (5) to do the damage.
And if Olak become double champions, there is more than the RM25,000
prize money to look out for. Team president Datuk Jeffrey Ng Keng Keong,
who is away on a business trip to South Africa, said earlier that they can
expect something rewarding.
PJMC are also yet to lose a match in the League but they have not been
consistent. They drew 1-1 with Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) only to
bounce back with a convincing 5-2 win against Tampin District in the next
"We expect a tough match and are prepared for it. The players have been
training well for the past few days and Olak can expect a handful," said
PJMC coach Avtar Singh.
"Our recent training has centred around penalty corners. We have only
scored 12 of the 61 we received."
Penalty corners have been the sore point of the League, and the 12 PJMC
have scored is the best percentage. Most other teams have only about four
per cent conversion rate to show.
"We may not field Mohamed Zabidi and Mohamed Hafiz in the first leg
because they are injured. If they don't recover in time it will be a great
loss because Hafiz is the top scorer in the League with 15 goals and
Zabidi has scored three."
OLAK: Roslan Jamaluddin, Katar Batcha, Mohamed Radzi, Mohamed Faizal,
Mohamed Amin, Mohamed Madzli, Kulvinder Singh, Mohamed Badrul, Syayrim Uda
Karim, Mohamed Ezral, Redzuan Ponirin, Sukhwinder Singh, Mohamed
Fakaaruddin, Shahrizal Mastor, Rahal Hafizan, Saiful Azhar, Kamal Affendy,
Zairi Tamin.
PJMC: Adzarin Shah, S. Suresh, Ahmad Zanawi, Rozhan Razman, Fakrul
Adabi, Mohamed Faizal, Sharizal Shamsudin, Mohamed Redzuan, Khairul Nizam,
Azrul Affendy, Mohamed Hafiz, Azlan Saufi, Chua Boon Huat, Mohamed
Rashidan, Samsul Kamal, Mohamed Zabidi, Azizi Mutalib, Ng Su Khiam.

Underdogs Tampin aim to shut out hot-shots ESA


AS the MHF-Milo-NSC National Junior Hockey League reaches its climax,
Tampin District will go into their semifinal as underdogs, but the team
from Negri Sembilan feel they have an excellent chance of upsetting
defending champions Electrical Switchgears Automation (ESA) in the first
leg at the Universiti Sains Malaysia pitch today.
Tampin qualified for the semifinals despite making a shaky start to the
season and team manager Jusvir Singh believes his players have what it
takes to go far.
"We have no `imports' in our team, all the players are from Tampin
District itself," said Jusvir.
And the homegrown talent are beginning to show promise. They even
managed to upset one of the pre-tournament favourites, Andersonians, 2-1,
to make the semifinals.
"We lost 5-0 to ESA in the preliminary rounds but that does not bother
us, the underdog tag suites us fine as there will be no pressure on my
boys when they take to the field," said Jusvir.
"Without the no-offside ruling, anything is possible. If we manage to
hold them to a draw, the second leg is going to be an exciting one."
Tampin top scorer S. Nishel Kumar, with nine goals to his credit, is
likely to be checked and will have a tough time making any attempt at
goal. They also may not field Talent Squad trainee Suhaimi Ibrahim who did
not turn up for two matches.
"Although he has apologised we are not happy with his excuse. We cannot
condone indiscipline even if he is a national player," said Jusvir.
"Certainly, he is an asset and we will have to reconsider his appeal
tomorrow (today)."
ESA, last year's double champions, lost the League title to Old La
Sallians of Klang (Olak) and are expected to go all out for the overall
"We did hand Tampin a sound beating in the earlier match, but the semis
are a different ball game. Tampin have improved since and I have told my
boys not to be overconfident," said ESA team manager S. Kali Kavandan
"We will play our normal game but Tampin can expect a tough fight."
ESA have only lost to Olak and hammered Penang Juniors (7-0) and Bukit
Jalil Sports School (9-0)in their last two matches. If their upward trend
is anything to go by, Tampin are in trouble.
Their top scorer is fullback Dexter Kang Tai Chin with six goals, but ESA
will not rely on him alone to perform as they have 11 other players who
have made the goalscorer's list.
TAMPIN: Kumar Subramanian, Hazazie Hashim, Mohamed Niza Herme, Arul
Kumar, Ali Afdah, Candra Zulkifli, Mohamed Taqrish, Mohamed Azman, Hasnor
Hafiz, S. Nishel Kumar, Suhaimi Ibrahim, S. Sarawanan, Mohamed Fairuz,
Noreffendy Ramli, Norazlan Rahim, S. Sethupathi, Vijayan Govindaj, Mohamed
Kamarul, Raymond Chee, Mohamed Faries.
ESA: Mohamed Najib, Shazidi Yusoff, Shahzan Amir, K. Logan Raj, S.
Kathiresan, K. Keevan Raj, S. Santakumaran, S. Devan, Mohamed Rodzhanizam,
Mohamed Danir, M. Thayalan, Dexter Kang Tai Chin, M. Neruji, V. Asandan,
D. Baskaran, M. Jiva, Shahrin Zainal, Sanjeet Mohan, K. Ganesh, Syahrizal
Today - S-finals 1st leg: PJMC v Olak (PJMC Stadium, 5.0); ESA v Tampin
(Universiti Sains Malaysia, 5.0).
Sunday - 2nd leg: Olak v PJMC (PJMC Stadium, 5.0); Tampin v ESA (Bukit
Jalil, 5.0).
June 28 - 3rd placing (3.30); Final (5.30, Bukit Jalil Stadium).

Olak look good, Tampin promising


TAMPIN District held Electrical Switchgear Automation (ESA) of Penang to a 1-1 draw in the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior League semifinals first leg at the Universiti Sains Malaysia Stadium in Penang yesterday.
At the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council Stadium, League champions Old La Sallians of Klang (Olak) stamped their mark with an easy 3-0 win over
Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (PJMC).
This draw strengthens Tampin's chances of making the final when they
host ESA at the Bukit Jalil Hockey Stadium in the return leg tomorrow.
Tampin, who only had one penalty corner and two shots at goal yesterday, took the lead in the 57th minute through a field goal from Mohamed Fairuz.
Their joy was shortlived when ESA's V. Vasandan hammered home a penalty corner two minutes later.
ESA controlled the match and had 12 penalty corners and 10 shots at goal
but good defending by Tampin denied last year double champions full
Olak started from the whistle and received a penalty corner in the first
minute. Redzuan Ponirin's thundering shot whizzed past PJMC goalkeeper Adzarin Shah for the lead.
After that goal, PJMC came back strongly to pin Olak in their own half
for 15 minutes but good defending by goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin and
defender Kulvinder Singh shut them out.
Cheered on by a capacity crowd, Olak scored their second goal in the
19th minute when Syayrim Uda Karim pushed home his ninth goal of the
League. The score stood at 2-0 at half-time.
In the 44th minute, a good one-two by Hairul Anuar and Syayrim split the defence for Sukhwinder Singh to seal the match.
"Although two of our regulars did not play yesterday, we won because we
played as a team," said Olak team manager Joseph de Silva.
"Mohamed Fakaaruddin is down with fever while Mohamed Faizal injured his leg. I had to field two reserves and they played their hearts out.
"And in the return leg, we aim to go all out and make the final with a
comfortable margin.
"Our dream of winning the double is taking shape slowly," said Joseph.
PJMC coach Avtar Singh said the players failed to score because they did
not make use of the penalty corners that came their way.
"We received eight penalty corners but the players took direct shots at
goal, Olak's Roslan had an easy time stopping them.
"I told them before the match that Roslan is one of the best and they
must take indirect shots but that did not happen. A three-goal lead will
be hard to chase but Olak can expect a tough time tomorrow, we wil give
our best," said Avtar.
Tomorrow: S-finals 2nd leg: Olak v PJMC (PJMC Stadium, 5.0); Tampin v ESA (Bukit Jalil, 5.0); June 28 - 3rd placing (3.30); Final (5.30) - Bukit

Pressure on Olak, says Avtar


PETALING Jaya Municipal Council (PJMC) have three goals to chase but the
pressure is expected to be on Old La Sallians of Klang (Olak) in the MHF-
Milo-NSC Junior League hockey semifinals second leg today.
They must maintain their form if they want to make the final because
PJMC have the material to pull off an upset.
PJMC have a host of good players but they have been on a roller coaster
ride since the League started.
They beat Andersonians 6-1 and Penang Juniors 8-0 only to draw 2-2 with
Electrical Switchgear Automation (ESA). They also managed 1-1 draws with
a weak Sultan Abu Bakar College (SABC) and whipping boys Bukit Jalil
Sports School (BJSS).
"A three-goal margin is hard to overcome but don't expect us to give up
meekly. Olak will have to bring out their best as we will fight till the
end," said PJMC coach Avtar Singh.
And with injured League topscorer Hafiz Hussin up and running, PJMC have
the capabilities of causing an upset.
Olak, who will march in with a comfortable 3-0 lead, are also no
"When we won the League title, I told my boys to go for the overall
title and we are just two steps away now. PJMC are a good side but we have
the advantage," said Olak assistant team manager Joseph de Silva.
"We have also brushed up on our penalty corner setpieces, it has been
our sore point but we did turn the first leg into our favour with a first
minute penalty corner goal. We hope to score early in the return leg too."
In the other semifinal, success for Tampin District, who held ESA of
Penang 1-1 in the first leg on Friday, did not come overnight.
They started the League campaign on a shaky note and lost 3-2 to Olak,
drew 2-2 with SABC and lost 5-2 to PJMC.
"The players were just getting used to each other then," said Tampin
team manager Jusvir Singh.
"Most of them come from Datuk Taha Secondary in Gemencheh and Tunku
Besar Secondary in Tampin and had not played as a team for long."
But once they started moving as a team, they beat Klang Municipal
Council (KMC) 4-1 and Pahang Sports Council (PSC) 3-0.
"We have achieved our target of making the semis, making the final will
be a bonus. We will go all out for full points.
"I have told my players to enjoy themselves, there should be no pressure
to deliver. But that does not mean we will slacken our pace. ESA can
expect a tough fight."
Coached by V. Vikraman and Roslan Mohamed, Tampin are capable of
shutting out last year's double champions ESA if they play their normal

Hafiz, up and running now


HAFIZ Hussin from Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (PJMC) has scored 15
goals in the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League but on Friday, he was
unable to stop Old La Sallians of Klang (Olak) from winning by a
comfortable 3-0 margin.
No, he has not lost his touch. He injured his leg in the earlier matches
and as a result, was seen limping against Olak.
"I felt very bad not being able to help my teammates in the first leg of
the semifinals, I will try my best to score in the second leg today," said
The 19-year-old League topscorer, who has been given a clean bill of
health for the return leg, played with the PJMC senior side for three
years before joining the juniors and attributes his abilities to
"Playing with the seniors was a valuable experience, they play a fast
game and we have learnt that there is no place for individualism," said
"Team spirit is what wins matches."
And Hafiz has been a team player in the League, running up and down with
the ball, he thinks nothing of making a pass in the semicircle if he sees
his teammates unmarked.
"I scored nine field goals because there is a good understanding between
the PJMC forwards, if they didn't make the openings I could not have
scored so many."
The left inside played for Sri Serdang Secondary and has helped his
school win the Inter-Schools and Inter-District titles.
"Playing at school level was fun, now it is serious business. I hope I
am able to help my employers make the final. It is going to be an uphill
battle but we have not thrown in the towel yet. We need to score early if
we want to see action in the final."
Hockey is not his only love, Hafiz is an all-rounder. He plays soccer,
sepaktakraw and is an active athlete: "But my aim is to play hockey at the
national level."
With the League topscorer award as good as his, as his nearest
challenger is on nine goals, his aim does not seem to be that far off.

Plucky Olak and ESA reach final


(Olak win 5-2on aggregate)
(ESA win 3-1on aggregate)
PETALING Jaya Municipal Council (PJMC) played their hearts out but it was
not good enough to deny League champions Old La Sallians of Klang (Olak) a
place in the final of the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League at the PJMC
Stadium yesterday.
And at the Bukit Jalil Hockey Stadium, Electrical Switchgear Automation
(ESA) of Penang pulled up their socks in the second half to beat Tampin
District 2-0.
Olak started with a bang, and just like the first leg of the semifinal
where they won 3-0, they scored a field goal in the first minute through
Sukhwinder Singh.
After that goal, PJMC came charging back with numerous chances at goal
but failed to equalised until the 31st minute when Hafiz Hussin converted
a penalty stroke.
With two minutes to go before half-time, Hafiz scored his 17th goal of
the League to give PJMC the lead for the first time.
But luck was not with them as just after the breather, Olak's Mohamed
Amin scored a penalty stroke to equalise 2-2. Though the scoreline stood
until the final whistle, it was Olak who qualified for the final on a 5-2
"I am proud of my players because they played their very best out there.
We did all the right things but a three-goal margin is hard to chase. Luck
was also not on our side," said PJMC coach Avtar Singh.
As for Olak, they are just a step away from winning a double this
"If the boys play like the way they did against PJMC today (yesterday) we
have a good chance of winning another title," said Olak assistant team
manager Joseph de Silva.
At Bukit Jalil, Tampin pinned ESA in the semicircle for a good part of
the first half with hardworking skipper S. Nishel Kumar causing the most
It took Tampin ten minutes into the game to sound the board but just as
the ball rolled over the line, umpire Brian Fernandez penalised ESA for an
infringement and instead gave away a penalty corner.
Five minutes later Tampin's Noreffendy Ramli took an on-the-turn shot at
goal only to miss the top bar by inches.
ESA, however, were a fresh side when play resumed and goals by V.
Vasandan (54th) and K. Ganesh (67th) were enough to take them into the
final with a 3-1 aggregate.
"Tampin were a tough side to beat and I am glad we played as a team and
made the final," said ESA team manager Kali Kavandan.
"Now we have a chance to settle old scores with Olak. We lost the League
title to them but aim to keep this one."
FIXTURES: June 28 - 3rd placing (3.30); Final (5.30) - Bukit Jalil
Hockey Stadium.

Gold medal target for schoolboys


MALAYSIA aim to bring home a gold medal from the Asean Schools Sepaktakraw
Championships in Surabaya, Indonesia, on July 21-28.
Chief coach Syed Akhir Syed Rahman is confident that his charges will
better the silver medal won in Brunei last year.
"Last year we lost to Thailand in the final but we are better prepared
now, our target is to win gold," said Syed at the Bukit Jalil Sports
School yesterday.
Twenty-five players were selected after the National Schools
Championships in Johor Baru, where Malacca won the team event and Kedah
the inter-regu title, and started their second phase of centralised
training at Bukit Jalil on Monday.
The players will train until tomorrow and 12 will be shortlisted to form
four regus. Three regus will take part, the fourth will be on standby.
"Most of them have not played together so right now we are trying them
out with various partners."
"At the end of the day we will select the best 12 and if we meet
Thailand in the final, since they are still the best, we hope for an
upset," said Syed.
TRAINEES - Tekong: Mohamed Yazid, Mohamed Fauzi, Syahrulnizam Said,
Bunawan Zulkifli, Azrul Hisham, Nordanial Hamzah, Saipullah Seman, Mohamed
Hirman; Apit Kanan: Azam Heider, Zulkhuari Rahman, Mohamed Faizal, Mohamed
Shahril, Rahim Adnan, Putra Ghani, Joshua Erang, Norhaidi Zinor, Mior
Angah, Mohamed Isa; Apit Kiri: Sharil Rashid, Mohamed Rahmat, Mohamed
Asmawi, Norakmal Firdaus, Sufian Johari, Mazlan Burhan, Rukman Mustapha.
TEAMS: Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Philippines, Singapore, Laos.

More than the cash at stake for ESA and Olak


LAST year's double champions Electrical Switchgear Automation (ESA) and
League champions Old La Sallians of Klang (Olak) will have more than just
the RM25,000 in mind when they square off in the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior
League final tomorrow.
If ESA win they become the first team to bag the overall title back-to
back and if Olak triumph, they will become the third team to win both
titles in the same year.
Yayasan Negri Sembilan were double champions in 1995 and ESA equalled
this feat last year while Olak look a good bet for the same tomorrow.
"Although we beat ESA 1-0 for the League title, I have told my players
not to be overconfident because anything can happen in the final," said
Olak assistant team manager Joseph de Silva.
"The boys have been training hard the past few days and morale is high,
winning a double is what they want now."
With the second title just a step away, Olak have suffered a setback
when they lost top scorer Syayrim Uda Karim to two yellow cards but de
Silva does not think it is a major setback.
"Yes, we will miss Syayrim in the final but hockey is a team sport and
my boys have been playing to perfection. Teamwork will see us through
again. The teams who have relied on a few selected players have ended the
League empty handed," added de Silva.
Olak have had a dramatic rise to the top. They finished seventh three
years ago and were sixth last year.
"The team was formed because I noticed many talented players did not
have the avenue to sharpen their skills.
"Once it was formed, we won many six-a-sides and other hockey carnivals
in Klang. That was when we decided to have our own youth development
programme and it has paid off handsomely." he said.
Goalkeeper Saiful Azhar is a product of the programme and the Malaysian
Hockey Federation Talent Squad player is one of Olak's aces in their deck.
A pillar of confidence between the posts, he and former Andersonians
goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin have done a good job so far.
"But good goalkeepers alone are of no use if their team is weak. Saiful
was 13-years-old when he started playing for Olak and has come a long way
since then," he added.
ESA will have a tough job prising open the Olak defence and coach Bob
Rajendran is fully aware of it.
"Yes, this is one match (against Olak) we are looking forward to. I can
safely say that it is going to be an explosive affair," said Rajendran
after the semifinals.
"ESA have been playing well, the only thing they haven't been doing is
making use of all the chances available. We must improve on penalty
corners, we have missed too many in the League."
ESA will rely on K. Keevan Raj, K. Logan Raj, Mohamed Rodhanizam and
Dexter Kang to do the damage.
The overall title comes with a RM25,000 purse but if the match goes into
sudden-death and penalty flicks, the prize money will be shared.
The fight for third placing is expected to be just as interesting.
Tampin District and Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (PJMC) both have the
players to pull off a win.
TOMORROW - 3rd placing: Tampin v PJMC (3.30); Final: Olak v ESA (5.30) -
Bukit Jalil Hockey Stadium.