YAYASAN Negri Sembilan (YNS) plan to keep the score low when they square off against title contenders Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League today.
KLHC have opened up a four-point lead and a win against YNS today and Sapura tomorrow will see them sailing towards the title as they only have to win one more match against two weak opponents.
If KLHC collect maximum points this weekend, they only have to beat either Nur Insafi or Armed Forces-Airod and the title will be their with a match to spare against Tenaga Nasional.
Knowing the score well, YNS manager M. Gobinathan is preparing for the worst.
“I believe KLHC will be in a rampaging mood as the title is theirs to lose right now. And with our Pakistan imports not available for both the matches this weekend, we will have no chance of upsetting KLHC, and instead, will try and keep the score low,” said Gobinathan.
In the first round, KLHC whipped YNS 6-3, while their next opponents Sapura also received a 6-2 drubbing.
KLHC, lasts season’s League champions, have only lost 2-0 to Tenaga Nasional in the Charity Shield, after which they went on to win nine and draw one match.
“The fixtures are very intimidating as we will be playing our last match against the only team that we have lost to. That is why I plan to have enough points to claim the title with at least two matches in hand, to avoid the unnecessary pressure in the last match against Tenaga,” said KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj.
The YNS Pakistan back-bone returned home to play in an inter-department tournament, which was pre-agreed in their contracts.
Defender Mohamed Imran and forwards Shakeel Abbasi and Muhammad Waqas Sharif left to play for their departments, and that is why Gobinathan has thrown down the gauntlet. All three helped Pakistan beat Malaysia in the Asian Games final.
If KLHC survive this weekend, they play Nur Insafi (won 7-2) and Armed Forces-Airod (won 3-1) next and they only need three points to claim the League title, and have a well-deserved holiday in Malacca, as the encounter against Tenaga Nasional will turn into an exhibition, instead of pressure-cooker match.
PREMIER DIVISION: Friday -- Sapura v Nur Insafi (3.30pm), Maybank v UiTM (5.15pm), Tenaga Nasional v Armed Forces-Airod (7pm), Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club v Yayasan Negri Sembilan (8.45pm).
* All matches at the Tun Razak Stadium.
Saturday: Nur Insafi v Armed Forces-Airod (4pm), Sapura v Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (6pm), Maybank v Tenaga Nasional (8pm), UniKL v Yayasan Negri Sembilan (KLHA Stadium, 7.30pm).
* All other matches at the Tun Razak Stadium.
DIVISION ONE: Friday -- UniTen v Ipoh City Hall (KLHA Stadium, 5pm), Armed Forces Jnrs v Bukit Jalil Sports School (Education Ministry, 5pm), Malacca City Council v Universiti Sains Malaysia (Malacca, 5pm).
Sunday: Ipoh City Hall v Universiti Sains Malaysia (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5pm), UniTen v Bukit Jalil Sports School (KLHA Stadium, 5pm), Armed Forces Jnrs v Bandar PE nawar Sports School (Bandar Penawar, 5pm).
P W D L F A Pt
KLHC 11 9 1 1 50 17 28
UNIKL 12 7 3 2 21 16 24
TNB 11 7 1 3 25 14 22
SAPURA 11 7 0 4 31 21 21
YNS 12 7 0 5 38 28 21
NUR INSAFI 12 4 2 6 21 34 14
MAYBANK 11 2 3 6 12 18 9
ATM 12 2 0 10 12 37 6
UITM 12 2 0 10 18 43 6
P W D L F A Pt
ATM JNR 8 7 1 0 21 4 22
BPSS 7 5 0 2 15 11 15
BJSS 7 4 0 3 15 8 12
IPOH CH 9 3 2 4 15 19 11
MALACCA CC 8 3 0 5 10 10 9
USM 8 2 0 6 11 25 6
UNITEN 7 1 1 5 6 16 4