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Thursday September 5, 2013 MYT 4:39:00 PM
Thursday September 5, 2013 MYT 4:42:43 PM
by aftar singh
Mohd Shahrun Nabil (second from right) in the match against Japan in the recently-concluded Asia Cup. Nabil is hoping to recover from a calf injury in time to play in the Razak Cup.
KUALA LUMPUR: In the absence of three national players, Terengganu faces the daunting task of retaining the Razak Cup Division One title. The 51st edition of the games begins at the Wisma Belia Stadium in Kuantan on Sunday.
Terengganu created history in Kuantan last year when they defeated Pahang 3-0 in the Razak Cup final to win their first ever Division One title.
Forward Mohd Firhan Ashaari and the Saari brothers – forward Faizal and midfielder Fitri - will not feature for Terengganu this year.
Firhan and Fitri are training with the national juniors in preparation for the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium from Sept 22-29.
The national juniors who will feature in the Sultan of Johor Cup have been exempted from playing in the Razak Cup.
The 22-year-old Faizal, meanwhile, left for Germany on Wednesday to play for Berlin HC in the German Hockey League.
Terengganu, who stunned 19-time champion Kuala Lumpur 2-1 in the semi-finals last year, also won’t have the services of goalkeepers Mohd Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri and Mohd Hafizuddin Othman. The duo will feature in the Sultan of Johor Cup.
To make matters worse, Terengganu might lose another key player in national skipper Mohd Shahrun Nabil, who is down with a calf injury sustained at the Asia Cup in Ipoh on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Nabil said that he is fighting against time to recover from the injury.
“It is tiring to play in the Razak Cup after featuring in the Asia Cup, which ended on Sunday.
“Without five key players we will not stand a chance of retaining the title,” said Nabil.
Eight teams will compete in Division One and Terengganu are drawn in Group A with Negri Sembilan, Johor and last year’s Division Two champions Malacca.
KL, who finished third last year, are pitted in Group B with Pahang, Perak and Penang.
Terengganu will open their campaign against Negri Sembilan on Sunday.
KL, powered by a number of national players, will start as the favourites to win the title.
Seven teams – Armed Forces, Police, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Sabah - will compete in the Division Two games, which begin Friday.
Division Two teams will play in the round-robin format.
Selangor, who lost 5-4 to Malacca in the Division Two final last year, will open their campaign against Armed Forces Friday.
The Division One and Two finals are slated for Sept 15.
A. Force vs Selangor – 6pm – Pitch 1
Police vs Sabah – 6pm – Pitch 2
Kedah vs Perlis – 8pm – Pitch 1
(All matches at Wisma Belia Stadium)
Sabah vs A. Forces – 6pm – Pitch 1
Perlis vs Police – 6pm – Pitch 2
Kedah vs Selangor – 8pm – Pitch 2
Tags / Keywords:
hockey, Razak Cup, Terengganu, Mohd Firhan Ashaari, Faizal Saari, Fitri Saari, Mohd Shahrun Nabil
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