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Sunday December 29, 2013 MYT 8:50:00 PM
Sunday December 29, 2013 MYT 9:16:08 PM
by s. ramaguru
Blast from the past. Previous multiple National Junior Hockey League champions OLAK-PKT wants to bring back the glory years by winning the Div 2 crown next year to secure promotion to Div 1.
KUALA LUMPUR: Former three-time overall champions Old La Sallian Association of Klang-PKT (Olak-PKT) are confident of regaining their place in Division One of the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) next year.
After languishing in Division Two for the last two years, Olak made a determined bid to get promoted earlier this year.
But they fell short by finishing third and failed to make the cut for the knockout stage.
They are, however, optimistic of their chances this time around.
According to team manager Joseph De Silva, they have strengthened their side by handpicking nine players from Negri Sembilan and four from Sabah.
The rest of the squad are made of players from Selangor.
“We have also held a longer training session to get the team ready.
“We believe they can get the job done.
“To show our seriousness, we have set the target of winning the Division Two title as our main objective,” said Joseph on Sunday.
Olak’s optimism of gaining promotion has also been boosted by the decision to promote four Division Two teams to Division One next season.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee have decided that the 2015 MJHL will have 10 teams playing in Division One.
For the coming season, they are only seven teams in Division One. The last-placed team will be demoted the following year.
“I am sure we can be among the top four in the new season.
“With the format of allowing four teams into Division One in 2015, we will definitely make the cut,” he added.
Olak were the overall champions from 1988 to 2000.
They were also league champions from 1987 to 1999.
But from 2001 to 2009, they had to play second fiddle to Bukit Jalil Sports School, Bandar Penawar Sports School (now SSTMI) and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).
In 2010, they got demoted to Division Two.
Joseph said that in the early years they had the pick of good players and were able to mount a strong challenge.
“Once the sports schools started making inroads by having the best talents in their ranks, we were forced to take a back seat.
“But we have never backed down from taking part and had always been part of the tournament. We hope to regain our status as a Division One outfit.
“If we do that, I believe good players will play for us in the future,” he added.
A record 30 teams have entered for the 2014 season.
All the states in the peninsula are represented. The missing states are Sabah and Sarawak.
“We are the only team to have Sabah players. They are good players and I am sure they will shine,” said Joseph.
The four Sabahans in the team are Zakri Esar, Adrian Jack, Maxhans Chiristi and Mawardi Hamirin.
The MJHL will start on Jan 10. Olak will start their campaign in Division Two B against Permatang Juniors.
The other teams in the group are KLHC Juniors, Anderson Juniors, MSSD Larut Matang and Selama, Felda Academy Hockey Pahang, MSS Pahang and SMK Padang Midin.
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