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Monday December 30, 2013 MYT 5:35:00 PM
Monday December 30, 2013 MYT 5:53:26 PM
by s. ramaguru
The jubilant SSTMI-Thunderbolt players celebrate their 2-1 victory over UniKL in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League final last year. UniKL has set the target of becoming league and overall champion this year. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: Former league and overall champions Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) have set their sights on the double in the coming season of the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL).
UniKL made their debut in 2009 and captured the league title. They then managed to win the overall title the next season.
“We have set a higher target for the new season as we’ve an experienced team. We have retained nine players from last year’s squad,” said team manager Mohamed Faiz Isa.
Mohamed Rodhanizam Mat Radzi, a former international, is the coach of the Division One outfit. He will be assisted by Saifu Azhar Mohamed Afandi. Besides the two, UniKL also have a panel of coaches to help in the team’s development. Those in the coaching panel include A. Arulselvaraj, Mohamed Nasihin Nubli and M. Nadarajah.
“The players have been in training for quite a while. They should have no problems playing as a team,” said Faiz.
“We also have four players with the experience of playing in the senior Malaysia Hockey League (MHL). They are Mohamed Hafif Elkan, Nor Azrul Abd Rahman, Norsyafiq Sumantri and Mohamed Azwar Abdul Rahman. Penang’s Mohamed Rahimi Iskandar, the top scorer in the recent National Under-21 Championships, is our latest recruit.
“I believe this team can match the best in the league,” added Faiz.
UniKL’s biggest threat to their title ambitions is defending double champions SSTMI-Thunderbolt.
The other teams in the seven-team Division One are KLSS Junior-MSS Kuala Lumpur, Malacca High School, Anderson, SSTMI Juniors and Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ).
UniKL will start their campaign on Jan 11 against promoted KLSS Junior-MSS KL.
In order to achieve the double, UniKL have paid a lot of attention on their penalty corner execution.
“We have four flickers – Mohamed Hafif Elkan, Mohamed Zulhaziq Hashim, Mohamed Rahimi Iskandar and Abdul Rauf Nazri – and we want them to try and out-stage each other. That way the players will give their best. They will also train harder at making sure they get a first-team place.
“We plan to take one step at a time and make sure that we bag full points in each match. With just seven teams in the fray, there is basically no room for mistakes. We have just six matches in the run-up to the league title, so every match is crucial,” said Faiz.
UniKL also have two experienced goalkeepers and Faiz believes they hold the key to their title ambitions.
Mohd Fitri Jasni was a member of the 2013 squad while Penang’s Mohamad Adi Fazri Ab Rahim is a new addition. Mohamed Adi was honoured with the best goalkeeper award in the National Under-21 Championships.
“At the end of the day the performance of the team in each match is what counts. For the players, a good performance in the MJHL will also mean a chance to vie for a place in the senior squad to play in the MHL. That in itself should serve as an incentive,” said Faiz.
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