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Wednesday January 1, 2014 MYT 6:38:00 PM
Wednesday January 1, 2014 MYT 7:01:29 PM
by aftar singh
Filepic shows BJSS players in 2011. The former five-time Malaysian Junior Hockey League double champions, are now playing in Div 2 of the league which begins on Jan 10.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), once the all-conquering team in the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and the provider of several stars for the national junior and senior team, are now in the doldrums.
BJSS, who have won a total of 12 titles, including five doubles – league and overall crowns – in the MHJL, are now struggling to make an impact in the Under-19 league which was inaugurated in 1995.
Last year the sports school had their worst outing in Division One, finishing a disappointing seventh out of eight teams and this season they face the unfamiliar scenario of playing in Division Two.
Among the BJSS players, who are now in the national senior team are defender and penalty corner specialist Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim, midfielders Mohd Sukri Abdul Mutalib and Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor and forward Tengku Ahmad Tajudin.
A total of 30 teams will feature in this season’s MJHL which begins on Jan 10. Seven teams will play in Division One while the remaining 23 teams have been divided into three groups in Division Two.
BJSS are drawn in Group C with SMK Tunku Besar of Tampin, SMK Datuk Mohd Taha of Gemencheh, BJSS Juniors, SMK Datuk Bentara Luar Batu Pahat, SM Sains Johor and Polytechnic-KPM of Johor.
BJSS coach S. Prakash said that they are struggling because they don’t have experienced players like the BJSS pre-university players.
“The other teams have roped in the pre-university players as they have offered them money,” said the school’s teacher-cum-coach Prakash.
“We cannot stop the pre-university players from playing for other teams. In their absence, we have to rely on our Form Four and Five students with the average age of 17, to play in the MJHL.
“The other teams have more depth as they have experienced players to lead their challenge,” said Prakash.
Prakash said their mission this year is to fight their way back to Division One in 2015.
“However, it is not going to be easy, as the teams in our group are stronger. We need to finish top two in our group to play in the second round playoffs for promotion,” said Prakash.
The top two teams in each of the three groups will be divided into two groups in the second round. And the teams who qualify for the semi-finals will also feature in the knockout stage together with the top four teams from Division One for the overall title.
The top two teams after the second round of the Division Two will be promoted to Division One in 2015.
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