Wednesday, 5 February 2014 | MYT 4:09 PM
Two way battle for Division One title in hockey league
A file photo of UniKL forward Zizi Azwan Hassan Basri (left). He relishes the opportunity to get one over his former team SSTMI-Thunderbolt in the fight for the Division One title of the Malaysian Junior Hockey League.
KUALA LUMPUR: The battle for the Division One title of the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) could well be decided this weekend.
Two teams – defending champions Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) - are the favourites for the title and they will meet on Saturday to decide where the title is heading.
But before they clash, both the teams will play other opponents on Friday.
Thunderbolts of Johor, who lead the seven-team standings with maximum points from three matches, will make a stopover in Malacca to take on Malacca High School.
While UniKL, who are third in the standings, with maximum points from two matches, will play SSTMI Juniors on the same day at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium.
Both Thunderbolt and UniKL should collect full points in their Friday matches thus making the match on Saturday crucial, with the winner almost assured of the title.
Thunderbolt will be the team to beat as they have dominated the Under-19 league by winning both the league and overall titles for the last three years.
UniKL forward Zizi Azwan Hassan Basri wants to end Thunderbolt’s domination in the MJHL.
“I know Thunderbolt’s strengths and weaknesses because I played for them last season.
“They have retained most of their players from last season and are a tough nut to crack because they are solid in every department,” said Zizi, who joined UniKL because he got a good offer.
Zizi, who will turn 19 on March 17 and lives in Cheras, said it was up to them to get the better of Thunderbolt as they have been playing exceptionally well.
“They have a calibre strike force and also a solid backline. They have scored a massive 19 goals and conceded only one goal in three matches.
“Although we will be playing at home, we need to give more than 100% to end their unbeaten run in the league,” said Zizi, who has scored two goals in two matches.
Zizi, who represented Malaysia in the Australian Youth Olympic Games (AYOG) in Perth last year, said that they also have to be wary of the challenges posed by SSTMI Juniors.
“We cannot take SSTMI Juniors for granted as they will be going all out to beat us to help their seniors retain the title.
“We play SSTMI Juniors on Friday at 7pm, barely 24 hours before the crucial match against Thunderbolts on Saturday at 5pm. So, we need to play a smart game and make use of our chances well,” said Zizi, who is playing in his fifth and last season in the MJHL.