KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) skipper Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman has had enough of playing bridesmaid in the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL).
He has been with the team since 2012 – and each time he has been forced to play second fiddle to SSTMI-Thunderbolt for both the league and overall titles.
So, when UniKL meet Thunderbolt in Sunday’s overall final, Nor Azrul is hoping to be third time lucky.
More so since he is already 19 years old and will be playing in his last MJHL.
He also wants to mark his inclusion in the Project 2016 team with a victory over favourites Thunderbolt.
“We haven’t played well this year but still managed to retain the runners-up spot in the league and made the overall final.
“I believe we have the material to win the final tomorrow (today). Thunderbolt are the favourites, no doubt but I want the overall title,” he said after a light workout at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday.
UniKL will also be counting on two players – Zizi Azwan Hassan Basri and Ahmad Ashraf Alias – who had won the overall titles with Thunderbolt in 2012 and 2013.
Team manager Mohd Faiz Isa is quietly confident of an upset win as he will also have eight players from last year’s team.
“So, there’s a bit of experience in the team. The players just have to stay calm and play their normal game. I’m aware that we’ll be up against a team who are definitely a shade better than us,” he said.
It will now be up to coach Mohd Rodhanizam Radzi to come up with a game plan to outwit his Thunderbolt counterpart Wan Mohd Roslan.
One aspect Rodhanizam has been working on is their penalty corner conversion.
“Our penalty corner conversion rate has been poor. We’ve worked extra hard in training and hope to get it right in the final,” said Rodhanizam, who is coaching the team for the first time.
“We must not give Thunderbolt too much space and concede unnecessary penalty corners. They are a top team ... unless you are at the top of your game, it will be tough.”