New national hockey coach Arul Selvaraj has been tasked to bring home a medal from the Asian Games in Incheon next month. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions Perak and Kuala Lumpur will kick off the Division One action in the Razak Cup at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium on Sunday.
Perak, who have won the title seven times, will play hosts Pahang in Group A while KL face Penang.
In other Division One matches, Negri Sembilan take on Selangor in Group A while former champions Malacca and Johor have an opening date in Group B.
Perak coach K. Yogesweran said that the opening tie will be tough considering the team are without any top players.
“We do not have any national stars unlike last year. But I believe the players will rise to the occasion since they have played together for the last two years,” he said.
“The target will be to retain the title but I believe making the final will be an achievement in itself,” he said.
Negri Sembilan, who have made the semi-final for the last two years, aim to do better this year.
They last won the Razak Cup in 1977 and made the final in 2008 where they lost to KL.
Coach S. Chandran said they have a rather young side with a mix of experienced players to guide them.
“Our initial target is to qualify for the semi-final and then aim for the final. I think the competition will be more open this year with the national players barred from playing.”
Meanwhile, Terengganu continue to set the pace in Division Two when they chalked up their second win in as many matches.
The 2012 Division One champions defeated Armed Forces 7-1. Mohamed Sufi Ismat (6th, 33rd) and Faizal Saari (37th, 65th) scored a brace each. The other goals were scored by S. Baljit Singh (49), Ahmad Afiq Naquiddin (58) and Mohamed Syazuwan Firdaus in the 69th minute.
In another Division Two match, Kelantan and Kedah drew 1-1.