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Sunday December 30, 2012
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Three teams will make their debut in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MHL) which begins on Jan 11.
1Mas of Penang, SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman of Ipoh and Kuala Langat of Selangor will join 20 other teams in the Under-19 league. A total of 26 teams competed in the league last season.
Conspicuously missing is Division Two champions Sapura. Negri Sembilan Project, MSP-Yayasan Pahang and Kedah HA Juniors are also not competing.
The 23 teams have been divided into two divisions.
The eight teams competing in Division One are double champions Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt, SSTMI Juniors, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), MBI-Anderson, MSSPP-USM, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and Malacca High School.
The three new sides and the remaining 15 teams will feature in Division Two.
Although the deadline for the entries closed yesterday, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will still accept teams interested in playing in the league.
“We have decided to extend the closing date by one more day. We hope to get 26 teams again to compete this season,” said MHC secretary Johari Aziz.
“We are happy that three new teams will be making their debut. We also welcome Sabah Juniors back in the league after a lapse of three years,” added Johari.
Sabah Juniors made their debut in 2009 and won the Division Two title.
Johari said that the competition committee would have a meeting in a few days’ time to decide on the league’s format.
“We will also decide how many teams from Division One and Two will qualify for the knockout stage for the overall title – the Milo Cup,” said Johari.
SSTMI-Thunderbolt, powered by 14 players from last season’s squad, will start as favourites to win their second consecutive double – league and overall titles. A total of RM145,500 is up for grabs. The final is slated for March 3.
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