THE nine-day Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC)-1MAS-Milo National Under-14 (Boys and Girls) hockey tournament at the Bukit Serendit Malacca City Council Stadium and the Malacca High School Pitch saw Sabah bagging the boys’ title for the very first time while 2014 runners-up Kuala Lumpur went on to claim the crown.
Another interesting factor is that a total of 306 goals were netted in the 64 matches played. The figure is the highest recorded in the series since its inception in the mid-nineties.
National coaches Tai Beng Haia, Yahaya Atan and MHC technical director Terry Walsh, who dropped by at the venues, were impressed by the overall players’ skills and tactical play adopted.
Malacca Hockey Association (MHA) secretary Francis Leong said, “Between these three officials, 30 boys and a similar number of girls were picked to undergo periodical centralised coaching and training stints under the 1MAS scheme beginning early next year and aims to draft them into the national training squads for upcoming Asian and international-level tournaments.
Meanwhile, pre-tournament favourites Sabah won a thrilling 7-6 penalty shoot-out victory after sudden death following an exciting 2-2 stalemate with Perak in regulation time to capture the boys title.
Enterprising Sabah impressed in the 12th minute when nippy Nasrul Syahkhir Sadikul slipped past Perak defence to beat goalkeeper Mohd Danial Ahmed Kuzani from close range.
Undaunted, the silver state drew on level terms three minutes before the break.
Still dominating the exchanges in the second half, the east Malaysians regained the lead in the 63rd minute when Granson Noel Goden netted.
This goal looked like Sabah’s winner but Perak again tied up scores in the final minute of play.
Asraf Iqbal Alias slipped home the ball in the midst of a slack Sabah rearguard to send the final into a penalty shoot-out decision.
In the girls’ finals, Kuala Lumpur charged to a 3-0 advantage with only 20 minutes remaining.
Nur Syaza Aqifah Safain (8th), Khalilsha Nabilla Kamarulzaman (13th) and Hasya Syashida Saifuddin (53rd) netted the goals.
However, Selangor made a gallant fightback in the final stage of the game to pull back with two superb field goals.
Scorers included Anur Afira Mohd Ismail (52nd) and Nur Aisyah Fadzinu (62nd).
However, Selangor’s revival came too late as the city girls thereafter defended stoutly to hold out for a slim 3-2 victory.
Player of the Final Kirandeep Kaur (Kuala Lumpur)
Best Goalkeeper Siti Zaha Nasir (Kuala Lumpur)
Top Scorer Nur Surya Athira (Kuala Lumpur) with 10 goals)
Player of the Tournament Nor Asfarina Isahyifiqa Isahhidun (Sabah)
Player of the Final Granson Noel Goden (Sabah)
Best Goalkeeper Syed Lokman Syed Abdullah (Johore)
Top Scorer Muhammad Ikhmal Hakim Rodzi (Johore) with 9 goals)
Player of the Tournament Mohd Afiq Iqbal Ahmad Faudzi (Perak)