KUALA Selangor’s victory in the District Training Programme (DTP) Division Five of the 2017 TNB-QNET-Selangor Hockey League came as no surprise.
The talented bunch of Under-14s, led by coach Muhammad Syukuri Mazlan, stood out among the other nine schooling districts to finish on top of the league, unbeaten and averaging 11 goals over six matches.
Kuala Selangor thrashed Kuala Langat district 12-0 during the final held at the Education Ministry Hockey Stadium in Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur.
The squad played with fluidity during the one-sided match, cutting through Kuala Langat’s defence and foiling their attacks without much difficulty, thanks to their strong midfield and defence.
The stands were filled with lively supporters comprising family, school staff and friends during the finals.
Syukuri said the team’s success was because of hard work and preparations before the start of the league as well as anticipating tough competition from the other teams.
“I was worried before the start because I expected all the teams to be good but we had the advantage of having our own turf in our school,” he said.
The team, comprising 10 Form One and 10 Form Two students from SMK Pengkalan Permatang, Kuala Selangor, trained four times a week and were not only undefeated, but also did not concede a single goal in the league.
“I am delighted to hit my targets of entering the final and also winning it,” the visibly happy 29-year-old full-time PE teacher at SMK Pengkalan Permatang said.
“We have started identifying talent for next year; there will be a new batch of players ready to fill the void once these players move up in the age group,” said Syukuri, adding that the current squad looked to be in good form for the Under-14 Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) national tournament later this year.
In the semi-final earlier the same day, Kuala Selangor thrashed Hulu Selangor 11-0 while Kuala Langat edged Gombak on penalty flicks after a 1-1 tie. Gombak then beat Hulu Selangor 2-1 in the third and fourth placing match.
Selangor Hockey Association (SHA) president S. Ganesh said the DTP league initiative between the Malaysian Hockey Confederation and Education Ministry aimed to bolster junior development in the state and turned out to be a success in the inaugural year.
“We are impressed by the districts and the fundamental skills of some of the players are apparent.
“The players’ parents have also been very passionate about the DTP league and have been attending the games to show their support.
“We are putting a lot of emphasis on youth development and we find that the Under-14 age group is a core age. We are also looking at the possibility of including younger players if funds are available,” said Ganesh.
He added that SHA had come a long way from not having a league four years ago to now having a development programme for youths in school.
“Hosting the DTP league this year is good timing for us as it was a challenge for us to come up with a development plan before.
“But we managed to form a committee, secure funding and started this league and now we are in our third year on private funding and we have an increase of 69 teams from 46 last year,” said Ganesh.
MHC and SHA deputy president Shamala Subramaniam, Selangor Education Department sports unit head Noor Azli Abdul Rahman, MHC development programme coach Thai Beng Hai and MHC 1Mas hockey coach S. Velappan attended the closing ceremony and presented the medals and certificates to the players.
1. Kuala Selangor
2. Kuala Langat
4. Hulu Selangor
6. Sabak Bernam
8. Petaling Perdana
9. Petaling Utama
10. Hulu Langat