Olak turns to Vellapan for junior hockey league challenge

KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Old La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak) have turned to Razak Cup-winning coach S. Vellapan to build a winning team for the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL).

Vellapan, who led a young Malacca side to a 1-0 win over Perak in the Razak Cup final earlier last month, will find the going tough, though.

Olak have retained only four players – goalkeeper Adrian Albert, Pavindip Singh, Hafizan Zainol and Mohamned Nizan Isa – from last year’s squad.

The team’s assistant team manager Joseph De Silva said they would pick the rest of the players from the trials held earlier last month.

“There were 120 players at the trials in Klang,” said De Silva.

Olak have benefited greatly with their tie up with PKT, a logistics company based in Klang, which has one of their old boys – Micheal Tio – as the chief executive officer.

They not only offer job opportunities to the players but also scholarships at their ALC College in Klang for those wanting to further their studies.

Olak-PKT is one of the pioneer teams in the MJHL since its inception in 1995. They were league champions in 1997, 1998 and 1999 while they captured the overall title in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

Their performance took a dip from 2010 as they had trouble attracting good players. In 2010 they did not feature in the MJHL due to financial constraints.

They returned the next year in Division Two after the tie-up with PKT, and are now back in the top division after gaining promotion in 2014.

With practically a new side, De Silva is realistic about their chances.

“The title dream has to wait a little while longer. We are rebuilding the side and we need players who will remain with us for three to four years.

“A top-four finish is what we are aiming for.”

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