KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional are reaping the fruits of their labour from their hockey development programmes.
Malaysia won their first ever Youth Olympics Games (YOG) gold medal in the Buenos Aires in October and eight of the players are from Tenaga’s stable.
And six of them from the victorious team will feature for Tenaga in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), which begins on Jan 3.
Three players, forward Muhd Akhimullah Anuar Esook (top scorer in the YOG with 22 goals), Syarman Mat Tee and Muhd Noor Firdaus Rosdi will be playing in the MHL for Tenaga a second consecutive time next season.
Three others from the YOG team – goalkeeper Che Shahrul Azmi Che Saupi, Muhd Amirul Hamizan Azahar and Muhd Arif Syafie Ishak will be making their debut for Tenaga.
Besides the six players, Tenaga are powered by 10 national players and eight of them played in the World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India, which ended last week.
The eight who featured in World Cup are goalkeeper S. Kumar, defenders Faiz Helmi Jali and Mohd Syed Syafiq Syed Cholan and forwards Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Jalil, Muhd Firhan Ashari, Norsyafiq Sumantri, Mohd Ramadan Rosli and Nik Mohd Aiman Nik Rozemi.
The two players, who were dropped from the World Cup squad due to injuries are midfielder Muhd Amirol Aideed Mohd Arshad and forward Mohd Shahril Saabah.
Tenaga coach Nor Saiful Zaini said they have a well balanced team of junior and senior players to put up a strong challenge in the MHL.
“Our juniors development programmes have produced calibre players and we can look forward to producing more players in the future.
“We had eight players from our development programme who played in the Youth Olympics Games and we are happy with our programme,” said the former international.
He added that their mission in the MHL is to win one of three titles in 2019.
“We have not won any title for the last few years but believe that we have a solid team of local players to give the other teams a run for their money,” said Nor Saiful.
Seven team will feature in the Premier League and the other six teams are Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), Terengganu, Maybank, Nur Insafi, TNB-Thunderbolt and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).
Tenaga finished third in the Premier Division this year and they also finished third in the TNB Cup knockout stage.
In the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup, Tenaga lost to Terengganu 1-3 in the semi-finals.