KUALA LUMPUR: Faiz Helmi Jali of Tenaga Nasional has a tall order to fulfil. He has been asked to play a defensive role in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
The five-feet tall skipper has been handed a heavy responsibility in defence in today’s crucial match against Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) at the Tun Razak Stadium in Jalan Duta.
Both teams need a win to stay in contention for the league title in the top of the table clash.
Powered by six foreign and three national players, UniKL are leading the standings with 22 points from eight matches while Tenaga are just a point adrift in second spot.
UniKL have the psychological advantage as they have defeated Tenaga 3-1 in the first round match in Bangi.
National defender Faiz said it would be a herculean task for him and his teammates to stop UniKL from collecting full points – especially in the absence of national defender and penalty corner flicker Syed Mohd Syafiq Syed Cholan, who is out due to a wrist injury.
“The defence is weakened in the absence of Syafiq. I’ve to play in defence with Shazril (Izwan Nazli) and youngster Muhd Arif (Syafie Ishak),” said Faiz, who is featuring for the 10th time in the league.
“UniKL have a solid team with two very good drag flickers in Muhd Razie Abdul Rahim and Holland’s Martijn Havenga.
“We’ve to be on our toes throughout the match as we cannot afford to give away penalty corners. We also have to be wary of their strike force.
“I hope our goalkeeper S. Kumar will be in top form to stop all attempts from UniKL. Our hopes to win the league title will be virtually over if we lose.”
UniKL coach A. Arulselvaraj expressed his concern over Timothy Deavin who suffered an ankle injury during Friday’s match against Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).
“I’m not sure whether he will be able to play or not. Overall, the team must be smart in making use of the chances and penalty corners to win,” he added.