Hopes go south for east coast side Terengganu

  • Hockey
  • Saturday, 25 Jan 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: After two defeats, last year’s overall title winners Terengganu are facing up to the reality that they are not likely to win the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) title this time around.

The team powered by four foreigners, lost the Charity Shield match 3-2 to Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and then went down 4-2 to Tenaga Nasional on Wednesday.

The east coast team are in now third place with nine points from three wins, having scored 22 goals and conceded 12 in five matches. Last year, they finished second in the league and went on to win the overall title.

Tenaga and UniKL are tied with 15 points each with the former leading the standings on goal difference.

Terengganu’s top scorer Jang Jong-hyun of South Korea, who scored 22 goals last season, has also failed to deliver from penalty corners against UniKL and Tenaga Nasional.

With two matches left to play – against Hockey Academy of KL on Wednesday and Maybank on Friday – before the end of the first round, goalkeeper Mohd Hafizuddin Othman admits that their hopes of winning the league title are dim.

“We went into the league with the hope of securing a double – league and overall – but we are now in a tricky position.

“Losing the Charity Shield was not a good start but losing to Tenaga Nasional has made things much more difficult, ” said the national goalkeeper.

“We used to be the dominant team in the MHL by bagging the double three times in a row in the 2014,2015 and 2016. But today we are finding it tough to play consistently well.

“Although we are no more the dominant force in the league since 2017, we still manage one title every year, ” said Hafizuddin, who has been playing for Terengganu since 2014.

Hafizuddin said that their challenge now was to finish among the top four in the league to qualify for the TNB (overall) Cup and go on from there to win at least one title.

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