PETALING JAYA: Losing a top player can dent any team’s chances, but Nur Insafi are not losing sleep as they look to breed young hockey players to steer the ship.
Last season, Nur Rahull Hrshikesa Tatchana Murthy was a key player for Nur Insafi despite the team’s poor outing in the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL). They finished last in the eight-team competition.
Nur Rahull however, scored 14 goals, of which 11 were field goals and three from penalty corners.
This season, he is playing for defending champions Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).
Nur Insafi team manager S. Tatchana Murthy, who is also Nur Rahull’s father, said his son’s absence would surely be felt, but he is hoping for other youngsters to step up.
“He was a top lad in the team. He is skilful and can take on any defender in the league. He never cared if his opponents were foreigners or national players. He was brave, ” said Tatchana.
“He was reluctant to leave, but we released him for his own good. Rahull is part of the national set-up, and he needs to play for a team with lots of national players.
“Our forward line will be weak without him but I hope our juniors will make themselves noticed.
“The role of this team is to provide a platform for youngsters to get high-level hockey exposure, and we have been doing this for the last 13 years.”
For this year’s edition, Nur Insafi are not collaborating with the Kedah Hockey Association (KHA), and that means, they will not have the services of state players in their all-local set-up.
Instead, Tatchana said the team had signed up Malaysia Games (Sukma) players from Selangor, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan.
So can this team powered by youth make a difference in MHL?
“In the past, we didn’t have any national players, so we relied on foreigners to balance the team. This year, we will have a full local team, and I believe we will do fine. I think we can upset one or two teams in the league, ” he said.
“We have former international Shankar (Ramu) coaching the team, and all the boys are looking good in training. We’ve trained for two weeks now and played some practice matches with several other teams from the MHL.
“We’ll know only after one or two games in the league.
“These boys have never played against top national players but they need this platform to be better players.”
Did you find this article insightful?
100% readers found this article insightful