PETALING JAYA: Former champions Old La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak) have set themselves a modest target in the Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL) starting on Feb 7.
With no international – senior or junior – in their squad, Olak assistant manager Joseph De Silva would be happy if they just reach the quarter-finals.
“We don't pinch players from other teams. We develop our own junior players. We have produced a lot of national players like Mohamed Madzli Ikmar, Mohamed Amin Rahim and Redzuan Ponirin and will continue to do so through the MJHL.
“Last year, we finished eighth overall in Division One and this year we will be playing in the same division and hope to qualify for the last eight,'' said Joseph.
Olak have named 10 players who played for Selangor in the recent National Under-21 tournament, where Selangor finished 11th out of 13 teams. They are M. Indran, R. Arputharaj, R.M. Dev Raj, R.K. Kannan, Mohd Zamzuhairi Abd Wahab, Khairil Hisham Che Kolek, S. Lingkesweren, Nur Azman Sharef, Nor Zamahuri Ramly and Mohamed Adiem Nuri.
Of the 10, five were in the Olak squad last year. They are Indran, Arputharaj, Dev Raj, Zamzuhairi and Lingkesweren.
Joseph said they would be relying on the 10 players to lead Olak's challenge in the MJHL.
“We have named a few young players with the average age of 16 to expose them in the league. Although we don't have a formidable side, we definitely will try to provide a strong challenge to all the other teams,'' said Joseph.
Olak have won the league and overall title three times. They were the league champions in 1997 and bagged the double (league and overall titles) twice in the row - in 1998 and 1999. In 2000, they won the overall title.
Former international I. Vickneswaran, who coached the Selangor team in the National Under-21 tournament, has been named as Olak coach.
Olak will open their campaign against former champions and favourites Anderson of Ipoh on Saturday at the Pandamaran Stadium in Klang.
Joseph said they had a lot of respect for Anderson, who have many experienced players. “However, with the home ground advantage, we hope to surprise them,'' added Joseph.