KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Sports School have not scored more than five goals in any of their MHF-Milo-NSC-Admiral Junior Hockey League. Today, though, they need to score a massive 12 goals against second from bottom side Johor Sports Council if they are to lift the Division One title.
Any lesser result will see Tenaga, who have completed their fixtures, winning the title.
Despite the desperate need for the 12 goals, Malaysia Sports School coach Tai Beng Hai was opting for a cautious approach and said he would not go for an all-out attacking strategy.
This, he said, was not a match that they could afford to lose.
“As much as we need the goals we will continue to play in the same manner but this time we will expect the forwards to be sharper. There is no question that we have had numerous chances in the previous matches and could have won by bigger margins.
“But the players muffed a lot of those chances and that certainly is a concern for us. But tomorrow (today) the players have to get the scoring right. Every goal that we miss will cost us dearly,'' he said yesterday.
Tenaga lead the standings with 22 points and have a goal difference of plus 29. The Sports School are three points behind and a goal difference of plus 18.
No team in the Division One has scored more than nine goals in a match. The biggest score line was achieved by Tenaga when they defeated MPK-Olak 9-0.
The biggest win for the Sports School was the 5-0 win over Srii Aroma. They also scored five in the 5-2 win over MPPJ.
Thus, a dozen goals don't seem likely.
“I know it is tough. But it is not impossible. Let's remember that the league is over for the Johor Sports Council and they have nothing to fight for,” said Beng Hai.
“Then again, we just do not expect them to give way to us. They will fight and that is why we are taking a cautious approach. We have let in some very silly goals in previous matches. We do not need that now.''
The Sport School's top scorer is Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin with six goals to his credit.
But, said Beng Hai pointed out, they do not depend on just one or two players for goals.
“There are a few players who can score. So, we are not worried about who will get the goals. There will be plenty of chances as we have the ability to get the ball into the D.”
Other players who have been on the scorer's list include Mohamed Fikri Bassar, Mohamed Amerullah, Mohamed Noor Wahi Ismail, Amir Hamzah and Mohamed Shukri.
Beng Hai, however, said there would be no added pressure on the players to go for a goal rush.
“In all our previous matches, we keep telling the players to make sure they get the points first and not worry about the goals.
“I think a lot has been said about the need for 12 goals and the players know it. It is all up to them. They need not panic and finishing second is not a bad thing at all.”
Winning the Division One title will also bring additional relief for the Sports School. It will also mean an easier quarter-final match as the winner will play the runner-up of Division Two, the Sports School Juniors.
Of course, there is also the incentive of the RM10,000 purse for the champion.