PETALING JAYA: Debutants Pahang Sports Council have lost their home ground advantage in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) but they are not about to give up hope of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) decided on Tuesday that the Pahang side will have to play all their remaining matches away because of the poor condition of the pitch at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium.
Some areas of the pitch are completely worn out and the decision to strike off Kuantan as a venue for the MHL matches was taken following the postponement of the match between Pahang SC and Customs last Saturday.
Coach Izwan Suhardi said yesterday: “Our expenditure now will be higher because we have to travel to other states to play our five scheduled home matches.
“It will be tough playing away. We have eight matches to play and we are not about to throw in the towel. We do not have star players in the team but we will go all out to achieve our goal of making the last eight.”
Izwan added that it was unfortunate that they would no longer get to host matches in Kuantan.
“We decided to make the debut in the MHL to promote hockey in Pahang and also to exposure our players for next year’s Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Negri Sembilan and also the Tun Razak tournament next year,” he said.
“It was the least expected that we will not get to play at home anymore after just one match against Maybank (June 2).”
He added that the team were currently training on the poly grass pitch at the Pahang Sports Complex (Sukpa) in Kuantan.
But the pitch cannot be used to stage the MHL matches because of inadequate facilities, including changing rooms.
Pahang SC have only one win from three matches thus far. They defeated newcomers Johor Baru City Council 3-0 in an away match last Sunday. But they were beaten by Dolphins (0-1) and Maybank (1-2).
Pahang SC will be up against two strong sides this week – against Ernst and Young and Sapura on Saturday and Sunday respectively. They will play the two matches without their guest player from Singapore, defender Harjeet Singh Tarsem.
“Harjeet went back to Singapore on Monday to join the national team for a playing tour of New Zealand. Without him, it will be even tougher to stop teams like Ernst and Young and Sapura from scoring goals,” said Izwan.