Sapura and Ernst & Young provide litmus tests for Maybank


BY S. RAMAGURU

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank will face their moments of truth in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) – in matches against Sapura today and against Ernst and Young the following day. 

The results against the two fancied sides will show whether Maybank have the ability to win the league title. The Tigers now lead the standings with maximum points from six matches. 

For the moment, Maybank are not looking at anything beyond the match against Sapura. 

Skipper Suhairi Saidi said yesterday: “We will take one game at a time. We have won six matches but the real tests come this weekend. 

“Sapura and Ernst and Young have many experience players and they are definitely stronger teams than us. But we proved last week against BSN (Bank Simpanan Nasional) that with superior teamwork and hard work, we can beat more fancied opponents. 

“We have to go out there again and play as a strong unit and make our chances count.” 

The 31-year-old Suhairi is one of the few senior players in the Maybank side. He joined the team in 1989 and has won the league title twice and overall title thrice. In 1994, Maybank won the double. 

Suhairi said that they now had a team for the future and they should be a better side in two years' time. 

“We are not under pressure to win anything yet. We will go all out in our matches. It's one step at a time and we will see how it goes,” he said. 

Suhairi plays in the forward line and his thirst for action has not diminished over the years. 

“I still enjoy playing the game. Being with Maybank is great and I have never thought of leaving them. We are a close unit and support each other well. These are the hallmarks of our game and I hope the new players understand this and learn to support each other on and off the pitch,”' he said. 

Suhairi added that he is still yearning for another title with Maybank. 

“I will certainly not quit after this (campaign). I'm sure my experience will still be needed to also help provide guidance for the younger players over the next two years,” he said. 

Against Sapura and Ernst and Young, Maybank cannot let their guard down for a moment. The will be up against two teams who have a formidable goal-scoring record thus far. 

Sapura have scored 41 goals and Ernst and Young have knocked in 36. 

But Maybank need not worry about making the cut for the knockout stage. They are already through to the quarter-finals. Now they have to find out whether they can go all the way to become champions. 

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