KUALA LUMPUR: Defending double champions Tenaga Nasional are relishing their role as spoilers in the run-in for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) title.
Tenaga, by their own admission, say that they are out of the race to retain the title. But coach K. Rajan said yesterday that they could still have a big say on who win the title.
“We are way down on points to catch up. But we can play spoilers for the top contenders and they have to work hard to win the title,” he said.
“Now we have to turn our attention to retaining the overall title and we will use the remaining matches to prepare for the knockout stage. There is no pressure on the players now.”
Tenaga have lost three matches and drew two of their 11 matches thus far and are in fifth place with 20 points – eight points behind leaders Sapura.
On Sunday, they scored a last-minute goal for a 2-1 win over Ernst and Young. The defeat for Ernst and Young put them three points behind Sapura.
“The players will have to continue taking the remaining games seriously and use them
to improve on their fitness and match play,” said Rajan.
“The front-runners may falter and give us a higher finish in the standings. Therefore, we have to remain alert.”
Tenaga have three matches this week – against Dolphins (tomorrow), title contenders Bank Simpanan Nasional (Friday) and Royal Malay Regiment (RMR) on Sunday.
BSN are in third place – five points behind Sapura.
Ernst and Young, who had enjoyed a five-point lead at the top of the table last month, have a good chance to arrest their decline and keep abreast with Sapura. Both teams will be up against each other on Friday.
Ernst and Young have lost five points in two matches over the last weekend. They drew 2-2 with Maybank last Friday before conceding defeat in the last minute to Tenaga.
Coach A. Arulselvaraj said: “This is terrible and we have to stop the slide. The players must quickly take stock of the situation and find the answer to their poor scoring rate.”
On the clash with Sapura on Friday, he added: “We cannot fall further behind and give Sapura a clear run at the title.”
In the first round, Sapura were the only team to beat Ernst and Young. They won 4-2.