KUALA LUMPUR: Ernst and Young's young brigade will be given the chance to create history for the club when they play in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) final against defending champions Tenaga Nasional at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.
There are eight youngsters in the team and they have all played crucial roles in Ernst and Young's runner-up finish in the league. And coach A. Arulselvaraj said yesterday that there was no reason in not fielding them in the battle for the overall title.
The eight are Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Zulkifli Rejab, Azlan Misron, Azli Misron, Baljit Singh, Mohamed Amerrullah, Ahmad Anuar and Regan Krishnan.
“At least five of them will start in the final. I have no intention of benching them and start with the experienced players. We have a blend of youth and experience and it has worked well for us,” said Arulselvaraj.
“I am aware that there can be tremendous pressure on the young players because it will be the first-ever final for most of them. But I feel that they will be able to cope with it.”
Three of the players – Tengku Ahmad, Azlan and Azli – have started in all the matches in the preliminary round while Zulkifli missed only two of the 18 matches.
The seniors shoring up the team for the final include Indian imports Dhanraj Pillay and Lazarus Barla.
The others are skipper Lee Sien Lam, Mohamed Amin Rahim, K. Dharmaraj, Chua Boon Huat, Tarvinder Singh and goalkeeper Roslan Jamluddin.
Arulselvaraj added that they hoped to come up with the right tactical plan to win the final.
Ernst and Young almost blew it in the second-leg semi-final against Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN). They trailed 1-2 from the first-leg and went further behind in the first half.
But a change in position of players brought a sharper forward line with Dhanraj abandoning his midfield role to play as the centre forward. He linked up well with Tengku Ahmad and Boon Huat.
There were more creativity in their play and Ernst and Young earned more penalty corners. Amin converted three of them and the team made it to the final 4-3 on aggregate.
“Tenaga have many experienced players and they have featured in the final before. They are also masters at coming back from a goal down,” said Arulselvaraj.
“Having lost the league title (to Sapura), they will be all the more fired up to retain the overall title.”
Ernst and Young last played in the final in 2000 and they were beaten by BSN. Then, they were making their debut in the MHL and were playing under the Arthur Andersen banner.
(Both matches at National Hockey Stadium, Bukit Jalil)