KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Maybank are at wits' end to find a solution to their scoring woes in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
To compound their problem, the team have lost their most seasoned forward, Suhaimi Ibrahim, for the rest of their campaign.
Suhaimi was carrying a knee injury but he managed to play the four matches. But the injury has worsened and he has to undergo surgery, which will put him out of action for the next three months.
With Suhaimi out, youngsters Hafifi Hafiz Hassan, B. Namasivayam, Shaeeb Shah and Mohamed Syafiq will shoulder the task to deliver the goals.
All of them are under 19 years old.
Maybank coach S. Vellapan said yesterday that he was at a loss over why the players were muffing numerous chances to score goals.
I can understand if the chances are far and few. But in each of the four matches, we could have won by a handsome margin. But all we have to show was five goals, he said.
Even our penalty corner set-piece moves have not been working. This is a worry and we were hoping that with extra work on these areas, we could improve in our game this weekend.
But with Suhaimi out, we do not have any experienced forward to lead the youngsters. Hopefully, the extra work we had put in over the last few days will help them.
Maybank have two other experienced forwards in Chairil Anwar and Suhairi Saidi but Vellapan said that they had slowed down considerably due to their age and at the moment played the substitute role.
Maybank started off with a 1-3 defeat by Sapura and then beat the Dolphin 3-0 before overcoming Bukit Jalil Sports School 1-0. They were beaten 0-1 by Tenaga Nasional last weekend.
The Tigers will play against SAS Pahang today and then take on Ernst and Young on Sunday. Maybank are now in fourth place on six points two points more than SAS.
Ernst and Young are the leaders in the eight-team on 10 points and they have a better goal difference than Tenaga. Sapura are one point adrift in third place.
Vellapan said that he saw SAS as strong contenders for a place in the semi-finals.
We need to beat SAS to pull ourselves away from them. SAS are an unpredictable side and defeat by them tomorrow will be a big set back for us, he said.