KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Old La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak) hope to make a comeback with a bang in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL), which begins on Friday.
Olak, who did not play in the MJHL last year due to financial constraints, will feature in Division Two.
Olak manager Joseph de Silva thanked PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Michael B.Y. Tio for sponsoring RM50,000 in cash and kind to help the team make a return to competition.
“Many Olak members were unhappy that we did not put up a team last year. And they have also come forward to sponsor the team this year,” he said.
“With strong support from the members, our mission is to win the Division Two title and gain promotion to Division One next year.
“Except for last year, we Olak have played in the MJHL since its inception in 1995 and we won both the Division One and overall titles a few times.
“The team have been training for almost two months under coach Paul (Raj) for the challenges this season.”
Olak won the Division One title in 1997 and they were double champions in 1998 and 1999. They also won the overall title in 2000.”
Joseph added that most of the players in the team were from the Section 11 Secondary School in Shah Alam, which is a project school for hockey.
“We have also roped in four players from different states to strengthen the team in all departments,” he said.
Olak have hired defender Noor Ihsan Azman of Perlis, who will be the captain of the team. The others are goalkeeper Mohd Amer Haffiq Sharuddin of Penang and two Sarawak forwards Mohd Ridzuan Abdul Hamid and Micheal Plani Dahraman.
A total of 10 teams will play in Division One while 14 teams will feature in a two-group Division Two.
Olak are drawn in Group B with Tunku Besar Tampin, PFS-MI Juniors, MSSWP-KLHC, SMK Padang Midin (Terengganu), MSN Johor-PHJ-MSSJ and MSSPS-MSN Perlis.
Group A comprises MSS Penang, Politeknik KPT (Kedah), SMK Datuk Sheikh Ahmad (Perlis), BPSS-MWHA, Malacca High School, Matri Perlis and SMK Datuk Taha.
The Division One sides are Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), PHK-MSS Kelantan, SMK Anderson, Bukit Jalil Sports School Juniors, Bandar Penawar Sports School Juniors, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Bandar Penawar SS-Thunderbolt, Bukit Jalil Sports School, Ipoh City Hall Juniors and MSS Pahang.
Olak will open their campaign against SMK Padang Midin at the Tun Razak Stadium on Friday.
Joseph said that they had to play away in Kuala Lumpur because the Pandamaran Stadium in Klang was not in good condition.
“We hope to get off to a winning start,” he said.
The top six teams in Division One and top two in Division Two will feature in the knockout stage. The final is slated for May 21.