KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions KL Hockey Club (KLHC) lead the standings halfway through the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) season. But coach K. Dharmaraj is worried with the number of injuries in the team.
The two-time double champions have 16 points from five wins and a draw. And they have an unassailable four-point lead over second-placed Tenaga Nasional and third-placed Maybank.
Dharmaraj said that injuries to key players like defenders Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim, S. Shanker and midfielders Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor and Mohd Anuar Sham Kamar could affect their performance in the second round, which begins on Friday.
Razie, who is the penalty corner specialist, is down with a hamstring injury while Shanker suffered a shoulder injury against Terengganu last Friday.
Nabil is still recovering from a knee injury and he did not feature in the last two matches against Terengganu and Sapura in Kuantan last Friday and Sunday. Anuar is also down with a knee injury.
“The matches are getting competitive and all the teams need to be on their toes to give their best. I’m expecting more players to get injured in the second round,” said Dharmaraj.
“All the teams not only have calibre players but they also have good coaches and they will be going all out to end our unbeaten run.
“So, we not only have to play consistently well but also make sure that the rest of my players stay injury-free,” added Dharmaraj.
KLHC will open their second round campaign against Sapura on Friday before they take on debutants Terengganu on Sunday.
Dharmaraj said they faced some anxious moments against Sapura on Sunday before winning 3-2.
“Sapura put us under pressure by taking an early lead before we fought back to take a 3-1 lead. They narrowed the deficit and came very close to scoring an equaliser.
“We can expect another tough encounter against them on Friday. And I hope my injured players will recover in time for the tough match,” said Dharmaraj.