The usual suspects are up there in the top of the standings of the Malaysian Hockey League after the end of week two of the competition. But it has not been plain sailing thus far for the big guns as several shock results has seen the likes of UniKL-TRC and Nur Insafi move out of their normal basement positions to keep in touch with the leaders.

 

Tenaga Nasional as expected are at the top, thanks to their opening match win over defending league champions KL Hockey Club. But they must be rueing not netting three points against Maybank on Friday. The two teams drew 1-1 and the two dropped points may prove costly for TNB in the long run.

For KLHC, winning the two big matches against Sapura and Yayasan Negeri Sembilan, and winning big too 6-2 and 6-3 respectively, will give them the confidence boost required as the league heads outstation for the first of its five trips outside Klang Valley.

The confidence and ability of the strike force to create and convert chances must surely be a relief to the KLHC management and coaching staff, but it is the conduct of the players that they should pay close attention to.

Megat Azrafiq was involved in a bust up with YNS's Deepak Thakur after the Seremban side scored their third goal, but Megat should have known better then react towards the provocation of the former Indian international. And the involvement of Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor after the final whistle with Vivek Gupta could well see some of the players facing suspensions.

For Maybank, the four points they picked up over the weekend was a good start after they were beaten 4-1 by YNS in their opening match two weeks ago. Coach Wallace Tan felt though that they were good enough for all six points as in the match against TNB, his team created the better chances.

"We played much better against TNB then our match against Uitm, though we won 2-0. To be honest it will not be easy for teams to take points off Uitm as they are a hard running team, that have nothing to lose really," said Wallace.

"I am impressed with their display and I expect Uitm and Airod to improve as the league progresses. Suffice to say no one is assured of three points this season in any match until the final whistle. There is no such thing as an easy match in the league this season."

Nur Insafi have also collected six points, together with KLHC and UniKL, thanks to their two wins over Airod-ATM (3-1) and Sapura (3-2). And it all boils down to the ability of the Penang team to play as a unit, thanks to the preparation they had this season.

As for UniKL, they had the Sunday off, having beaten YNS 2-1 on Friday, but coach Darren Smith was busy collecting dossiers on his opponents for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, for Yayasan Negeri Sembilan, their woes are expected to continue until they sort out the constant departure of their foreign players. Last week three of their players, Muhamad Imran, Mohamad Rasheed and Mohamad Waqas missed their match against UniKL-TRC as they had to represent their employers in a domestic competition in Pakistan.

And their absence was sorely felt as YNS were defeated by UniKL-TRC 2-1.

While Imran returned before the match against KL Hockey Club, the other two players have yet to make the trip back and are expected to be back before this weekend's matches.

But coach Hasnizam Ah Sim will still not have his full team in training this week as the Indian players, namely Deepak Thakur, Vivek Gupta and Prabhjot Singh will leave for India today and are only expected to return before their match this Friday in Ipoh.

"This is not good for the team but we just have to live with it as they have commitments with their clubs and employers back home," said Hasnizam.

"It is difficult to plan for a match if you do not have the whole set of players training together but we just have to accept it and move on. In terms of performance we are getting better though but its results that eventually matter.

"So we will work hard in training and redouble our efforts to win both matches in Ipoh though it will not be easy."



 

 

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