www.nst.com.mySAPURA will get their chance to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) in the Premier Division of the TNB Malaysia Hockey League.
KLHC, Charity Shield and front-runners for the League and Overall title, have a rest day today, while Sapura meet UiTM after which they will be on level terms with KLHC on 15 points.
However, after five matches, KLHC already have a 21-goal advantage, so Sapura need to go on a double-digit goal hunt against UiTM.
Sapura coach I. Vickneswaran said: "I'm aware that we lag behind the leaders in goals, but right now the focus is to win three points off UiTM who have five Qatar players in their team."
Last season, Sapura were down 2-0 to UiTM before beating them 3-2 and this is still fresh in the coaches' mind.
"We can't take any team lightly as this could end up in an upset result. Nobody felt that UniKL had the capacity to hold Tenaga and they did just that (3-3).
"That is why the focus is on three points first, and if the goals follow, it would be a bonus," said Vickneswaran.
Only KLHC and Sapura are unbeaten in the Premier Division, and to make matters more interesting, the fixtures will see them play on the final day of the league on Oct 9.
"We have four more matches to go, and we need to keep the winning momentum until the last match against KLHC. Only then will we know what we need to do in that crucial match, until then, we will be looking for clean wins only and respect all our opponents," said Vickneswaran.
The other interesting match is between UniKL and Nur Insafi, who have six foreign players but have lost three out five matches.
"Somehow, we have never managed to beat Nur Insafi in the MHL and I believe it will be another bruising encounter. The team is looking good in defence and midfield, but the forwards waste more than convert and this is what we can't afford against Nir Insafi," said UniKL manager Amir Azhar.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian women's hockey team finished fifth in the Under-18 Asia Cup at the Queen Sirikit National Hockey Stadium in Thailand.
They beat Singapore 4-0 in the fifth-sixth placing match. In the group stages, Malaysia beat Sri Lanka 10-1, lost to China 3-1, beat Kazakhstan 16-0 and lost to India 4-1.