KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) began the pre-season playing down their chances in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
But after the first match of the season on Wednesday – the curtain-raiser Charity Shield – it’s clear that KLHC were just playing mind games.
KLHC proved that they are far from being a spent force when they beat Tenaga Nasional 5-3 – for their first silverware of the season – at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Penalty corner specialist Mohd Razie Rahim was the hero for KLHC, bagging a hat-trick to help his team take all three points in this Premier Division clash.
Mohd Ramadan Rosli (ninth minute), Mohd Amin Rahim (28th) and Mohd Azammi Adabi (32nd) scored for Tenaga.
KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj said that the Charity Shield was secondary to winning the three points.
“The foreign players certainly made the difference ... I’m pleased with their contributions. They will get better as the season progresses,” he said.
“The Australian players will need some more time to adapt to the conditions here and we can continue to build on this team.
“Overall, the match was fast. It is also pleasing to note that we can score field and penalty corner goals. A good start all round.”
KLHC fielded all six foreign players – Australians Matthew Mallinson and Harrison Page in a forward role and the Pakistani quartet of Waseem Ahmad, Fareed Ahmad, Mohamed Imran and Akhtar Ali in midfield and defensive roles.
Tenaga Nasional assistant team manager Adam Izamry Idrus lamented the fact that they did not capitalise on their early domination.
“We had a good start and even held the lead. But the players were in awe of KLHC’s foreign signings and made simple mistakes,” said Adam.
“I believe that we can still challenge the top teams once we settle down.”
Both teams will be in action again on Sunday, with KLHC playing Sapura and Tenaga going up against UniKL.
The other two teams in the six-team Premier Division are Maybank and Terengganu.
by S. Ramaguru - The Star