Aug 7, 2015

UNIKL and TNB poised to steal the show

While the focus of attention will once again be on Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) in the second week of the TNBMHL 2015 Premier Division matches tomorrow, it is underdogs Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) who are expected to steal the show at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

With no marquee signings unlike THT and KLHC who boasts of players from Argentina and Pakistan, TNB are the only side in the six-team Premier League who rely on local players and coach Nor Saiful Zaini is determined to see his charges pull through against UniKL to move up the ladder.

However, his biggest concern is the poor rating in penalty corners given that they had six opportunities against Maybank last Sunday despite winning 2-1 in their opening match of the season. Both goals were scored by Mohd Shahril Saabah and Nik Mohd Aiman from field goals.

“This is an area I am quite concern and we have been putting in extra hours during training in getting our set pieces moving in penalty corners,” said Nor Saiful. “We have been quite unlucky against Maybank and I hope things change for the better against UniKL.”

“Getting the ball in the net more often in penalty corners is what matters most. It gives any team great confidence. But I am also optimistic we will out act together as the league progresses,” he added.

TNB, who finished third in the 2014 League and third in the TNB Cup, have national senior players in goalkeeper S. Kumar and forward Shahril Saabah and also powered by six players from the Project 2016 squad.

Meanwhile, UniKL who lost 2-1 to Sapura last week will be counting on Patrick Neil Schultz in penalty corners and attacking machinery that will rattle TNB defence in search of their first win after two matches.

“We had a good game against Sapura last week as it was evenly contested and playing TNB will be tough. They are a good side and we are determined to take the fight to them,” said UniKL coach Arul Selvaraj.

Double champions THT will also aim to bounce back against Maybank tomorrow after the 6-2 drubbing by KLHC in the Charity Shield match on August 2 which scarred their reputation and confidence level while KLHC will go up against Sapura.

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