Defending champions Sabah and Kuala Lumpur boys and girls teams got off in defence of the MHC-1Mas-Milo-KPM National Under-14 Hockey Tournament in contrasting styles in Kuala Lumpur today.
The East Malaysian state defeated Perlis 5-0 in a Group A match at the Ministry of Education (KPM) ground with a brace from Muhammad Salman Sudirman (8th and 46th minutes) and Muhammad Daniel Hakim Yusaini in the 18th and 41st minutes via penalty corners. Midfielder Noor Izzul Rahman scored the fifth goal in the 50th minute.
Sabah was represented by players from several different schools in the state. They had nine players who are studying in Form One, eight in Form Two and 12-year-old Mohammad Syafiq Lamatta who just received his UPSR results.
“Obviously the players were nervous in the first half. It was their first big tournament and being defending champions the pressure was on them to play well and win,” said head coach Hasrul Jideh. “But the good thing is they played to instruction and came back strongly in the second half.”
“Now we must continue this momentum in our remaining group matches. We are giving all the players the opportunity to play in every match. It will be good for them in the long run. Even Syafiq was feeling nervous earlier but had settled down quickly against Perlis,” added Hasrul.
Kuala Lumpur also made winning start against Selangor, thanks to a 17th minute field goal from Harsuraj Singh, who deflected the ball past the goalkeeper after receiving a pass from Shafiq Ikhmal Daniel.
Earlier the Kuala Lumpur girls, who defeated Selangor 3-2 in the 2015 final at the Bukit Serindit Hockey Stadium in Malacca, suffered an early setback in defence of the title following a 0-1 defeat against Perak.
Perak, led by 13 players from SMK Gunung Rapat – a state hockey project school – and several players studying at SMK Raja Perempuan and Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) in Bandar Penawar, scored the only goal through Dewi Natalya Edi Sumatra from a 41st minute penalty corner.
“It was a good match from the girls and a great win in our opening fixtures,” said Perak coach Manjit Singh. “There are still many areas we need to improve and we hope to polish our game against Selangor on Sunday and move on from there.”
Johor, Kelantan and Malacca also made triumphant starts in day one proceedings. The Johor girls defeated Singapore 2-0, Malacca edged Kedah 2-0 and Kelantan hit five goals past Sarawak.
Team captain Nor Ain Saiful Hazmi scored Johor’s opening goal in the 44th minute from a penalty corner and Nur Aina Najwa increased the lead to 2-0 six minutes later from similar a move.
The top two teams from each group (boys and girls) after the round-robin league matches qualify for the second round. They will be drawn into Group X and Y with three teams in each group. The winner of each group will play in the Nov 27 final.
Boys Group A: Sabah 5 Perlis 0; Kuala Lumpur 1 Selangor 0.
Group B: Perak 3 Kedah 0; Pahang 5 Sarawak 0.
Group C: Johor 1 Terengganu 1; Malacca 1 Singapore 0.
Girls Group A: Malacca 2 Kedah 0; Perak 1 Kuala Lumpur 0.
Group C: Johor 2 Singapore 0; Kelantan 5 Sarawak 0.
Sunday (20 Nov) – Boys: Penang v Sarawak (4.45pm, KPM); Perak v Pahang (4.45pm, KLHC Stadium); Negeri Sembilan v Singapore (6.0, KPM); Johor v Malacca (6.0pm, KLHC Stadium); Kelantan v Kuala Lumpur (7.15pm, KPM); Sabah v Selangor (7.15pm, KLHC Stadium).
Girls: Selangor v Penang (7.30am, KPM); Negeri Sembilan v Pahang (7.30am, KLHC Stadium); Kelantan v Johor (8.45am, KPM); Singapore v Sarawak (8.45am, KLHC Stadium).-->