Sep 15, 2016

Dangerouslee lifts Sapura with winning goal

Sapura Hockey Club once again punctuated Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s fiery determination with a 2-1 victory in the final of the TNBMHL 2016 Knockout Tournament for the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup at the Tun Razak Stadium today.

This is the third time that Sapura, who won the RM70,000 winner’s cheque, defeated TNB with a 2-1 margin of victory. They won the first and return legs of the Premier League with similar scores.

Tenaga Nasional Berhad reached the final with a 3-2 win over Terengganu Hockey Team in the semifinals while Sapura outclassed Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) 4-1.

“I must credit my players for their fighting spirit. We were never far away and gave a good fight till the very end. There were too many cards and it affected both teams,” said Sapura coach Yahya Amin. “I hope this is our first step towards winning the Premier League.”

A dejected TNB Coach, Muhamad Amin Rahim, said the signs were clear it was going to be a tough day for his boys when they missed a penalty stroke in first quarter.

“It boils down to not scoring when we had the chances. I am very upset as we could have ended the day on a winning note. It is just not ours,” said Amin, as he sat silently in a corner after the final pondering the fate that befell on them. 

It was an uncompromising TNB that ventured bravely into Sapura’s territory more than three times in the first quarter and were rewarded with a penalty corner in the eighth minute. 

Drag-flick specialist Syed Mohamad Syafiq Syed Cholan packed through a powerful low push which incidentally struck a defender’s foot and umpire K. Ilango called for a penalty stroke. Unfortunately, Syed Mohamad fumbled from the spot as goalkeeper Mohamad Hairi was under no pressure to thwart the ball.

 Sapura, however, showed the pedigree which qualifies them to lead the current Premier League standings on 18 points, and earned their first penalty corner in the 15th minute just seconds before the hooter, and Muhammad Firhan Ashari struck from a penalty corner rebound, leaving goalkeeper S. Kumar out of reach with a low sweep.

TNB earned two penalty corners in the third quarter and made good in one as they leveled score in the 43rd minute with forward Shahril Saabah putting the ball through with a fine push.

But Sapura were determined not to let the opportunity slip and that chance came in the 53rd minute. They owed their greatest debt and gratitude to New Zealander Phillip Ross Burrow as the 36-year-old, who competed in four World Cups and at the 2004 (Athens), 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 London Olympics, was unselfish in the semicircle as he relayed the ball to Dangerouslee Mathew.

Lee, a former national junior trainee from Sarawak, blasted a powerful shot past Kumar that sparked celebrations. It was all over for TNB who fell for the third time against Sapura this season.

Meanhile, two former internationals - Hafifihafiz Hanafi and Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi - received retirement benefits from Yayasan Hoki Malaysia Trustee Tan Sri P. Alagendra during the half time of the final.

Hafifihafiz, who has 139 international caps having represented the country for 12 years, received RM16,850 while Megat Azrafiq, with a 140 international caps under his belt and 10 years service to the nation, received RM15,500.

Sep 7, 2016

Thunderbolt youngsters taking centre-stage

"YOU can’t win anything with kids" is a very famous quote by Alan Hansen regarding Sir Alex Ferguson’s young Manchester United squad in 1996, which came back to bite him.

The young Devils used that quote as a rallying cry and went on to win the English Premier League that season, proving that there are no age barriers in sports.

Now here in Malaysia, current TNB Malaysian Hockey League Division 1 champions, TNB Thunderbolt will be looking to do the same as they stand a chance to defend their Division 1 crown.

Comprising only the best young players from the four sports schools under TNB’s Thunderbolt programme, this team will be looking to make history as they go head-to-head with the more seasoned professionals in the opposing teams this current season.

The four sports schools in TNB’s Thunderbolt programme are Tunku Ismail Sports School (SSTMI), Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), Anderson and Pahang Sports School (SSP-MSP).

This new approach is aimed at giving; hopefully, the country's future hockey stars some invaluable experience through TNB’s strategic development project.

The team is led by ex-national stalwart Nor Saiful Zaini, who also coaches the Project 2020 development squad, and he is very confident that the selected players will give their best throughout the season.

"We have not set a target as our immediate objective is to blood these young talents in a competitive environment and to prepare for the upcoming Junior World Cup scheduled to take place in India in December," said Saiful.

"We have selected four to five players from each of the schools in the Thunderbolt programme. We hope the selected players will use the experience they gain to help their respective schools in the TNB Malaysian Junior Hockey League next year," he added.

Saiful confirmed that there is no centralised training for the players because all of them are still in school and it will not be feasible to have the players in for training just a few days before a match. They are brought together for training one day before every match day.

The coach, himself a star right winger during his playing days, strongly believes that exposing young players to competitive hockey on a weekly basis will help them prepare for next year’s TNB MJHL which promises to give the fans some high quality and exciting matches as the players will be out to impress the selectors as they strive to be included in the National Development and Junior squads.

The four Thunderbolt affiliated schools dominated the top four spots in this year’s TNB MJHL with BJSS Thunderbolt emerging champions beating SSTMI Thunderbolt in the final, while SSP-MSP Thunderbolt finished third place after a playoff against Anderson Thunderbolt.

This reflects the huge gains the TNB’s development programme has made. Its effectiveness is felt all around. The very best players from these four teams are making TNB Thunderbolt a force to be reckoned with in MHL Division 1 this season.   

Currently sharing the leader board with SSTMI with a record of 3 wins and 3 draws, the Thunderbolt boys will be looking to continue the team’s spectacular form throughout the second half of the season towards a consecutive Division 1 title.

Hockey fans throughout the country will be keeping their fingers crossed that this bold move by TNB will prove positive and produce the next generation of champions to compete consistently with the best on the world stage.

TNB and Sapura in Tan Sri Alagendra Cup final

KUALA LUMPUR (6 Sept, 2016): Tenaga Nasional Berhad reached the final of the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup Knockout Tournament with a quality performance to edge Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) 3-2 in the semifinals at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium today.

It was about the best ever performance from a side that is still struggling at the basement of the TNBMHL 2016 Premier League with just two points from six matches. Both teams played to a 4-4 draw in the first lap of the Premier League two weeks ago.

TNB owed their greatest debt of gratitude, though, to a certain extent to goalkeeper S. Kumar for keeping them in the game as THT could not beat Kumar in 16 of the 17 penalty corners they had and also in field goal attempts.

Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s victory puts them in showdown against Premier League leaders Sapura Hockey Club in the final on September 13 at the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium for the RM70,000 prize money. 

Sapura defeated Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) 4-1 in the second semifinals in Bandar Penawar after the match was tied 1-1 at half-time.  Sapura scored through Joel Samuel van Huizen (18th), Muhd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin (40th), Australian Oscar Williams Wookey (41st) and Muhd Firhan Ashaari (44th). The Johor-based SSTMI, who are currently leading the Division One table standings, replied through Muhd Luqman Hakim Mohd Asri (22nd).

Sarjit Singh’s THT, the double champions last year and equally struggling to get their act together in the Premier League pooled a total of 17 penalty corners against TNB’s five but could only convert in one.

“I told the players to forget about the Premier League as we don’t have much of a chance of winning it and we must at least win one trophy and this is our best chance. I am very happy for the team as the boys gave their best to beat THT in this crucial semifinal,” said TNB head coach Muhamad Amin Rahim.

“It was a gallant performance from every player, especially goalkeeper S. Kumar. He was just everywhere to stop THT and words alone are not enough to express my happiness in this win,” he added.

He added that though TNB lost 1-2 to Sapura in the first and return leg of the Premier League respectively, they are all fired-up to change their fortunes in the final of the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup.

THT started the match with key striker Faizal Saari and six of their foreign signings but found TNB in defiant mood. Faizal, who received a red card in the Premier League match against Universiti Kuala Lumpur last week, has been suspended for two matches by the MHC Disciplinary Committee. He will not be eligible to play in Friday’s Premier League match against Maybank and Sunday’s encounter against Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club.

TNB, the only team without foreign players in the league, took the lead twice, only to let THT claw back before Syed Syafiq Cholan scored the winner off a penalty corner attempt with 10 seconds remaining. The final buzzer went off just as the ball sounded the board.

Syed Syafiq had earlier put his side ahead in the 15th minute, while the other goal was scored by Azammi Adabi (22nd).  The THT goals were scored by Jang Jung Hyun (21st) and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (42nd).

On Syed Syafiq, the TNB coach said: "He is the most improved player in the TNBMHL, and I believe he has a bright future in the national team provided he keeps pushing himself to the limit in every match."

Results – Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup Semi-finals: Tenaga Nasional Berhad 3 Terengganu Hockey Team 2; Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School 1 Sapura Hockey Club 4.

Syahir Rosdi Tagih Sokongan Padu Peminat

Kuala Lumpur (6 September, 2016): Tekong muda negara, Mohammad Syahir Rosdi mengharapkan sokongan padu peminat dalam saingan Sepak Takraw League(STL) 2016 yang akan bermula penghujung September ini.

Syahir merupakan salah seorang pemain yang berjaya membantu skuad sepak takraw negara menamatkan penantian 10 tahun pingat emas dalam acara regu di Sukan SEA 2015 tahun lalu.

Sejajar dengan kempen hashtag #inimilikkita, pemain itu berharap sukan sepak takraw di negara ini juga akan meraih populariti sama seperti sukan lain untuk terus berkembang. Kata Syahir, “Sokongan dan semangat orang Malaysia sememangnya sangat tinggi kerana mereka mahu melihat kita mencapai prestasi yang terbaik. Permainan kita juga memainkan peranan untuk memastikan penyokong sentiasa menyokong kita”. 

“Saya harapkan sokongan kepada sukan sepak takraw juga sama dengan sukan lain seperti sukan bola sepak yang sentiasa mendapat sokongan penuh daripada peminat,” ujar pemain dari Pulau Pinang yang baru berusia 20 tahun itu.
Pemain tinggi lampai itu bagaimanapun mengakui minat dan sokongan terhadap sukan sepak takraw di negara ini lebih rendah berbanding negara jiran,Thailand. Katanya, “Di Thailand, peminat mereka sangat berbeza. Mereka sangat fanatik dan saya harapkan peminat di Malaysia juga akan sentiasa menyokong sukan sepak takraw sama ada kita naik atau turun kerana kita perlukan sokongan padu daripada peminat”.

Syahir berharap STL adalah medan terbaik dalam “memulihkan” sokongan peminat terhadap sukan ini sekaligus mengembalikan fenomena ketika era 80-an dan 90-an di mana ribuan peminat akan memenuhi ruang duduk stadium untuk menyaksikan perlawanan sepak takraw pada waktu tersebut.

Kata pemain yang dikenali dengan gelaran “Panjang”itu lagi, “Bagi menarik sokongan peminat, televisyen perlu menyiarkan setiap perlawanan sepak takraw dan menganjurkan kejohanan sepak takraw yang besar dengan hadiah yang lumayan. Bagi saya STL adalah platform terbaik ke arah itu selain mengasah bakat pemain tempatan. Melalui STL saya harap penyokong dapat kembali menyokong sukan ini”.
Tambah pemain itu, dia turut mengharapkan prestasi dan komitmen pemain sepak takraw sentiasa berada pada tahap terbaik kerana melalui kejayaan ia akan membantu menarik sokongan peminat terhadap sukan sepak takraw.

Ujar Syahir lagi, kejayaan akan melahirkan perasaan bangga daripada peminat terhadap sukan tersebut. Katanya, “Untuk mengekalkan kebanggaan rakyat terhadap sukan ini, pemain perlulah menunjukkan permainan terbaik untuk meraih kejayaan. Selain itu, siaran langsung di televisyen juga dapat membina perasaan bangga rakyat terhadap sukan sepak takraw”.

Syahir bakal beraksi bersama Pulau Pinang dalam saingan STL 2016 yang akan bermula pada 30 September ini di Stadium Majlis Perbandaran Serdang.