Kuala Lumpur (5 January, 2017): The reverberation of victory and agony of defeat will be felt early when the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup knockout tournament gets underway in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.
Eight Premier and Division One teams will battle for supremacy in this second edition of the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup which is known for its ‘unkindness’ towards teams that dangle with sheer luck and fame alone.
In short, the knockout tournament is virtually blind to the reputation of Premier League teams with grandeur ambitions who may likely fall prey to their less illustrious opponents.
And at stake is the RM70,000 winner’s purse which went into the coffers of Sapura Hockey Club last season following a 2-1 win over Tenaga Nasional Berhad in the final. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, Sapura’s absence this time around has opened the door for a new champion to be crowned.
Former champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club were stopped in their track by a resilient Terengganu Hockey Team – going down 2-3 in the quarterfinals last year whilst TNB burrowed its way out of the Premier League basement standing and surprised all with a 3-2 victory over THT in the semi-finals en route to a final showdown with Sapura.
Such is the magic of the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup that merely rewards true champions after going through the trepidations in four days of action.
TNB returns this season with the same aura and expectations of a better and brighter performance as in line with the motto of the local energy company as they face KLHC in the first round at the Tun Razak Stadium.
“There are always challengers which we consider as positive and we will take it from there,” said TNB head coach Muhammad Amin Rahim. “We hope to create lots of opportunities and put up a good performance against KLHC on Friday,” he said, adding that with former Sapura goalkeeper Adrian Andy Albert, defender Mohd Faiz Helmi and midfielder Norsyafiq Sumantri in the side, TNB is looking at giving the best strikes on the pitch.’
KLHC’s foreign legions are Pakistan’s forward Umar Bhutta, Germany’s Anton Ebeling, Australians Aaron Craig and midfielder Casey Dawson.
“Last year’s defeat came as strong signal to us that we should stay focus in every match. That mistake will not happen again,” observed KLHC team manager Ahmad Anuar Sham.
The 2016 Division One champions TNB Thunderbolts - promoted to the Premier League this season - faces the might of THT in their first encounter against the bigger boys.
Sarjit Singh’s THT boast of South Korean Jang Jung-hyun, Pakistanis Muhammad Irfan Aslam and Ammad Shakeer Butt, Argentinean Pablo Javier Trevison and Spanish midfielder Nicolas Enrique Della Torre for this opening tie.