Sunday September 23, 2012
Tenaga still in the mix
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional may have lost the initiative in their pursuit of the Premier Division title in the Malaysia Hockey League but the battle is far from over.
Tenaga goalkeeper S. Kumar believes they are still very much in the mix with three matches left to play.
Tenaga went into the game against bottom side Nur Insafi-Perak in Ipoh on Friday with a one-point lead. But they were lucky to come away with a 4-4 draw.
Kumar said it could have been worse.
“We were down 1-4 at half-time and our title hopes would have all but ended had we lost,” he said yesterday.
“It’s a good lesson for us. From having the lead we are now one point behind. But it isn’t over yet and that’s the important thing. I’m certain the team will come up with the proper response against UniKL tomorrow.”
KL Hockey Club, the runaway winners last year, almost blew it last weekend when they dropped five points in two matches. That allowed Tenaga to take the lead.
But KLHC are back on top thanks to Tenaga’s hiccup and the title may well be decided when the two rivals clash in the last match of the preliminary round.
“The next two matches will tell if we can repeat our success of 2003 when we last won the league. After UniKL, we play Sapura before the cruncher against KLHC. That will be like a final if KLHC and Tenaga win their next two matches, “ said Kumar.
The national goalkeeper feels that his team were at fault for taking Nur Insafi lightly.
“We were too casual in our approach and didn’t play to our true strength. The whole team must accept reponsibility for that. We have to buck up in our remaining matches if we are to challenge for the title,” he said.
Kumar firmly believes that Tenaga have the right blend of players to end KLHC’s reign as champions.
“What we need is to play as a unit. We have to win matches any which way we can,” he said.
“We can’t afford to play only in patches as we will be punished by our opponents just like Nur Insafi did. We must stay focused and believe in our ability.”
While it looks like a final day decider between KLRC and Tenaga, Sapura can still upset the calculations if they win all their remaining matches including the one against Tenaga.