Tuesday January 22, 2013
MBPJ coach Azlan: No point thinking about the title
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) loom as the only team with a chance to stop SSTMI-Thunderbolt from capturing the Division One title after an unbeaten run of three matches in the MHC-MILO-NSC Junior Hockey League.
MBPJ and Thunderbolt have nine points from three matches but the latter lead the standings on a better goal difference.
But MBPJ coach Azlan Saufi Ahmad Soffian believes it is still early days to talk about challenging for the title.
“Our last match is against Thunderbolt on Feb 3. Before that we have three matches that we need to win to have a shot at the title. My focus is on getting the team through these three matches. There is no point thinking of the title just yet,” he said.
MBPJ, the 2006 overall champions, face a tough match against fourth-placed MBI-Anderson on Friday. Azlan, however, will be without midfielder Mohamed Norikhwan Rahman and forward Mohamed Hafify Rodzi. The duo picked up yellow cards in the win over Bukit Jalil Sports School last weekend and are suspended for one match.
To add to Azlan’s woes, defenders Mohamed Shahiram Zali, who is also the skipper, and Nur Azmirul Syamin are injured and are doubtful for the match.
“The players must learn to keep their temper in check and not get unnecessary yellow cards. As for the injured players, we are not sure if they can play this weekend. We will check on their fitness prior to the game and see how they shape up. They are still unable to train,” said Azlan, who is coaching MBPJ for the first time.
Meanwhile, Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) may have to rely on the results of the other teams to try and secure a top six placing.
The former champions are entrenched at the bottom of the eight-team league without a point after five matches. They have just two more matches to play against MBI-Anderson and MSS Penang.
The problem for BJSS is that the two wins may not be enough for them to finish in the top six.
Coach S. Prakash said they may miss the cut for the knockout stage for the first time.
“It is very important that we win the next two matches. Any other results will keep us out of the quarter-finals. But looking at the standings, we also have to depend on the other results. Now we can only hope,” added Prakash.