Monday January 28, 2013
MBPJ warn hockey players to keep temper in check
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) have issued a strong warning to their players to behave as they edge closer to the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League (MJHL) title.
MBPJ assistant team manager Zanal Abidin Ismail has warned his players to keep their temper in check.
“We have been collecting unnecessary yellow cards in almost every match for nasty tackles and losing our cool. My players need to stay focus throughout our final two matches if we want to lift the league title,” said Zanal.
In the match against MBI-Anderson on Friday at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Mohd Asyraf Zulzali and Faiq Razin Zariq Idris were sent to the sin bin for rough tackles.
MBPJ are the surprise leaders in the eight-team league after winning all their five matches. They need to win their remaining two matches against Malacca High School in Malacca on Saturday and double champions Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt on Sunday in Johor Baru to clinch the league title for the first time. MBPJ were the overall champions in 2006.
It was in sharp contrast to their fortunes last season where they struggled to finish in sixth place in Division One to earn the last qualifying spot for the knockout stage.
“This is the first time we’ve won five matches in a row since we started playing in the inaugural MJHL in 1995. It’s an excellent achievement.
“We are close to winning the league title and we cannot afford to make any mistakes in the last two matches,” said Zanal.
Zanal also cautioned his players against complacency.
“Anything can happen as we are playing both our matches away. We will take one match at a time. We cannot take newly-promoted Malacca High School lightly as they stunned former five-time double champions Bukit Jalil Sports School 3-2 in Malacca.
“Our toughest challenge is against SSTMI-Thunderbolt as they have a solid team. They defeated us twice last year in the league and quarter-finals. So, we can expect another torrid time against them in Johor Baru,” said Zanal.
Zanal is also concerned with his forwards’ profligacy.
“Our strikers like Nazirul Mubin Zebidi, Ahmad Ikwan Shah, Mohd Hafify Mohd Rodzi and Mohd Zahir Mohd Zaki have been guilty of poor finishing in the last two matches.
“In matches against MBI-Anderson and MSS Penang-USM, we had to fight back to win both matches.
“The forwards also failed to capitalise on the chances they created.
“We have one week to sharpen their goal-scoring skills. I hope they will rise to the occasion in the two matches and help MBPJ lift the league title,” said Zanal.