Sunday February 17, 2013
Kelantanese fight for title despite pitch woes
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: The Kota Baru Municipal Council hockey Astro-turf is in such a deplorable state that it cannot be used for matches.
However, the MSS Kelantan team, have no choice but to train on the torn and worn out turf and yet they still managed to qualify for the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League Division Two final.
En route to the final, they had been in smashing form winning all their nine matches – eight in the group matches to top Group A.
And in the semi-finals, they beat Politeknik KPT 4-3 in extra time sudden death on Friday after both teams were tied 3-3 in the regulation time.
Today, they take on Kuala Lumpur Sports School in the final.
KL Sports School outplayed Anderson Juniors 5-1 in the other semi-final match.
Both MSS Kelantan and KL Sports School are unbeaten in nine matches and a close match is on the cards as they will be out to win their tenth match and the Division Two title.
By virtue of reaching the final, MSS Kelantan and KL Sports School, earned promotion to Division One next year.
MSS Kelantan coach Hamzi Shaari said that the turf in Kota Baru is not playable.
“But we have no choice as we still have to train there as it is the only turf in the state,” said the Tanah Merah 1 secondary school teacher.
“We have been training on the turf since December and we are proud to reach the Division Two final for the second time.
“What can be more inspiring then training on a deplorable turf and still staying unbeaten after nine matches,” said Hamzi.
MSS Kelantan won their first Division Two title in 2008.
MSS Kelantan, however, will not have the service of key midfielder Mohd Ashraf Mohd Noor for the final because he has to serve a suspension for collecting a red card after hitting Politeknik KPT player Mohd Kamarul Ariffin Kamaruddin on the forehead with a hockey stick in the semi-final match.
“Although we have lost Ashraf we can still go on to lift the title,” said Hamzi.
KL Sports School team manager Zainal Ariffin Abdullah said that it’s the first time they have qualified for the final since making their debut in the Under-19 league three years ago.
“So we hope to create history by winning our first silverware in the MJHL. But it’s not going to be easy as MSS Kelantan have proven that they are fighters as they came back from two goals down to beat Politeknik in the sudden death extra-time,” said Zainal.