Thursday February 21, 2013
Kelantan aim to be first Division Two team to make semis
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: MSS Kelantan hope to become the first team from Division Two to reach the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League semi-finals.
No teams from Division Two have ever reached the last four in the knockout stage for the Milo Cup overall title.
Division Two runners-up MSS Kelantan will face MBI-Anderson, who finished fourth in Division One, in the first-leg quarter-finals at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh tomorrow.
The return leg will be played in Kuala Terengganu on Sunday, as Kelantan’s hockey pitch is not suitable to host a game.
MSS Kelantan coach Hamzi Shaari said that they have received a favourable draw and believe that they have the ability to turn the tables on the MBI-Anderson.
“I have seen the Ipoh team in action and I think we have a chance to beat them.
“My players are in high spirits and they have vowed to give their best to qualify for the semi-finals,” said school teacher Hamzi.
Hamzi, however, said that they would have to reshuffle their midfield in the absence of key player Mohd Ashraf Mohd Noor, who is serving a two-match suspensions for collecting a red card after hitting a Politeknik KPT player with a hockey stick in the Division Two semi-finals match last Friday.
Ashraf has already served one match against KL Sports School in the Division Two final last Sunday.
In the final, despite taking the lead MSS Kelantan lost 2-1. It was their first defeat in MJHL league in 10 matches.
Hamzi said that they have to be more tactical in their match and also need to have variation in their penalty corners in the first leg in Ipoh.
“It is always tough to play an away match and we hope to hold them in Ipoh and go all out against them at home on Sunday,” said Hamzi.
MSS Kelantan will be relying on top scorer Mohd Saufian Othman, who has scored 12 goals in 10 matches, to deliver in the first-leg.