National forward Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin is one of the most skilful players in the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) side.But the Kangar-born player fired blanks in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Charity Shield match against Tenaga Nasional on Dec 17. KLHC, who have seven internationals in their ranks, were beaten 0-2 in the match, which also counted as a Premier League fixture.
And the pressure is on Ahmad to get his scoring act right in another tough match against Sapura today at the Tun Razak Stadium.
On Sunday at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium, KLHC will play against Yayasan Negri Sembilan (YNS), who have the services of 11 foreign players.
Ahmad, who scored 11 goals for KLHC last season, said that it would be a crucial weekend for them.
“It’s like do-or-die for us as we cannot afford to drop points in these two matches. As the defending league champions, the pressure will definitely be on us,” said Ahmad.
The 24-year-old added that he was disappointed for failing to score in the match against Tenaga.
“Last season, we won the first nine matches to win the league title. But this time, we had a bad start. We failed to make use of our chances in the Charity Shield match,” said Ahmad.
“The other forwards also failed to click well with me in the match.”
KLHC’s other forwards are Azlan Misron, Ismail Abu, Chua Boon Huat and Mohd Amerullah Aziz.
Azlan was the toast for Malaysia in the Guangzhou Asian Games last month, scoring six goals to help Malaysia finish as the runners-up to Pakistan.
Ahmad added they can expect a torrid time against Sapura, who have experience players like S. Kuhan, Jiwa Mohan and goalkeeper Mohd Nasihin Nubli.
“They have Kuhan to take the penalty corners. They also have a good forwardline, led by Pakistani Rehan (Butt), who is rated as the best striker in the world,” said Ahmad, who has 105 international caps to his credit.
He added that Sapura also had the psychological advantage as they beat them 5-3 on aggregate to qualify for the final last year.
“The challenge will be on us to get the full points against Sapura, who beat ATM Airod 7-2 in their opening match,” said Ahmad.
“A win will put us back on track for the league title. But a defeat will make it difficult for us to retain the title. It will also be a challenge to play really well in two matches in three days.”
Ahmad made his debut in the MHL in 2002 and featured for Sapura for one year before joining Ernst and Young, who became KLHC last season.