Former internationals S. Kuhan and Chua Boon Huat are the best of friends off the field. But on the pitch, they are fierce rivals.

Sapura skipper Kuhan and Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) forward Boon Huat have had some tense moments against each other in Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) matches.

Kuhan, who marshals the Sapura defence, said that he had to employ tough tackling in matches and it had resulted in some exchange of harsh words with Boon Huat.

Ready: KLHC captain Azlan Misron and his Sapura counterpart S. Kuhan facing off before their clash on Saturday. — LIM CHENG KIAT / The Star

“And it’s going be the same in the final on Saturday,” said Kuhan. “We are best of friends as we have played together in the national team for few years. But we will be playing as rivals in the final and the mission is to stop Boon Huat and his team-mates from scoring against us in the final.”

Premier Division champions KLHC have the best strike force in the MHL, having scored a total of 107 goals in 20 matches.

Kuhan added that besides Boon Huat, KLHC boast of having other good forwards in Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and Ismail Abu.

“Each of the three of them has scored more than 15 goals in the league. My team-mates and I will face a tough task to prevent them from scoring field goals. They also have penalty corner specialist Mohd Razie (Abdul Rahim), who has scored 26 goals,” he said.

Besides Kuhan, the other defenders in the Sapura team are Jiwa Mohan, M. Vizayan, Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin and South Korean Lim Woo-geun.

“We had a slow start in the league but we have improved with each match. We did well to finish third in the Premier Division and we are proud of our achievement for defeating defending overall champions Tenaga Nasional in the semi-finals,” said Kuhan, who is the top scorer for Sapura with 10 penalty corner goals.

Kuhan, who will turn 35 on July 23, has been playing for Sapura in the MHL since 2000. The former international with 339 caps to his name will be playing in the final of MHL for the 10th time.

He has six overall champions’ winners’ medals to show – twice with Yayasan Negri Sembilan (1995, 1996), once with Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (1997) and Bank Simpanan Nasional (1999) and two twice with Sapura (2003, 2005).

Sapura were beaten twice by KLHC (6-2, 3-0) in the league matches and Kuhan said that they would be out to turn the tables on the title favourites on Saturday.



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