The Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Yayasan Negeri Sembilan clash will not just be another match in the TNB Malaysian Hockey League schedule this season.For when the teams square off against each other at the National Hockey stadium on Friday night, it will not only see a battle on the hockey pitch, but a tactical battle between a teacher and a pupil as well.
TNB are coached by Lailin Abu Hassan and he was a player under the tutelage of current YNS coach K. Rajan in the 2002/2003 MHL. And tomnorrow Lailin is going to try upstage his coach.
"Having played under the guidance of Rajan, I am well aware of his game plans and tactics. Thus it will be a battle of wits as well as tactics as we both want our teams to win," said Lailin.
"He is crafty but I aim to outsmart him this time around. Having said that much depends on the players on the field as coaches can only do so much. And this is where we have the advantage as the TNB players are fired to collect all three points after our opening match defeat against KLHC."
TNB bounced back from the 2-1 defeat at the hands of KLHC with a convincing 5-1 win over Nur Insafi on Wednesday night and Lailin was particularly happy with the form of his forwards.
"Out of our six goals thus far, we have scored five field goals and this augurs well as we are not just dependent on penalty corners for goals as was the case previously," said Lailin.
But while elated with his strikeforce, Lailin was perturbed that his ace penalty corner executioners, Faisal saari and Monhd Amin Rahim have only scored one from the five penalty corners they were awarded. But Lailin feels that this wlll eventually fall into place as the league progresses.
"YNS have six Pakistani players and we have to be cautious as they are skillful and acn be crafty with their individual play as well as their defence splitting passes," said Lailin.
TNB have to wait till Friday morning before deciding if they can field Faiz Helmi after the national trainee suffered a calf injury in the first half of theoir match against Nur Insafi.
As for YNS, after a bright start, defeating Nur Insafi 2-1, they succumbed to a 4-3 defeat at the hands of UniKL. And it largely had to do with the fact that their forwards could not put away the chances created.
Ihsan Ullah Khan is a player that could well hold the key to a YNS upset win as he is deadly from the penalty corner situations. But he will have to be extra sharp if he wants to beat S. Kumar in between the TNB post.