It cannot get any better then this. Both the teams have the creme of the crop with regards to national players and of late have been fighting tooth and nail for honours in Malaysian hockey.So when KL Hockey Club squares off with Tenaga Nasional Berhad for the TNB Cup at the National Hockey Stadium, fans can expect a battle royale as both the teams are out for bragging rights.
KLHC have been virtually untouchable this season, winning all games with relative ease, sweeping aside the challenges posed by all opponents, TNB included, as they wrapped up the League tite in style, not dropping a single point enroute. And the winning run has continued through the knockout stage, leaving them just a win away to equal the record of the all conquering Yayasan Neeri Sembilan side of 1996.
And TNB, who lost the Charity Shield opening match 2-1 to KLHC, will no doubt double their efforts as they try to wrest the coveted trophy from the noses of KLHC.
Such is the determination of KLHC that their skipper Azlan Misron who will undergo his wedding ceremony later today found time off to attend the pre match press conference at the Kilat Club in Bangsar, and tagging along him was his bride.
"It is an important day of my life but my duty towards the team is equally important. We are all looking forward to the final and have only one aim, that is to win," said Azlan.
"Records and statistics do not matter as we are hungry for the title. That is the beauty of KLHC, we are never satisfied and want to keep winning. I guess the motivation is to do one better then the last time.
"The players do not need to be reminded of what is expected from them and once on the pitch they go about carrying out their responsibilities, complementing each other and working hard for one another."
KLHC though the favourites have their feet firmly on the ground> and team manager George Koshy paid tribute to their opponents, singing their praises.
"TNB have the best defence and a fantastic strikeforce that will one day be the best in the country. In these two departments they have the advantage as their defenders are experienced and keeper Kumar is the best in Asia," said Koshy.
"The trio of Firhan, Amir and Faisal are remarkable and some of the goals they have scored of late are just phenomenal. So we need to pay special attention to them lest be punished.
"But in retrospect we have the best midfield and they will be they key in the final. It will be tough and I am optimistic we have what it requires to win the final."
TNB will miss the services of Mohd Sallehin Ghani who was red carded in the semis against Sapura for a bad tackle on Joel Samuel van Huizen. Though TNB filed an appeal with RM300 as the fee, it was rejected by the Technical Committee and he will have to serve the one match suspension.
As such TNB will have to reshuffle its backline with Mohd Amin Rahim playing in the middle of defence and skipper Mohd Madzli Ikmar playing just infront og him. S. Bubalan is expected to replace Sallehin in the starting line-up.
"His absence will no doubt affect us but this is something we hope to overcome by moving some players around. No doubt that KLHC hold the upperhand but we will play the game of our life to upset them> said TNB coach Lailin Abu Hassan.
"Though we lost in the season opener, it will be a different ball game this time around as we have worked on improving our chinks in defence and are ready to surprise them."
For skipper Madzli, playing second fiddle to KLHC is not something that he aims to do when the final whistle is blown.
"We have to play smart and be wary of the quick counters that KLHC are well known for. They have several players that can inflict damage on us if left unchecked," said Madzli.