UniKL may not be considered as title contenders, but they have established themselves as one of the most professional set-ups in Malaysian Hockey, seen below with a Press Release that is truly every journalists dream.
Such high standards are only possible when you have officials that not only know their responsibilities but also have a strong passion for the sport, and towards this credit goes to Amir Azhar Ibrahim.
Not only has he managed to build a team from scratch, his untiring efforts and easy going approach towards the media and hockey officials has won him many accolades. And he has gone a step further by training an able assistant in Mohd Faiz Isa, who will manage the UniKL team this year.
The photograph above is from the unveiling of the UniKL jersey, and present was UniKL President Prof Dr. Mazliham Mohd Su'ud, advisor Mirnawan Nawawi .
Coaching Set Up
UniKL will continue to have the service of Arul Selvaraj, Malaysia Assistant National Coach as the Chief Coach of UniKL for the second season. His vast experience at international level has transformed the 2012 UniKL team that ended up as the 2nd best team behind KLHC during the 2nd leg of last season. With the revival of the National team, we hope he will continue to develop the young players in the team and propel this 2013 team to finish higher than we were last season (5th league position).
With the decision of K. Enbaraj to take a break from competitive hockey after the conclusion of MJHL 2013 season, UniKL Hockey has hired a new Assistant Coach/Junior Coach in Mohd Nasihin Nubli Ibrahim, the Women National Coach. He will be assisting the Chief Coach during TNBMHL season especially guiding the young players in the team. This is also UniKL contribution towards Coaches Enrichment Program whereby Nasihin will be Arul’s understudy and will enrich his capabilities as the Women National Coach. Meanwhle, M. Nadarajan will be in his 3rd season with UniKL and remains as the Assistant Coach with focus on the goalkeepers and development.
On the Foreign Players
UniKL will not be registering any import player this season and will follow through the approach in 2011 and 2012 season by using the Premier League to further develop the young local players in the squad.
On the Players Age
The average age of the squad is 21.3 years, exacly the same as the 2013 season. This is caused by the inclusion (promotion) of 6 young players from the MJHL 2013 squad (No. 3, 6, 10, 11, 17, 20) to the senior squad and the release of a few senior players to other clubs. There are 16 players below the age of 21 and this team should be dubbed as the “Youth of Malaysian Hockey’”. UniKL also loaned 3 of its young players who are still eligible to play for MJHL 2014 season to UNITEN (2) and SAPURA (1).
The youngest player in the squad is Mohammad Hafif Elkan (17) who played for UniKL MJHL 2013 team as a defender/flicker and the oldest player is Saiful Azhar Mohd Affandi (32), a goalkeeper. It is very interesting to watch the dynamism of the very young team playing together with a few of more experienced players.
On the Players
It will be interesting to see how far UniKL will progress in 2013 as this year’s team returned the most number of players from the previous TNBMHL squad (16 from 2012 season) with the maturity of the 13 current and 5 former Project 2013 players.
Besides losing the influential midfielder in Ramadan Rosli to TNB, UniKL has added a National trainee, Kavin Kartik Govindasamy (defender/flicker) and former Sapura youth player, Meor Azuan Hasan (midfielder) to beef up the squad this season besides the 6 MJHL players promoted to the senior team.
The key players on the team will still be Baljit Singh Charun Singh (defender), Muhammad Noor Faeez Ibrahim (defender/flicker) and Muhammad Azri Hassan (midfielder) with a big hope for Muhd Syafiq Zulzairin (forward), the top scorer in MJHL 2013 to make an impact in this season TNBMHL.
On the Captaincy
Baljit Singh Charun Singh will remain as the Captain for the second season running. He has proved his leadership during 2012 season and will use the 2013 season to regain his confidence and prowess after a temporary slump in the National team.
On the League
It is by far the most competitive league since 2009 when UniKL first participated. With the inclussion of the Terengganu Hockey Team and over 20 foreign players plying their trade in major competing clubs, UniKL cannot affort to drop too many points against top teams in order to finish in credible place in the league and qualify for the knock-out stage.
It will be a very explosive season and UniKL is doing its part to bring back excitement to the stadium by promoting the game amongst its staff, students and neautral fans. The success of the Ultras UniKL will be further boosted in this TNBMHL 2012 season.
On the Fixtures
There is no easy game as all teams are capable of challenging one another. Overall, the fixtures are quite fair to UniKL with the 2-games per weekend evenly distributed along with the number of live games on Astro Arena. The carnival-like approach with the inclusion of Penang and Kuantan as additional venues will also add color to the league.
On the Opponents
The traditional Big 4 (KLHC, TNB, Sapura and Maybank) with the inclusion of Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) which managed to secure the services of a big number of National players are still the favorite to top the league and win the TNB Cup, with THT, KLHC and TNB a class above from the rest with the big number of National players and reknowned foreign players in their squad. However, we believe that we have narrow the gap between us and the Big 4 and should give them a stiffer competition and spring a surprise or two.
Looking back at 2012 season, UniKL actually lost only to KLHC in the 2nd leg with wins over Maybank and Nurinsafi while drawing TNB and Sapura to secured the 2nd highest points collected during the 2nd leg. The poor start to the season due to adjustment to the new system installed by the new coach then were the reason UniKL failed to finish higher than the 5th league position UniKL ended with.
On the Target
UniKL has set a realistic but challenging target of finishing in the Top 4 in the league and qualify for the semifinal for the first time ever. This is not imposible due to the maturity of the core players that joined UniKL in 2009 fresh from school and with the vast knowledge and experience imparted by the coaching set-up lead by Arul Selvaraj.
As for the hockey development target, we wish that most of the Project 2013 players to cement their place in the Project 2013 squad and play in the Junior World Cup and also more callups for the National Team (other than Baljit Singh, Muhammad Noor Faeez and Kavin Kartik).