Several players will be walking on a tight rope in the semi finals of the TNB Cup, the first leg of which will be held at the National Hockey Stadium at Bukit Jalil this Friday.
The semis will pit defending champions and the TNBMHL League Champions KL Hockey club against Sapura while the other semis will be between Maybank and Tenaga Nasional Berhad.
It is Sapura and TNB that have players on the verge of suspensions, as a mere green card in the first leg semis on Friday could well see them sit out of the second leg on Sunday. And there is even a possibility that some players could well miss out playing in the final scheduled for next Sunday.
Players of the watch list from Sapura are Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi ( 4 demerit points) and Indian import Raja Veerachamy ( 6 demerit points). As for TNB thise who risk suspensions are Mohd Madzli Ikmar Mohd Nor ( 4 demerit points) and Muhammad Firhan Ashaari ( 6 demerit points). A player is suspended for one match if he accumulates 8 demerit points.
"Of course from the perspective as an opponent coach, I will hope that their players are suspended. But from a neutral perspective I hope that all players get to play matches as the tournament is about having the best players on the pitch at the crucial stages," said KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj.
"To be fair MHC has done well by scraping the cards from the league stages and to ask for more will not be fair. But maybe some form of mechanism should be figured out in future since teams get byes in the knockout stages."
For Maybank coach Wallace Tan, focussing on the plight of opponents is the least on his mind as he believes that players are capable of avoiding picking up unnecessary cards if the play fair.
And obviously Wallace speaks from experience as two of his most senior players, Jiwa Mohan and Muhammad Irfan were on the verge of suspension in the final week matches had they picked up a green card, but went through four matches without doing so.
"I think all it takes is restrain and a composed approach when on the pitch. That ius the key to it. I am not thinking much into this card thing though it could hand us an added advantage," said Wallace.