Arul out for good start Featured

Thursday, 05 January 2017 13:41

University Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) open their campaign in the  knockout tournament of Malaysian Hockey League (MHL)  with a tough match against UITM.



Although UniKL has registered five foreign players, only one is expected to play in the match to be held at the KLHA Stadium on Friday.


The sole foreigner expected to play is Argentinian Ignacio Santiago Salas who plays as a striker and was with Maybank last year.


Two other signings are from Pakistan, midfielder Mohammad Tousiq and defender Mohammad Aleem Bilal who played for Pakistan in the recent AHF Champions Trophy in Kuantan last October.


The duo are only expected to arrive next week as Tousiq is getting married over the weekend.


Failing to secure a release for former Indian player Tushar Khandakar, UniKL have opted to sign Australian youngster Lachlan Gerald Stick.


But their biggest and most vital signing could well be Argentina reserve keeper Tomas Matias Santiago who is the number two keeper fir the national team.


Tomas was a member of the Argentina team that finished third in the 2012 Sultan Johor Cup and went on to keep goal in the 2013 Junior World Cup in New Delhi.


Although he travelled with the team for the Rio Olympics, he was not registered in the final 16.


UniKL coach A. Arul Selvaraj was unperturbed with the fact that he will not have his foreign players for the opening match.


The form showed by his team in warm up matches over the week has given him a measure of confidence to negotiate the first round of the knockout stage.


" We had some good warm up matches and the players are all eager to prove themselves as they fight for a place in the team," said Arul.


" it is not going to be easy against UITM as they several experienced players besides the four foreign players.


" We need to take our chances and not put ourselves under pressure by conceding soft goals."


UniKL will be boosted by the signing of national player Marhan Jalil who skippered Sapura last season.


Although he suffered from a horrific ankle injury, Marhan seems to have recovered sufficiently based on his form in training and friendly matches.


And Marhan has been named as skipper of the UniKL team.


Arul can also depend on the likes of Baljit Singh, Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin, Sufi Ismat Rohulmin, Najmi Farizal and the evergreen S. Selvaraju to hold the team together.


" The team will no doubt look at Marhan for leadership and holding the midfield together," added Arul.


" However I do not intend to field Marhan for long periods as he needs time to ease back into the game.


" With Najmi flicking well, I am certain we can make full use of our penalty corners as well.


" I expect a tough match but hopefully we can pull off a win and make it to the last eight.

Last modified on Thursday, 05 January 2017 19:20
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