Semi Final Preview ATM v Pahang

Press Release

KLHA

TNB Razak Cup

A David versus Goliath show

Defending champions Pahang and Armed Forces go into Friday’s semi-finals of the TNB-Tun Razak Cup Women’s Hockey Tournament with mixed reactions.

The east coast state, coached by Benedict Arrais and led by almost seven current national players and a host of up-and-coming youngsters from the 2018 Malaysia Games squad, will be brimming with confidence as they chart their journey into Sunday’s final for the second successive year.

“Our objective is to win the title once again but to get there we need to clear two hurdles – the first against Armed Forces in the semi-finals,” he said.

“This team has been playing well in almost all the matches but we can’t be overconfident and let our guard down,” said Arrais, a former national player who plans to quit after 22 years on the job.

He, however, cautioned his players not to take it easy against Armed Forces who are also playing well despite finishing second in Group B behind eventual champions Selangor.

“My main concern has always been how the youngsters perform. They are the backbone of Pahang’s future tournaments and the faster they mature into better players the better it is for the state. And I am looking towards a good and entertaining match in the semi-finals,” added Arrais.

Friday’s semi-finals will be re-match of the 2016 final which Pahang won 4-0 comfortably. Team captain Nuraini Abdul Rashid scored twice, Noorain Mohd Arshad doubled the advantage and Wan Nor Faiezah Md Saiuti sealed the fourth goal. All four players are back in the team to haunt Armed Forces once again.

Pahang’s journey to the semi-finals began with 4-0 drubbing of Terengganu, pulverised Kuala Lumpur 5-1 and thumped Indonesia 4-0 before closing their fixtures with 2-0 win over Perak to top Group A on 12 points.

Armed Forces, on the opposite end, made a ‘drowsy’ start in Group B–defeating Johor 1-0, lost 1-2 against Selangor and edged Melaka with a solitary goal.

Armed Forces coach, Sgt Azizan Mustafa, however, remained coy on their chances against high-riding Pahang.

“We arrived in the Razak Cup without several senior players. Most of them are unable to get leave while others are undergoing training. We did not set any target coming here and now that we are in the semi-finals is a commendable effort from the players,” he said.

“Pahang are no doubt the favourites and we are just the underdogs. We will just do our best. There is no pressure on us so I want the players to go out and enjoy their game.”

“Hopefully something good will come out when the players are less under pressure,” he added.