UARA defended SSTMI Thunderbolts defended the 2021 Malaysian Youth Hockey League (TNB MJHL) TNB Cup title after beating BJSS Thunderbolts 4-1 in the final clash at the Bukit Jalil National Hockey Stadium.
The success of winning the championship with a big goal also came as a redemption of dignity for SSTMI Thunderbolts after losing to the league champions, BJSS Thunderbolts in the previous Division 1 League competition.
Reinforced with a line-up of seven national players, the SSTMI Thunderbolts came down as top picks while the BJSS Thunderbolts, which lined up an average of young players under 17, relied on a fast-paced game pattern to do surprises.
BJSS Thunderbolts however stunned SSTMI Thunderbolts through an early goal in the 4th minute when team captain Wan Muhammad Najmie Ahmad Dzaib tore the SSTMI Thunderbolts goal through a movement from the right.
However, two consecutive goals scored by team captain Saiful Sharil Saiful Bahri through a penalty corner in three minutes in the 7th and 10th minutes restored the confidence of SSTMI Thunderbolts to dominate the game.
With a 2-1 scoring advantage in the first half, the SSTMI Thunderbolts continued to increase the tempo of the game and move aggressively by using all their experience to restrain the BJSS Thunderbolts from scoring.
The goal of national player Muhammad Muhibuddin Moharam (36th minute) followed a minute later by Syaman Mat Tee (37th minute) finally closed whatever hopes BJSS Thunderbolts had to compete with SSTMI Thunderbolts who are increasingly confident and dominate the rhythm of the game.
SSTMI Thunderbolts coach, Zaidi Zainuddin said despite being disappointed with missing out on the league championship, the players still showed high spirits to rise to ensure not to miss the TNB MJHL 2021 Cup.
SSTMI Thunderbolts team captain Saiful Sharil Saiful Bahri, who was also named the best player of the final, said: “Thankfully we managed to retain the championship because it was not an easy journey. We used the previous defeat as an injector of strength to succeed tonight, ”he said.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Noor Firdaus Rosdi’s two goals in the 34th and 49th minutes helped the AHP-SSP-MSP Thunderbolts beat SMKDBL-PHJ-MSNJ 2-1 to grab third place.
AHP-SSP-MSP Thunderbolts coach, Mohd Sufian Muhammad said that despite being left behind at the beginning of the game, he was proud that his men who managed to rise showed real ability to win and grab the third position.
“Overall, to be in third place behind teams from sports schools such as SSTMI Thunderbolts and BJSS Thunderbolts is a satisfying achievement. The development of hockey in Pahang is growing rapidly at the moment and my hope is that the players will continue to be enthusiastic to seize the opportunity to find a place in the Project 2023 squad later, ”he said.
LIST OF TNBMJHL 2021 LEAGUE AND CUP WINNERS:
TNBMJHL Cup 2021
- Winner : SSTMI Thunderbolts
- Runner Up : BJSS Thunderbolts
- Third Position : AHP-SSP-MSP Thunderbolts
- Final Best Player: Saiful Sharil Saiful Bahri (SSTMI Thunderbolts)
- Top Scorer: Muhammad Salman Sudirman (MSNS/PHS) 16 goals
- Fair Play Award: SSTMI Juniors