BEST IN THE COUNTRY: He is keeping Tenaga afloat, says KLHC coach Dharmaraj
KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) coach K. Dharmaraj attributed his team's 4-3 defeat to Tenaga Nasional in the Malaysia Hockey League Premier Division to one player -- Faizal Saari.
Dharmaraj knows Faizal's capabilities well, the player being in the national side that won the Junior Asia Cup and qualify for the World Cup in New Delhi next year.
"He has turned into the best player in the country, and is single handedly is keeping Tenaga afloat in the MHL. Without his 12 goals, Tenaga would be struggling in the Premier Division," said Dharmaraj.
Tenaga Nasional have only scored 15 goals in five matches, and if not for Faizal's exploits, would be at the bottom of the standings instead of topping it with 13 points.
Faizal's count was two goals in the 2-2 draw against Maybank, and four against Nur Insafi-MBI, and two hat-tricks against UniKl and KLHC.
He only failed to score against Sapura, where Tenaga struggled to win 1-0 courtesy of Firhan Ashaari.
"My players dominated the match with 29 circle penetrations compared to Tenaga's nine. We also had 10 penalty corners but could only score three goals while Tenaga only had four penalty corners and scored two goals.
"I don't attribute our defeat to strategy, and will use the same tactics when we square off against Tenaga in the return leg. It was more of a bad patch, and I expect my players to bounce back," said Dharmaraj.
The return leg of the Premier Division starts today, and KLHC meet Sapura who then blanked out 5-0 in the first leg.