TENAGA Nasional (TNB) goalkeeper S. Kumar believes the absence of defender Baljit Singh will not affect his team's chances of winning titles in the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) which starts on Sept 1.
Baljit, who began his playing career with TNB eight years ago, has joined University Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).
"No doubt Baljit will be missed as he is one of the most reliable defenders in the country," Kumar told www.tnbmhl.com.my.
TNB skipper Mohd Sallehin Abdul Ghani is likely to fill the void left by Baljit.
As for Kumar, the national goalkeeper will be hoping for glory in his 12th season with the club after failing to earn titles last year.
"Our young players, namely Faisal Saari, Firhan Ashaari and Faiz Helmi, have matured nicely from international exposure and they will play important roles this season.
"I believe we can land at least one title this season," said the Tampin-born Kumar, who singled out defending champions KL Hockey Club (KLHC) as the team to beat this season.
"However, we should not take other teams lightly. We have in the past paid the price for taking opponents for granted," added Kumar.
TNB make up the sixth team in the Premier League, also comprising KLHC, UniKL, Maybank, Sapura and Nur Insafi-MBI.
Division One has Armed Forces, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), Uniten, Politeknik KPT, Johor and Thunderbolt.
Competing teams, however, have yet to receive the league fixtures from the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).
"We are hoping to get it soon as the league starts next weekend," said a team official.
It is learnt that the league's competition committee made a blunder by failing to schedule the season opening Charity Shield match in its first draft. By Ajitpal Singh