KUALA LUMPUR: National Juniors coach Megat Azrafiq threw a challenge to two Division Two teams, and it was duly accepted in the quarter-finals of the Junior Hockey League (JHL).
Megat had asked Kuala Lumpur City Hall (KLCH) and Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) Juniors to prove their mettle against Division One teams to impress him — and they did just that.
Division Two winners KLCH gave last season's Overall champions SSTMI Thunderbolts a hard time and restricted the latter to only a 1-0 win.
At the other end, BJSS Juniors put up a gritty show against their seniors BJSS Thunderbolts before going down 3-1 in the quarter-finals.
With Malaysia hosting the Junior World Cup in December next year, Megat can look at new talents from the JHL.
"I am glad that the Division Two players took up my challenge and gave the Division One teams a tough fight.
"In the end, the country is the winner, as now I have more players to select for the Junior World Cup.
"From KLCH and BJSS Juniors, I will select a few players for the training pool.
"Then I will also scout for consistent players from the Malaysia Games followed by the Sultan of Johor Cup.
"In the end, I hope to get a pool of 30 players for centralised training and international exposure," said Megat.
Men's semi-finals: BJSS Thunderbolts v Pahang Thunderbolts (National Stadium I, 6pm); Datuk Bentara Luar v SSTMI Thunderbolts (National Stadium II, 6pm).
Women's semi-finals: PJCC Black Widow v PKS-UniTen (National Stadium I, 4pm); SSTMI-UniTen v KLSS Wipers (National Stadium II, 4pm)