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Friday March 16, 2012

School keeping up with its fine tradition

MALACCA: For the last 50 years, Malacca High School (MHS) had always been tagged a hockey powerhouse on on the local and national front. The school’s recent capture of the state schools Under 18 honours and emerging second best in the Malaysian Hockey Confederation Division Two Junior League is testimony of its continuing prowess in the game.

In the just concluded local schools competition, the MHS (sportingly referred to as Malacca hockey School) defeated Alor Gajah Zone 4-0 in the final after a series of impressive wins in its run-up. In preliminary round matches, MHS beat Tanjong 10-0, Ayer Keroh 6-1, Alor Gajah 6-0, Masjid Tanah 6-0 and Bukit China 2-0.

MHS players Mohd. Farhad Noor Shah, Amirul Aiman and Luqman Nulhakim Sairul bagged the Best Player, Best Goalkeeper and Top Scorer awards respectively.

Good return s: The MHS team that finished second best to Sapura in the national Division two league.
In late February, MHS pocketed RM8,500 as national junior Division Two runners-up following a 0-2 loss to fancied Sapura in the final. The school boasted of six wins from seven matches in the preliminary one-round league before edging Politeknik PKT Kedah 2-1 in the semifinals.

The MHS hockey success story is attributed to the dedication and hard work churned up by hockey masters and coaches adopting a systematic team build-up, backing of a large talent pool, all year round competitive stance and training stints, all underscored by a ‘catch ‘em young’ policy.

Former and long time MHS hockey master 76 year old P.Poonendarajah who still keeps abreast with the school’s game development and progress said that since the sixties, inter-class and house six a side tournaments and regular short friendly matches introduced in the lower forms always yielded in a large talent base for final team selection in both the Under 15 and 18 divisions.

“So much so, selection trials to pick the squads were very well attended. Yes, there were plenty of disappointments when players failed to make the cut.

“Nevertheless, we always insisted on the very best talents to don school colours. Training was conducted daily and attendance was strictly monitored.

“Parents were also actively involved with their following and support to encourage their siblings on the field of play as and when school teams were in competitive action.”

The catch them young policy gave MHS a headstart over the other schools teams in local and national level tournaments where rivals banked on short periods of training to get by.

Best of the lot: Malacca Hockey School in yellow jerseys defeated Alor Gajah Zone 4-0 in the final after a series of impressive wins in its run-up.
“I am glad that this approach mode is still adhered till today to ensure that MHS prowess and strength in the game is always ongoing”.

Other notables in MHS hockey development were the late S.P. Pillay, S.Mani and G.Ravindran and Teaja Singh till the present day management team comprising Tuan Hj Umar Yussof, R.Manogaran, Said Manap and Norhamezi Omar.

“With an array of hockey starts produced by the school over the past years to emulate, there are many in the school always training and fighting hard to follow in their footsteps,” said Manogaran.

From 1960 onwards, the MHS had produced national stars on a regular basis who competed at the highest levels like the World Cup, Olympics, Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games with the likes of Koh Hock Seng, Yang Siow Meng, Robin Goh, Tham Kong Onn, Goh Doh Jin, Ismail Ali and M.P. Haridas as fine examples.

The 70s saw a host of internationals like Tam Chiew Seng, Samad Said, M.Selvanathan, Mahinder Singh, Haricharan Singh, Razak Leman and Tham Yew Kong while the 80s and 90s saw the likes of Lim Chiow Chuan, Benny Tan and Chua Boon Huat. In recent years, players to don national junior colours included Nadzmi Kamaruddin, Eric Koh, B.Namasivayam and Azrul Boesta-man.