It is a pity that some players, although young, seem to have prematurely retired from international hockey, while others gracefully left with the catching-up of age. Maybe they cannot get use to the "regimented" style of centralized training for days, months and years or they do not have the "hunger" to don national colours for whatever reasons or are just fed-up with too much of international hockey. Yet! we cannot overlook this and not comment on their performances in the current MHL.
The 1st of whom i feel needs to be mentioned and i consider as the "heartbeat" of TNB is Tajol Rosli. A player who left national hockey at a young age of 23 or 24 is performing superbly for his employer. His "mati mati" style of play with his penetrating moves gives TNB that extra edge in the game. He is fast enough to capitalise on the "gaps" in opponents' defence and tactically open the game for his colleagues. What is also interesting is that he is a "source" of inspiration for the team.
Another player in TNB who needs mentioning is Kalliswaran. As he ages he seems highly matured in his approach to the game. He is majestic in his movements and controls the team's play carefully. A much "cooler" person these days, he does things intelligently probably recognising the slight excess weight in him. Still he is a "force" to reckon .
At Maybank, it is without doubt Suhaimee. Again a player who "hung" up his hockeystick at an early age, he still has the skills of his younger days. Obviously he lacks the fitness but yet he is able to use his intelligence and economise his efforts for deadly moves or to permit the clock to run down in favour of his team. Suhaimee's style these days is like a "rhino" on the charge and more often than not he is able to "stampede" the opposing players.
Another arsenal available to Maybank is the ever versatile and lively Gobinathan. The "Ipoh mari" player provides a stability to Maybank in defence and brings an added dimension to their penalty corner battery. Gobi is much slower these days but he uses his body accordingly to slow down his opponents too. A player who has the ability to motivate his teammates, he too on occasions tends to charge down the opposing team's territory to "mark" out his ground. This indeed makes his presence felt in the game.
In Sapura, there is the ever-present towering figure of Kuhan. More sluggish these days but a great "fighter", he does not give up easily. With age his penalty corners have lost the "sting" but his presence in Sapura's battery gets opponents worried. He is excellent in the 1st half of any match but his fitness severely handicaps his movements in the last 15 minutes of most matches where he gets "short fused" fast. He is still enjoyable to watch.
Rodnizam is another former international who left the international scene at a young age. Today, he seems to show skills that were not there in the years when he was an international. It is probably the maturity with time plus now he has the freedom to think and play. Obviously not at his peak, fitness is an issue but he somehow finds the way to cope by adjusting his style. There is no doubt he is an important cog in Sapura's machine.
These players would be playing significant roles with their teams this weekend at the semifinals of the MHL. Some or all of them may make the difference between winning and losing for their teams. What is important is to see these former internationals still having the spirit to play and give their best for their clubs. Well done lads and Best of Luck.