# Sabah take the Boys’ title for the first time
# Sabah Girls’ surrender their title and finish third
It was a bitter sweet outing for Sabah in the MHC-1MAS-Milo National Under-14 hockey championships which ended at the Bukit Serendit City Council Hockey Stadium in Malacca on Sunday.
The East Malaysians returned home with the Boys’ Under-14 title after defeating Perak 5-4 in sudden-death penalty shootout after a both sides battled to a 2-2 draw in regulation time.
In the playoff for the bronze medal, Johor whipped Malacca 4-1.
However, the Sabah girls turned out to be a “big disappointment” in Sabah Hockey Association secretary Avtar Singh Bal’s own words after failing to retain the title they won last year.
“We were good enough to win both titles – the boys and the girls. The girls paid the price for not playing to instructions. They became swollen headed after advancing to the second stage,” said a disappointed Avtar.
“This is the price you pay when you think you are the stars of the tournament. It is a good lesson for them. Hopefully they will learn from their mistakes.”
Kuala Lumpur won the girls’ title with a 3-2 win over Selangor – after staving off a late fightback by Selangor in a closely fight final.
The City girls scored their goals through Nur Syaza Aqifah Safawai (8th), Khaliesha Nabila Mamarulzaman (13th) and Hasya Syashida Saifuddin (53rd) while Selangor scorers were Atira Mohamad Ismail (52nd) and Nur Aisyah Fadzinu Alia (62nd).
The Sabah girls, however, did not return empty handed – winning the bronze medal with a 4-2 win over newcomers Singapore in the playoff.
Sabah were easily the better team in the boys’ category from day one – giving early signals that the East Malaysians are making in-roads in Malaysian hockey, especially in age-group tournaments.
Perak showed plenty of fighting spirit in the final, coming back each time Sabah took tthe lead. Nasrul Syahkhir opened scoring for the champions with a 24th minute goal.
However, Perak made it all square seven minutes later through Afiq Iqbal only to see Sabah take the lead once again – this time Granson Noel getting his name into the scoresheet in the 63rd minute.
Perak, once again hit back Asraf Iqbal on target on 69 minutes to send the match into a penalty shootout. Sabah, prevailed in the lottery to add another feather in their cap.
Final: Sabah 2 Perak 2
(Sabah win 5-4 in sudden-death penalty shootout)
3rd place playoff
Johor 4 Malacca 1
Final: Kuala Lumpur 3 Selangor 2
3rd place playoff
Sabah 4 Singapore 2