Speed will be key when SMK Zaba takes on Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School in the final of the Ministry of Education League Cup (MELC) Under-14 tomorrow night.
Mazwan Mansor, the head coach of the Kuala Pilah-based SMK Zaba said that his team will have to play a fast attacking game to disrupt their better-organised opponents.
“We were very fast against Gambang Sports School (in the semi-finals) and that really frustrated them,” said Mazwan at the pre-match Press Conference this afternoon.
“So for the past week, we have been working very hard on the players’ fitness to make sure that we play a fast game and disrupt our opponents rhythm.
“Furthermore we will be playing on a synthetic pitch for the final which means that the game will be totally different from what we are used to in the group and also the knockout stages.
“We need more focus when playing on synthetic.”
The Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) which is located in Bandar Penawar, is one of three national sports school in the country with the other being Gambang and also Bukit Jalil.
The artificial pitch was laid down less than four months ago and it will be the first time that an unnatural turf is being used for the finals of the premier youth league in the country.
Richard Scully, the head coach of SSTMI, said that his aim would be to settle the score within the regulated 90 minutes and not go into extra time.
“When I was asked to take over the team two years ago, the aim was to form a team which is not only organized but also competitive,” said Richard.
“We have the advantage of playing at home but it has to be remembered that even JDT loses at home.
“We just have to make sure that we make full use of this advantage and settle things within the stipulated time. Otherwise, we will be under unnecessary pressure.”
The MELC and 100PLUS Super Cup are among several youth programmes and competitions supported by 100PLUS, Malaysia’s leading isotonic beverage.
The others include the 100PLUS Malaysian Junior Golf Open and the 100PLUS National Junior Badminton Circuit. 100PLUS is recommended by the National Sports Council.
FINAL – (31 Oct 2015)
At Mini Stadium of Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School, Johor
Kick-off at 8.30pm
SMK Zaba (NEGERI SEMBILAN) vs Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School