Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) will be looking to play stress-free as history beckons for Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) in the final of the TNB Cup 2023 tomorrow night in Bukit Jalil.
The electricmen showed their pedigree in the second-leg, semifinals when they staged a late fightback to book their slot in the final against a confident THT side.
“The players enjoyed the game (against Maybank in the semifinals) last night. That was important. I don’t want the players to be under pressure and I expect the same in the final tomorrow,” said TNB head coach Nur Saiful Zaini Nasiruddin.
“We will have to look out for Jang (Jong-hyun, the Penalty Corner specialist from South Korea). Yes, he is a good player but more importantly, he is experienced and his ball placement is very good.
“We have had certain issues in midfield, but I told the players not to be under pressure. In the last quarter (against Maybank), all players switched all positions and that was key for us. We want to stop THT from getting all three cups this year. At least, one must go to TNB.”
Added TNB captain Faiz Helmi Jalil: “I am ready for this game. I am ready to be assigned as the first runner, so I am ready to stop Jang. I want to win one title with TNB. This time is our time. The last match against Maybank was pivotal for us as it showed our quality as a team.”
In the meantime, THT realised that they will have their work cut out for them when they take on a confident TNB side in what will be a repeat of last year’s TNB Cup final.
But this time round, THT will be out to make sure that TNB do not deliver a surprise at the end as they did in 2022 when the latter sprang a shocking 2-1 win to lift the crown.
“Players’ attitude in the game will be important. Look at the way TNB played last night. I want our players to be the same tomorrow (in the final),” said THT head coach Seo Jong-ho.
“Yes, we have a little issue with the Penalty Corner (in the earlier matches) but this is ok. The important thing is that we won.
“Jang will play tomorrow but we know that our opponent is focussed on him. So we need to make certain changes.”
Added THT captain Fitri Saari: “we cannot underestimate TNB no matter what. We have to take lessons from last year’s final and not leave anything to chance.
“I do not want to assess the other team as I am more concerned about how we perform. We have to play our game.
“We are also out to create a history where after 10 years; we have yet to win the treble. So we want to achieve that.”
TNB CUP 2023
All matches at the National Hockey Stadium
FINAL (2030hrs): Tenaga Nasional Berhad vs Terengganu Hockey Team
THIRD and FOURTH PLACING (1600hrs): UiTM HA-KPT vs Maybank