Azrul Effendy Bistaman
MELAKA, Oct 6 -- The Melaka hockey squad's fourth Tun Razak Cup title won recently can be attributed to the good rapport shared between head coach Azrul Effendy Bistamam, 40, and team captain B.Namasivayam, 33.
Azrul Effendy, who began his coaching career in 2016, and Namasivayam, had last won the trophy for the state in 2015, when they were teammates.
The head coach said initially, he had only aimed for the team to reach the top four in the 2019 campaign, but things changed after discussions with Namasivayam and the team.
"Since then (2015) Melaka had failed to make it to the finals, including finishing fourth in last year's edition. Melaka were not one of the favourites (this year).
"But after I spoke with the captain (Namasivayam), we said we could create history once again with the whole team on the same page, and since then, we have not looked back," he told Bernama.
On Sept 28, Melaka won its fourth Tun Razak Cup championship after defeating Johor 3-1 in the Division One final at the National Hockey Stadium, with the previous three titles won in 2005, 2009 and 2015.
Azrul Effendy said all the challenges faced by the team during the campaign were overcome with good cooperation and team spirit, and they wasted no chances on the field.
"This year we are brought together the senior and younger players, some of the key players were those who have more than ten years of experience, besides having played with me as a teammate when Melaka last won the title,” he said.