Saturday, May 23, 2009

SMT Bintulu ready for nationals test

ON A ROLL: SMT Bintulu players with Arifi (seated, fourth left) and Hakimi (seated fourth right).

BINTULU: Sekolah Menengah Teknik (SMT) Bintulu are gearing up for their biggest test in the National Inter-Teknik football tournament from May 23-28 in Taiping, Perak.

Team manager Arifi Futra said the players would do their best for Sarawak and were optimistic of a positive result.

“With an experienced coach in Mohamad Hakimi, it is not impossible for us to prove something in the tournament,” he said yesterday.

Arifi said their confidence was boosted by the credentials of Hakimi who had successfully coached several local league teams – UPMKB, winners of the Bintulu Football Association (BIFA) Cup 2006, Marine Police, runners-up of the BIFA Cup 2007 and Marine Police, winners of the Petronas Cup 2008.

“We have seen his ability as a coach. Under him, SMT Bintulu became the champions of the State Inter-Teknik tournament as well as the second Tunas Harapan BDA Cup,” he added.

Meanwhile, Hakimi said mental strength and sound teamwork were the big pulses of his team.

“The players have been exposed to higher-level tournaments. Winning the two recent tournaments have boosted their confidence to get a good result in the National Inter-Teknik tournament,” he added.

He thanked teams like ABF, MLNG, PDRM, Uniputra (UPMKB) and Marine Police for helping to fine-tune SMT Bintulu with friendly matches.

In their first match on May 24, SMT Bintulu will play hosts Perak and subsequently, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Sabah.

Among the SMT Bintulu first eleven are Asmin Mat, Mohd Zainol Ariffin, Firdaus Abu, Semon Ngadan and Mohd Taufik Ismail.

The National Inter-Teknik tournament is organized by the Co-curiculum Unit Teknik and Vocational Division of the Education Ministry.

In the qualifying rounds, SMT Bintulu defeated the following teams – SMT Betong 4-0, defending champions SMT Miri 4-0, SMT Sejingkat 4-0, SMT Sibu 2-0 (semi-finals) and SMT Matang 6-1 (final).

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