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Tuesday February 19, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday April 17, 2013 MYT 12:34:32 AM
by s. ramaguru
KUALA LUMPUR: National players should not take their places in the national hockey team for granted.
National coach Paul Revington issued the stern warning and reminded the players that they will be accessed according to their performances in domestic competitions.
And that means the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) which starts on March 22 is a tournament which all aspiring national players must take part in and more importantly perform well.
“We will pick the best players from our current squad of 30 for the coming Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. But the training squad will undergo a review once the MHL gets under way. I will look at all the players (new and old) and then make a selection based on their performances.
“The MHL is the focal point in the selection process. There is no guarantee that the players in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup squad will retain their places. The players have to fight for their places and playing well in domestic meets is a must for me,” said Revington yesterday as the team enter their final phase of training for Ipoh.
The final selection of the 18 players for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is expected to be held on Feb 28. The team will then play two friendly matches against New Zealand on March 4 and 5 in Malacca. The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will be held in Ipoh from March 9-17.
There are three injured players in the list of 30. Nabil Fiqri is already back in training but faces an uphill task trying to get back into the final 18. The other two Izwan Firdaus and Hafifihafiz Hanafi are out they have yet to fully recover.
“There is no real issue with the injured players. We have several players like Faizal Saari and S. Kumar returning to the squad after their playing stint in India. Defender Baljit Singh who got married recently is also back with us. Like I said we will pick the best.”
For Revington the target this year is to try and qualify for the 2014 World Cup. He has two chances to do that.
The first is when the team play in the World League semi-finals in June (Johor Baru) and the other in the Asia Cup in August (Ipoh).
Revington also said that he feels there are not enough domestic tournaments for the players in Malaysia: “The current system of the MHL being played over three months is not enough. I would prefer if there are two such windows for the MHL each year. One in the beginning of the year and the other later. It would be ideal for the players to have good quality tournaments to earn a place in the national squad.
“Of course this is something that the association may want to look into for the future. I will be at the MHL to scout for players and the opportunity is open to all players to show what they have in order to make the cut for the training squad,” he said.
Revington, a South African, was the coach of the Ireland before taking up the coaching job here after the London Olympics. His long term target is to take Malaysia into the 2016 Olympics.
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Others, Sport, Sport, Paul revinton, Malaysia Hockey League, Ipoh
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