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Friday March 8, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday April 18, 2013 MYT 1:27:58 AM
by aftar singh
KUALA LUMPUR: The Project 2013 hockey squad had a splendid outing in their 10-day playing tour of India.
Not only did they win all the seven friendlies against club sides in Bangalore, but three defenders – Mohd Zulhairi Hashim, G. Kavin Kartik and Mohd Nor Aqmal Abdul Gaffar – showed vast improvements in their penalty corner drag flicks.
Coach K. Dharmaraj, who returned with the team on Sunday, was impressed with their penalty corner conversion rate during the tour.
“We did well to score in every match ... that’s a good indication of our preparation for the Junior World Cup in Chandigarh, India, in December,” he said.
He also thanked former Indian penalty corner specialist Len Aiyappa for helping the three players improve on their drag flicks.
“Len was instrumental as he spent 10 days teaching Zulhairi, Kavin and Nor Aqmal the right way to execute penalty corner drag flicks.
“Their drag flicks are more powerful and accurate than before,” said Dharmaraj, who guided Malaysia to victory in the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca last May.
He said that they could also rely on midfield Mohd Fitri Saari and forward Mohd Firhan Ashaari to take penalty corners.
The Project squad players will be released to feature in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), which begins on March 21.
Dharmaraj said that his squad would play at least 40 international matches in preparation for the Junior World Cup.
“We’ll be going for a playing tour of South Korea in May and Europe either in June or July.
“We’ll feature in the Sultan of Johor Cup in August and in the pre-Junior World Cup in India in October,” he said.
Sixteen teams, divided into four groups, will feature in the Junior World Cup in December.
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