Wednesday, 8 January 2014 | MYT 8:49 PM
MHC set Asiad gold target for senior team
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah (centre) poses with the Junior World Cup players during a hi-tea session organised by Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have raised the bar for the national senior team after the successful outing of the National Juniors at the Junior World Cup in New Delhi last month.
The Juniors finished a remarkable fourth among 16 teams who featured in New Delhi, surpassing the top-six target set by MHC.
The target set by MHC for the national senior team this year is to win the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19-Oct 4, to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
The Asiad gold medallist will gain an automatic berth at the Olympics.
Malaysia have not qualified for the Olympics since Sydney in 2000. In the 2010 Asiad in Guangzhou, Malaysia lost to Pakistan in the final.
Besides the Asian Games, the national senior team will also feature in four other tournaments this year – the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from March 13-23, FIH Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan from April 26-May 4, World Cup in The Hague from May 31-June 15 and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games from July 23-Aug 3.
MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said that he has set a higher KPI (Key Performance Index) for the national senior team after the good performance by the juniors in New Delhi.
“We definitely want to see the national senior team performing well in tournaments, including qualifying for the 2016 Olympics,” said Tengku Abdullah.
Asked about Malaysia’s target for the World Cup, he said that it would be a top 10 finish “as the competition level is higher there”.
“Some of the juniors have been called up for national senior training and the national coaches will have a bigger pool of players to choose from for the five tournaments this year,” he said.
“The national senior team have also a panel of six national coaches, led by Paul Revington, and they should strive to do better in tournaments.
Tengku Abdullah also warned the Junior World Cuppers not to become prima donnas after their success in New Delhi.
“We finished fourth in New Delhi but we must go all out to do much better or win the 2016 Junior World Cup,” he said after handing over incentives to the Junior World Cup players at Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).
UniKL organised the hi-tea as an appreciation for the 18 players (seven UniKL players, five former UniKL players and six others) who featured in the Junior World Cup.
The current UniKL players are Mohd Rashid Baharom, Azri Hassan, Meor Mohd Azuan Hasan, Mohd Haziq Samsul, Hazif Zainol, G. Kavin Karthik and Mohd Nor Aqmal Abdul Ghaffar. The former players are Faiz Helmi Jali, Joel Samuel van Huizen, Zulhairi Hashim, Mohd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin and Mohd Syamim Yusof. They each received RM4,000 from UniKL.
The six non-UniKL players who featured in New Delhi were awarded RM1,000 each. They are Mohd Fitri Saari, Mohd Shahril Saabah, Mohd Firhan Ashaari, Mohd Hazrul Amhad Sobri, Mohd Hafizuddin Othman and Shazril Nazli Irwan.