Tuesday, 11 February 2014 | MYT 4:33 PM
Dharmaraj warns veterans against complacency
Goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin in a file photo. Out of the 31 players fighting for a place in the World Cup squad, he is the only one to have featured in the tournament previously, at the 2002 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
KUALA LUMPUR: National chief coach K. Dharmaraj has warned the seasoned hockey players not to take their places in the national hockey team for granted.
Dharmaraj said that he would name the squad of 18 players for the World Cup in The Hague (from May 31-June 15) based on current form and not experience.
“I will not consider a seasoned campaigner for the World Cup even though he has more than 200 international caps to his credit.
“The players named for the World Cup will be based on current form. I want players who can give their best in the World Cup as we will be facing top-ranked teams in the world,” said Dharmaraj.
There are 31 players in the training squad and all the players will be fighting for a place in the World Cup as none of them have ever featured in the tournament except for goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin, who played in the 2002 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
Twelve teams will feature in the World Cup and Malaysia are ranked 13th, which is the lowest ranked team in the tournament.
Malaysia will open their Group A campaign against world champions and world No. 1 Australia on May 31.
This will be followed by matches against world No. 5 Belgium (June 2), world No. 4 England (June 5), world No. 10 India (June 7) and world No. 9 Spain (June 9).
The semi-finals are slated for June 13 and the final will be on June 15.
Olympic champions and world No. 2 Germany are drawn in Group B with Holland (No. 3), New Zealand (No. 6), South Korea (No. 7), Argentina (No. 11) and South Africa (No. 12).
The target for the national team, who are playing in the World Cup after a lapse of 12 years, is to finish among the top 10.
Dharmaraj said that all 31 players in the training squad would feature either in tournaments like the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from March 13-23 and the Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan from April 26-May 4 before he names the World Cup squad in May.
The national team will also feature in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games from July 23-Aug 3 and the Incheon Asian Games from Sept 19-Oct 4.
The winner of the Asian Games will gain an automatic berth in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.