Monday, 2 June 2014 | MYT 9:12 PM
We need stern help, says MHC chief
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah observing the national team at practise at The Hague. S. S. KANESAN / The Star.
THE HAGUE: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will look at bringing in experts to help ensure the national hockey team remain disciplined throughout matches, rather than lose focus and allow opponents to win in the last few minutes.
MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said that there have been too many occasions where the Malaysians have allowed goals to be scored against them in the later stages of a match and even lost a game in the last five minutes.
“I think we have heard enough of this being a norm with the national team and that it has happened in the past. For me, there must be a clear solution to the problem. What is the point of playing well early in the match and then losing?” he asked.
“I will talk to the team coaches and seek their views on this. I want it (the problem) to be addressed. We should not let it go on ... let us tackle it now. The current coaches have done well and I am pleased with that. But you must look at the future and improve. The main question is how can we do this and what (or who) do we need?” he asked.
The president took time out to meet the players on Sunday afternoon and talk to them about their target at the World Cup.
“I reminded them that they need to put in the extra effort in a game. We have set them a top 10 target but let’s not be happy with that. It is the matches that you play for the moment which count.
“I can understand when we are beaten well and good. But like the match against Australia we just failed to sustain the good play all the way. A few minutes was all it took for the Australians to get their three goals.
“I want the players to stay focused and help each other. Defend your half with all that you have as a team.
“I think we have the ability to do that,” he said.
Tengku Abdullah, who is also the International Hockey Federation (FIH) vice-president, is here for his first hockey World Cup as well. He saw the team play the opening match against Australia, which they lost 0-4.
The Malaysians played Belgium in a late match on Monday and have England, India and Spain in the remaining ties.
“I have asked the team to look at getting three wins in the group phase. That will take us beyond the 10th placing. It is not impossible.”
Tengku Abdullah informed that other team officials have been impressed with Malaysia for fielding juniors regularly at senior competitions.
“That is good as it shows that we are on their radar. I want the players to make good use of this opportunity, not only to learn, but also show that we are capable of good hockey.
“We have several more big assignments to come. Let’s use this as a platform to improve further,” he said.
Malaysia have the Glasgow Commonwealth Games from July 23-Aug 3 and then the Incheon Asian Games in September, which is also a qualifier for the Rio 2016 Olympics.