KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey team will continue their preparations for the Asian Games immediately upon their return from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Wednesday.
The first order of business after a short break is for the players to regroup and a selection made to trim the team to 24 players. They will then leave for Utretch on Aug 11 for a three-week stint in Holland.
From the 16 players who played in Glasgow, six will be dropped from the squad. The other 10 will join the remaining 14 players for the trip to Holland, which will also see them playing at least 10 friendly matches.
The big plan is to hold training sessions and play quality practice matches as part of their preparations for the Asiad in Incheon, South Korea from Sept 19-Oct 4.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) has set the team the target of winning the gold medal in Incheon. The Asian Games is a qualifier for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Only the winner will gain an automatic berth.
MHF secretary general Datuk Mohamed Johari Aziz said there is no change in the plan to send the team to Holland at the moment.
“But we will wait for the team to come back (from Glasgow) before finalising all the details. We also need to meet with the National Sports Council (NSC) to reconfirm the agreement we had earlier to send the team for the stint. I believe that this has not changed,” he said.
The national team had a poor outing in Glasgow where they finished in seventh place.
They beat Canada 2-0 in the preliminary round but lost to England (1-8), Trinidad and Tobago (2-4) and New Zealand (1-6) in the other group matches. In the playoff match for seventh place they defeated Scotland 2-1.
The 24 players for the Holland stint are expected to be named later this week and those dropped will be allowed to play in the Razak Cup which will be held in Kuantan from Aug 15-24.