KUALA LUMPUR: The proposed training stint in Holland for the national hockey team is off.
The final approval from the National Sports Council (NSC) is still pending although they had initially agreed to the stint.
On top of that, the fate of coach K. Dharmaraj as national coach is still in the balance. The team were due to leave on Monday for the stint which was supposed to end on Sept 2.
Dharmaraj said the players made it clear on Friday that they were not in favour of the trip as it would be seen by the critics as another holiday for them.
“There is a lot of unhappiness in the team and the players are upset over the current situation. They told me that the stint in Holland should be called off.
“They are concerned over the criticism levelled at the team and felt let down,” he said.
“So we’ve called off the trip. We will continue to train at home and play matches here or try and secure a short trip to Perth where we can play the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) team,” he added.
Dharmaraj and his team have come under heavy fire after the two poor showings at the World Cup in The Hague, Holland, in June and the just-concluded Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. And there were plenty of calls for Dharmaraj to be sacked.
“Yes, the pressure on me and the players has been tremendous. But I’ll continue with the training as usual until I am told otherwise. The focus is the Incheon Asian Games next month in South Korea,” he said.
The Asian Games is a qualifier for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. Only the gold medallists will gain an automatic berth. The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have set the team the target of winning the gold in Incheon.