The Malaysia hockey team will go for a five-day tour of South Korea on Aug 27 as preparations for the Asian Games in the same country next month. - AFP
KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey team will go on a five-day tour to South Korea as part of their preparations for the Asian Games next month.
They will head to Incheon where the Games will be held. The 20 shortlisted players will leave on Aug 27.
National coach A. Arulselvaraj, who took over the team last Tuesday, said the trip is an acclimatisation exercise and to check out the venue.
“We have also made a request to play two matches with the local clubs. So far we have yet to receive confirmation,” he said.
Arulselvaraj added the final 16 players for the Asiad will be named on their return.
“We will decide whether to take one of two goalkeepers to the Games and then name the team when we come back from the tour. At the moment we want to work on the players and sort out the structure for them to play,” he added.
Arulselvaraj took over from K. Dharmaraj as the national coach after the latter was replaced due to problems within the team.
Dharmaraj was coach for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, the Champions Challenge 1, World Cup and the Commonwealth Games.
The Asian Games will be the last assignment for the national team this year. It is also a qualifying tournament for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) want the team to reach the final in Incheon. Only the gold medallists will secure a berth to the Olympics.
Arulselvaraj has named South African Brendan Carolan as his assistant. Arulselvaraj, who is also the chief coach of the project 2016 team, had initially picked Carolan to work with the juniors.
The South African is expected to join the team at the Asian Games.
“I hope he can make it as we are in the process of sorting out his accreditation papers. He is ready to come once we have finalised the details,” added Arulselvaraj.