KUALA LUMPUR: India and Pakistan want to hold practice matches with the Malaysian hockey team in preparation for the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19-Oct 4.
The only glitch is that they want the matches to be played in their countries.
That, however, is not practical, according to Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) secretary general Datuk Johari Abdul Aziz.
“I don’t think we will be able to go to India or Pakistan. The national team are in Incheon for a week and they will hold their final phase of training here (in KL). It will be taxing for them to go on another tour and then leave for South Korea,” he said.
The 20-man team left for Incheon on Wednesday and will be back on Sept 2.
Johari said that he would propose to Pakistan and India to travel to Malaysia for the friendlies.
“That would be ideal for us. I will leave it to them. Their association officials will be in town over the next few days for the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Congress here. We will talk to them then,” he said.
As for the Incheon trip, he said: “It is basically to check out the venue and facilities for the Asian Games.
The matches against the club sides will give the team a feel of the venue as well.”
Malaysia, who won the silver medal in the 2010 Games in Guangzhou, are in Group A with South Korea, Japan, Bangladesh and Singapore.
Defending champions Pakistan are pitted with arch-rivals India, Sri Lanka and Oman in Group B.
The Asian Games is also the qualifier for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The winner will gain an automatic berth to the Olympics.