Dharmaraj hails youngsters’ performance in Singapore rout


PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Tigress are certainly making an impression in the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament at the Banbridge Hockey Club in Ireland.

After putting up a brave fight in their 2-1 defeat against world number eight Ireland in their first Group A match, the Malaysian team were in the mood for goals as they put 12 goals past Singapore.

For coach K. Dharmaraj he is happy to see his team, especially the youngsters, putting up excellent performances in both matches.

“Ireland are a big team, and they are also playing at home. We were undeterred and gave our best against a side who is 14 places higher than us in the FIH rankings,” he said.

“We matched them in whatever way we could and created some good plays too. Against Singapore, we didn’t go into the match looking for lots of goals.

“We just played our game. After Ireland thrashed the Czech Republic 8-1, we just needed a single goal to win. However, the girls defied expectations and gave a virtuoso performance against Singapore.”

In the match against Singapore, Nuraini Rashid scored a hattrick (12th, 28th and 35th minute), while Siti Zulaikha Husain continued her goalscoring form in the tournament by scoring two (42nd and 47th).

The remaining goals were scored by Hanis Nadia Onn (9th), Surizan Awang Noh (19th), Kirandeep Kaur (21st), Nurmaizatulhanim Syafi (39th), Fazilla Sylvester (44th), Norfaezah Saiauti (51st) and Norsharina Shabuddin (60th).

Dharmaraj said he is happy with Nuraini’s performance as the team’s main drag-flicker but was even more encouraged by the performances of the youngsters.

“They are performing well this time around because they are not working individually but as a team. These girls are beginning to realise that if the team were to move forward, they have to work on their harmony and chemistry as a team.”

Malaysia will complete their Group A fixture against world No. 19, the Czech Republic, today.

“We will play with pride and honour against them. The Czech Republic are higher ranked than us, but the victory against Singapore is a good morale booster.”

Group winners qualify for the semi-finals while the second and third-placed teams of each group will play in cross-over ties for the remaining two semi-final spots.

The finalists of this tournament will secure a playoff spot to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.