KUALA LUMPUR: K. Dharmaraj is a coach with the midas touch.
He has only taken charge of the national women’s indoor hockey team more than a month ago but the players have shown progress and are on the right track to secure their first gold in the Philippines SEA Games next month.
His players were in top form, winning all their five matches in the five-nation Tuanku Zara invitational international women’s indoor hockey tournament at Jubli Hall in Kuala Kangsar yesterday.
Malaysia scored a whopping 35 goals and conceded only one in five matches.
Malaysia started the ball rolling by whipping Philippines 12-0 in the opening match before they outplayed Taiwan 5-1. They beat Uzbekistan 2-0 and wrapped up the round-robin matches by thrashing Nepal 13-0.In the final, Malaysia beat Uzbekistan 3-0.
Nur Aisyah Yaacob was the toast in the final by scoring two goals while Qasidah Najwa Mohd Halimi was also on target.
Nur Afiqah Syahzani Azhar was the star for the Malaysian team, netting nine goals in the tournament.
Malaysia also avenged their defeat to Uzbekistan in the playoff for the bronze medal in the Asia Indoor tournament in Chonburi, Thailand in July. The Malaysians then lost 1-0 in a penalty shootout after the game was tied at 1-1.
Dharmaraj, who took over from Yahya Atan early last month, said indoor hockey has great potential in Malaysia and should be promoted widely in all states.
“I believe if there is a local league and our players are given more chances to play in overseas tournaments, more medals can be won, ” he said.