Syed Syafiq: Every player must be able to finish off chances

PETALING JAYA: Opportunities don’t often come along. So, when they do, you have to grab them.

And national hockey coach Roelant Oltmans is pressing home this point as he prepares his players for the Asian Champions Trophy to be held in Bangladesh in November.

Syed Syafiq Syed Mohd Cholan (pic) said even defenders like him have to go through finishing drills as Oltmans said any player in the semi-circle must be able to finish off the chances.

“Coach told us that our awareness and focus in the six-metre area could be the turning point in a match. If you cannot finish in the D, then you will face problems,” said the 25-year-old.

“You may have the fastest players, players with high technical level and those who entertain fans with their movements and passes, but if you can’t finish them off, what is the point?

“The first week was a struggle because we have not held the stick for a long time since the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Second week onwards, our basics got better and we got the hang of things.”

On Wednesday, when the players began their contact training, Syed Syafiq felt a sense of relief.

“During the non-contact training, I felt that there was something missing, it was not satisfying at all. Now that we can have some contact, it not only helps the defenders but the attackers will benefit too as it helps build our fitness and confidence level.

“We can also work on things like teamwork and combinations as we have not been together for months.”

Syed Syafiq revealed that he is looking forward to reuniting with his former Project 2016 coach A. Arul Selvaraj, who will return to the national fold next month as the chief assistant coach.

“I understand his game, so that is helpful. For me, his return is a boost to the team. He is the kind of coach who places emphasis on being responsible on and off the pitch.”
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