National hockey player Razie Rahim and teammates are bent on proving former coach Roelant Oltmans wrong when the Dutchman reportedly said Malaysia would struggle to win a gold medal in the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Oltmans also said India are currently the strongest side in the region and he does not believe Malaysia are capable of beating them.
He added that the Indians have a much better infrastructure and development programme to build a solid team.
However, Razie said the former Pakistan and India coach is entitled to his opinion.
“We should use his words to fire us up. We cannot stop people from commenting about our team,” said Razie.
“We still have two years to prepare for our assault. We can only get better during that time.
“Winning the gold guarantees us an automatic Olympic slot and that is our aim and we will hold on to it.
“If you do not have that ambition, then you have to question yourself why you are playing the sport.
“The Olympic Games is a big dream for all of us. We’ll prove him wrong.”
The players returned to training yesterday under caretaker coach Mohd Amin Rahim after Oltmans quit on Tuesday.
Amin said he was not aware of Oltmans’ comments although he revealed that the former coach used to talk about the strengths of Pakistan and India.
“At Asian level, I would say it’s touch and go.
“Malaysia, India, Pakistan and Japan are capable of beating each other on their day.
“Two years is a long way. If we prepare well, we can achieve our target. Last time, we nearly won the gold with an all-local set-up. Now, we have the same structure and we hope to prepare the team as well as we can before the Asiad.
“However, I will always respect Oltmans. In the 22 months he was here, I learnt a lot from him and it will help me in the future.”
Amin will be in charge until another former international A. Arul Selvaraj takes over in the middle of this month.
Razie, meanwhile, could not hide his delight when Arul was announced as the new coach as both of them have worked together while with the Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) team during the Malaysian Hockey League.
“Arul is the right choice as he is a committed professional.”
Did you find this article insightful?