Postponements leave national team without tournaments

PETALING JAYA: Newly appointed national hockey coach A. Arul Selvaraj is in a quandary.

The former international, who has served seven days of his 14-day quarantine period after returning from Dublin last week, is in the dark over which tournament he will be preparing the national hockey team for.

The Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) in Bangladesh, scheduled for Nov 17-27, was supposed to be Arul’s first competition when he starts his stint on Aug 26 but it could be postponed to next year.

Last week, the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) postponed the men’s and women’s Junior Asia Cups to next year.

The tournaments, which are qualifying events for the men’s and women’s Junior World Cups, were initially scheduled to take place in Bangladesh (men, June 4-12) and Japan (women, April 6-12) but have now been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I have another seven days of quarantine left and I can’t wait to get back onto the pitch ... for now I’ll let my assistant Mohd Amin Rahim handle the training,” said Arul.

“Amin has been doing a good job thus far and I feel it is better to let him continue with the programme.

“The big concern for me is the lack of tournaments for the players. It’s hard to just train without direction.

“We need a purpose or a target and all the postponements have affected our plan.”

The Razak Cup tournament from Sept 18-26 will offer some solace for Arul as it will give him the chance to assess players to be picked for his team.

“The Razak Cup will be a good start for the players. I will be able to gauge their performances and hopefully see a good show from the national players and potential recruits.”
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