Players lack basic skills, says Arul

National junior coach S. Arulselvaraj giving instruction to the players during training at the national Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

PETALING JAYA: National coach A. Arulselvaraj attempts to get down to the nuts and bolts of the game after assessing his players’ performances in the recently concluded Malaysian Hockey League (MHL).

While happy with the leadership qualities shown by his players, Arul was not impressed with the lack of quality in hockey basics – passing and receiving – as well as penalty corner conversions.

Arul wants to tighten up the players’ techniques to improve their presence on the international stage, especially ahead of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Perak scheduled from June 18-27.

Only 11 out of the 88 penalty corners taken by national team’s key players Razie Rahim and Faizal Saari throughout the MHL were converted.

Universiti Kuala Lumpur’s Razie hit six while Faizal, who played for Terengganu, scored five. There were other players but they did not score many too.

“This is not encouraging because Malaysia are known for their potent flickers. Offensively, we need to work on our penalty corners, ” said Arul.

“But I understand why the percentage is low too.

“All these players have only returned to competitive action after a long time. We will work with the biomechanics team during training to improvise players’ movements and techniques.

“In terms of empowerment though, I can see that the national players in each team have really played their part to guide the younger players. So the energy is there.”

Arul however, was impressed with some of the national juniors who shone during the league like Terengganu’s Akhimullah Annuar Esook, Shello Silverius and Tenaga Nasional’s Muhajir Abdu Rauf, who helped with their team’s overall play.

He would discuss with coach Wallace Tan to select some of them for the national team.

“The juniors are preparing for the Junior Asia Cup in July. It is a priority tournament, but we will have a chat with Wallace and see whether we can work out something.”

Besides the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, the team are also preparing for the Asian Champions Trophy, most likely in October.

“The list of players will be announced soon, ” added Arul, who has arranged for friendly matches with Great Britain and Japan this month.

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