PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s hockey team manager Mirnawan Nawawi said there’s no reason to hit the panic button after two straight defeats to Britain (3-1) and Japan (3-0) in a Test series at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Fans have been critical of the results with some saying on social media that the team had regressed but Mirnawan attribute the losses to the national team’s inactivity as their last international competition was the Olympic qualifiers in November 2019.
On the other hand, Britain and Japan are almost peaking as they are preparing for the July Tokyo Olympics.
“Japan and Britain are 90% ready for the Olympics. Malaysia have not trained well because of the pandemic. We only had two days to prepare before the match against Japan, ” said Mirnawan.
“It’s disappointing to be on the losing side but our objective now is to assess the level we are in. From there we can then build the team for the Asian Champions Trophy in October and the Asia Cup.
“The Asia Cup is the platform to qualify for the World Cup.
“Against Britain, we showed some improvement, but we know it can be better. We had four penalty corners and converted one and also created several field goal opportunities.”
He added that players in the Japanese team had played together since 2015 to prepare for the Olympics while Malaysia are rebuilding after the November Olympics qualifiers in which they lost 3-9 on aggregate to Britain.
For the game against Britain on Monday, Malaysia fielded several youngsters like Mohd Akhimullah Annuar Esook, Shello Silverius, Mohd Azrai Aizad and Pavandip Singh.
Mirnawan said despite the loss, the players showed spirit and he’s hoping they will display the same character, discipline and commitment in the last match in the series against Britain tomorrow.