Progress despite defeats, says Arul

Non-stop action: Shello Silverius (right) is always running and brings lots of hard work to the team, says coach A. Arulselvaraj.

PETALING JAYA: After three straight defeats, hockey fans are growing weary of the national team.

The Speedy Tigers went down twice to Japan 0-3 (April 17) and 0-1 on Tuesday. On Monday, they were thumped 3-1 by Britain.

Malaysia take on the Brits again today and many fans fancy them ending the tests without a win.

Coach A. Arulselvaraj said there are some positives to take from the defeats.

“I am heartened to see that many people are following our game and giving their thoughts. Be it positive or negative comments, we know that they care about the game.

“If I take the comments seriously, I would not be coaching. I’m sitting in a position where the public can question, but I know what we need to do to move forward and right now... we see progress, ” he said.

“One has to understand that we are just returning to the international scene. We want to see our level first and work from there. For me, every game, we see progress and once we go full training mode after Hari Raya, things will be better.”

Arul added that the boys are playing under his system for the first time and are trying out different options in matches.

“They are beginning to understand what I want from them as I can see improvements every day. I’m giving everyone at least 30 minutes of game time. Even the keepers Hafizuddin Othman, Adrian Albert and Zaimi Mat Deris have seen action.”

Arul also brought in youngsters Mohd Akhimullah Annuar Esook, Mohd Azrai Aizad, Pavandip Singh and Shello Silverius and in his eyes, they have performed well.

“Azrai had a good outing in the last two games. His energy, positivity and willingness to take on players is brilliant. He is also robust and aggressive which are important traits in international hockey.

“If you see Shello’s statistics, he is always running and brings lots of hard work. Pavandip is intelligent and is pretty good with the ball. What they need now is more international exposure to be better.”

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