National hockey team focus on goal scoring

Malaysian player Firhan Ashari in action in Odisha Men's World cup hockey at Kalinga Hockey stadium in Bhubaneswar India yesterday.(07/12/2018/S.S.KANESAN/ The Star) (FILE PIX)

PETALING JAYA: It’s back to the basics for the national hockey team upon their return to training on Monday – and that is how to score goals.

In the four-match series against Japan and Britain last month, Malaysia scored only once, from a penalty corner goal by Razie Rahim, in their 1-3 loss on April 19.

The other strikers – Firhan Ashaari, Shahril Saabah, Norsyafiq Sumantri, Faizal Saari, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Ahmad Jalil, Akhimullah Annuar Esook and Mohd Azrai Aizad – fired blanks in the four matches.

National coach A. Arulselvaraj will be emphasising on circle penetration and finishing touches in the upcoming training sessions.

Firhan is game for it and has vowed to work harder to sound the board, especially against foreign teams.

“In international matches you have to be always ready and be able to score on the spur of the moment as any hesitation will be costly. And in today’s game, the ability to anticipate passes and ball path is crucial to scoring goals, ” said Firhan, a striker for Tenaga Nasional.

“The coach has implemented some concepts before the Raya break and we will continue to work on it – like quick shots, low body movement and others.

“Many fans were sceptical of our standard after the series but I personally felt that we did OK. The results were not satisfactory but we had only one full training session before the series.

“In fact, I am proud of my teammates because they showed improvements after every match.”

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