Women hockey players eye much-needed friendlies in Oman

PETALING JAYA: The new-look national women’s hockey team hope to get some quality warm-up matches before mounting their assault in the Asian Cup.

The side led by coach Nasihin Nubli have landed in Muscat, Oman and will have at least three days to prepare before the tournament starts on Friday.

He said they will be discussing with some other teams on the possibility of playing some friendlies.

“At least one would be good enough before our first game on Friday. We have played against some clubs at home but we need some matches against international teams,” he said.

“I’m having talks with the managers, so let’s hope it happens. If we can get two friendlies, it would be great. We need to familiarise ourselves with the surroundings and pitch.

“I’ve been in Oman before and I know they will conduct a really good tournament. The tournament is done in a bubble set-up, so it’s hotel, training, hotel, training.”

Out of the 20 players, 12 will be making their debut and Malaysia are not setting a lofty target in their first assignment of the year.

Malaysia are in Group A with defending champions India, Japan and Singapore while Group B consist of China, South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia.

The top two teams from each group will head into the semi-finals and also seal a spot for the World Cup which Spain and Holland will co-host from July 1-17.

Malaysia open their campaign against India followed by matches against Singapore (Sunday) and Japan on Monday.

In their last tournament in Japan in 2017, they finished fifth.

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