Monday, April 16, 2007

`New' Malaysia to the fore


MALAYSIA will take their first step in team rebuilding when they meet
South Korea today in the Four-Nation in Adelaide, the national hockey
team's first competitive match since finishing eighth in the Kuala Lumpur
World Cup.
Coach Paul Lissek will be in an unenviable position in the run-up to the
Asian Games in September because the national side has lost some veterans
and he has to groom a relatively young squad into potential medal winners
in just four months.
Following the retirement of Mirnawan Nawawi, S. Shanker, Maninderjit
Singh, Nashihin Nubli and Nor Azlan Bakar, Lissek was forced to name a
young squad for what should be a tough time against the likes of
Australia, India and Korea.
Australia, the KL World Cup silver medallists, are preparing to defend
their gold in the Manchester Commonwealth Games and are the favourites in
the Four-Nation.
Coach Barry Dancer named his squad following the conclusion of the
Australian Hockey League final in Melbourne recently and two new
inclusions were made in the national squad.
Andrew Smith, 23, the Australian Hockey League's top scorer with 22
goals, was rewarded for his outstanding performance while goalkeeper
Stephen Lambert fills the vacant position left by World Cup keeper Lachlan
Dreher who announced his retirement earlier this week.
Dancer will select the team for the Commonwealth Games and the Champions
Trophy from this squad.
As for Malaysia, S. Kumar will be tested in Adelaide and the return leg
in Melbourne as national goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin has called it quits
while the other new players are Ismail Abu, Mohamed Fikri Bassar, Megat
Azrafiq Termizi, Mohamed Fakhrulrazi and V. Vinodhan.
National team - Goalkeepers: S. Kumar, Roslan Jamaluddin.
Defenders: K. Gobinathan, Ismail Abu, S. Kuhan, Megat Azrafiq Termizi,
Mohamed Amin Rahim, Redzuan Ponirin.
Midfielders: Azlan Misron, K. Keevan Raj, Mohamed Fakhrulrazi, Mohamed
Fikri Bassar, Mohamed Madzli Ikmar, Norazlan Rahim, V. Vinodhan.
Forwards: Chairil Anwar, Riduan Nasir, Rodhanizam Radzi.
Manager: Yahya Atan; Coaches: Paul Lissek, Tai Beng Hai;
Physiotherapist: Mokhtar Lassim; Umpire: K. Kanaisan.
Fixtures: Adelaide - Today: South Korea v Malaysia, Australia v India;
Saturday: Australia v South Korea, India v Malaysia; Sunday: South Korea v
India, Australia v Malaysia.
Melbourne - June 5: Australia v South Korea, India v Malaysia; June 6:
Australia v Malaysia, South Korea v India; June 7: REST DAY: June 8: South
Korea v Malaysia, Australia v India.
June 9: third-fourth place play-off and final.