Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nine points or bust

AFTER two fantastic displays, the national hockey team were heavy-footed when they were hammered 5-0 by Ar gentina on Monday.
And even though Malaysia received a fair share of penalty corners, Amin Rahim’s flicks were either wide, or easily palmed away by the goalkeeper.
Could the remaining three pool matches turn into a night- mare?
Coach Sarjit Singh feels the worst is over, and is planning for full nine points from now onwards.
"My fear became a reality against Argentina. I had a notion that after the gruelling match against New Zealand (Malaysia won 2-0), the team will be heavy (muscles become tight) and that is exactly what happened.
"This usually happens to any team in one match in a tournament, and now I believe my team will fare much better against Canada, Belgium and India," said Sarjit.
Pakistan were in the same boat with Malaysia on Monday, after the hard-earned 3-3 draw against Argentina on Sunday. They were trailing Canada 1-0, but recovered with two late goals in the 64th and 67th minutes.
On penalty corners, Sarjit said he is giving Amin a chance to prove himself.
"We did try a set-piece during the second penalty corner, but it did not work. So, I gave the rest to Amin to try direct flicks. I need to assess him in this tournament, and see if he will be valuable in our quest to qualify for the 2010 Delhi World Cup from Asia Cup next year," said Sarjit.

MAY 14: New Zealand v Argentina (4pm), Belgium v Pak istan (6pm), Malaysia v Canada (8pm).