Thursday, April 23, 2009

Korea test for Malaysia

MALAYSIA face a tough opener against South Korea in the Asia Cup and the May 9 match may prove crucial in their hope of qualifying for the semi-finals in Kuantan.

A good result, however, will ease some pressure for the team before they face minnows Sri Lanka (May 11) and Japan (May 12) in their remaining Group A matches.
National coach Tai Beng Hai saidopening matches are always difficult and Korea will also face similar problems.
"It does not matter who we meet in the opening match as eventually we have to play all the best teams to achieve our target," said Beng Hai yesterday.
"My players, after the recent success in the Azlan Shah Cup, are raring for action. It is good that the players are high on confidence."
The champions of the Asia Cup will qualify for next year's World Cup while the second to fifth-placed teams will compete in the Qualifiers in November.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) has set a top-four target for the team.
Beng Hai and his players will move to their training base at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian players were awarded RM2,000 each for their effort in the recent Azlan Shah Cup. Malaysia were beaten 3-1 by India in the final.
Group A: South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka; Group B: Pakistan, India, China, Bangladesh.
Fixtures -- May 9: Japan v Sri Lanka, India v Bangladesh, South Korea v Malaysia, Pakistan v China; May 10: China v Bangladesh, India v Pakistan; May 11: Malaysia v Sri Lanka, Japan v South Korea; May 12: Pakistan v Bangladesh, China v India, South Korea v Sri Lanka, Malaysia v Japan; May 14: Semi-finals; May 15: Classification; May 16: 3/4th placing and final.