Thursday, September 10, 2009

Beng Hai: Jiwa still an asset

NATIONAL hockey coach Tai Beng Hai feels Jiwa Mohan is still an asset, and would be considered for the World Cup Qualifiers in Ivercargill, New Zealand on Nov 7-15.
Malaysia need to win gold to realised their dream of playing in the New Delhi World Cup next year, but it will be an uphill task considering hosts New Zealand, China, Austria, Scot land and Wales will be the stumbling blocks.
Jiwa Mohan, who retired from national duty last year and is playing in the Australian league now, has said that he will be available if Bang Hai needs him.
“Basically, Jiwa proved that he is still a strong candidate after he helped Malaysia’s campaign in the Asia Cup.
“In Kuantan, his experienced helped steady nerves in the team, and I would like to have him again, provided we can sort out some minor details like leave from his employers,” said Beng Hai.
Jiwa will be called-up to play in the Three-Nation the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) are planning in Oc tober.
“We will first invite him for the Three-Nation (with Aus tralia and South Korea the possible sparring partners) and see how he fares, and then consider him for the Qualifiers.
“Jiwa is still actively involved in hockey, and fitness has never been a problem for him, so if all goes well, we will have him for the Qualifier.”
Malaysia are wary of New Zealand and China, but have not discounted the European teams in their group.
“Scotland, Wales and Austria are not highly ranked teams, but then again, Malaysia always had difficulty when playing against European teams regardless of their ranking.
“It will not be easy to win gold, but I believe my players will give their best,” said Beng Hai.
The nine teams who have already qualified for the World Cup are hosts India, Pan American champions Canada, Asia Cup champions South Korea, Africa Cup champions South Africa, Oceania Cup champions Australia and semi-finalists of the EuroHockey Championship England, Germany, Netherlands and Spain.
Three more slots will be available via the Qualifiers in New Zealand, France and Argentina.