Friday, October 23, 2009

Winning combination, not win

NATIONAL hockey coach Tai Beng Hai is looking for a winning combination, rather than a win in the five test series against World No 2 Australia.
Malaysia lost the first test 3-1, the second 5-1 and held the Aussies 3-3 in the third test in Kuantan on Thursday.
Today, the Australians will be looking to seal the series with their third win at the Tun Razak Stadium, while Beng Hai will continue experimenting leading to the World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand on Nov 7-15.
The shifting of players' positions and trying out younger aspirants are necessary, as Beng Hai shuts the door on the experienced players that he dropped from the training squad.
"I am happy with what I have and will not recall players who have withdrawn and those who have been dropped from the training squad for the qualifier.
"We must look forward as there is not much time leading to our most important target which is the qualifier," said Beng Hai.
The coach's stand has firmly closed any avenue for appeal from Ismail Abu, who withdrew from training after he was caught playing truant from weights training.
"I will place my trust on those who have been training diligently for the qualifier, otherwise I will be sending the wrong signal, by condoning indiscipline," said Beng Hai.
Australia are in the midst of preparing for the Champions Trophy in Melbourne on Nov 28-Dec 6. However, they are in Malaysia without nine first choice players, and out of the 22, 12 have less than 20 caps.
"I know that the fans are looking for a win but I can't afford to push my players to the limit so close to the qualifier.
"I am worried about players picking up injuries, and as I have said before, the five matches are a great avenue for me to test borderline cases, and if we secure a win in the process, it will be an added bonus," said Beng Hai.

FOURTH TEST 24/10/09: Malaysia v Australia (5.30pm, Tun Razak Stadium).
FIFTH TEST 25/10/09: Malaysia v Australia (5.30pm, Tun Razak Stadium).