THE National Under-16 team lost both their friendlies and height contest to the visiting under-17 Chandigarh hockey academy from Punjab, but the team showed some promise in their fighting display.
The juniors lost 6-1 and then 1-0, and will wrap-up the series today.
The Malaysian boys not only lost on the pitch, but also in height. The Punjab boys were all six-footers, while the Malaysian players hardly reached their shoulders.
“The first match went badly because the boys were overawed by their opponents physique, and also because boys from Bandar Penawar and Bukit Jalil Sports Schools were combined to play in a match for the first time.
“But in the second match, there was marked progress and they could have even won the match is not for the three bungled penalty corners,” said national under-16 coach K. Dharmaraj.
The boys are being groomed for the 2013 Junior World Cup, and Dharmaraj said he will increase the pool to make it more challenging.
“I will slowly increase the pool, so that there will be continuous challenging among the payers for positions in the team.
“This will make them realise that there is no guarantee, and they will have to constantly be at their best to be in the training pool.”
The current national senior team has a limited pool of players, and many have taken their spots for granted, as they know that even if their performance drops, there are no capable replacements to rip their national colours away.