Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Beng Hai ready for all-weather


NATIONAL chief coach Tai Beng Hai admitted yesterday that there are serious disciplinary problems in the team, and he is bracing for the worst in the World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand on Nov 7-15.
Beng Hai faces the prospect of losing three of his best strikers if the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) management committee decides to go by the book tomorrow.
Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and Azlan Misron broke curfew before the Champions Challenge II, and on Monday, Ismail Abu skipped weights training and was seen at a gaming centre.
Tengku Ahmad and Azlan — with former national player Azli Misron — were caught on CCTV breaking curfew when the national team were in centralised training and housed at the National Sports Council hostel for the Champions Challenge II in Dublin, Ireland in June.
As for Ismail, he had excused himself from training to repair his car, but was caught red-handed by MHF officials playing truant.
The MHF management committee is chaired by president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and the fate of the three players will be known after the meeting.
“I admit there have been serious disciplinary issues which need to be settled in the final phase of preparing for the Qualifier.
“I will leave it to the MHF to decide on my three strikers, and if it is bad news, I am prepared to accept the decision and work with the players I have with me in training,” said Beng Hai.
The case of Azlan and Tengku has been dragging for far too long as the disciplinary board meeting before Hari Raya Aidilfitri was shelved for the lack of quorum.
The national team will be playing five Test matches with Australia from Oct 16, and Beng Hai will name his final squad for the Qualifier after the last Test.
“I have two players in Austria (Sallehin Ghani and Chua Boon Huat) and Jiwa Mohan will also arrive from Australia for the Test matches which will be the final selection for the Qualifier squad.
“Overall, we are almost ready to put up a good fight for the gold medal in the Qualifier.”
Malaysia need to beat New Zealand, China, Scotland, Wales and Austria to the gold medal if they harbour hopes of playing in the New Delhi World Cup next year.

Ismail in trouble for horsing around

ISMAIL ABU in Action at the Asia Cup in Kuantan. He scored in the 1-1 equaliser against South Korea.

NATIONAL striker Ismail Abu was told to leave the World Cup Qualifier training camp yesterday after he was caught playing truant and enjoying himself at a gaming centre near the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex.
The 25-year-old, who has 120 caps, had excused himself from Monday morning’s weights training, saying he needed to repair his car. But he was later spotted by Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) officials enjoying himself at a gaming centre.
The striker was then asked to apologise for his antics, but refused, and instead wrote in a quit letter.
National coach Tai Beng Hai, when asked to confirm the story, said: ‘Where did you hear about this?”
“I can’t say much at this juncture, as it involves policy matters“ he added.
However, national team manager George Koshy confirmed the incident, and said that Ismail has been told to stay away from training, as the matter will be decided when coaches and the MHF management committee meet.
“I am strict when it comes to discipline, and after I met Ismail and spoke to him about the incident, Ismail wrote in a letter withdrawing himself from national training.
“Now, the matter is with the coaches and MHF. The coaches must assess their strategy and see if they need the player, or they can do without him for the Qualifier. It will be decided soon,” said George.
The national players are in camp for the New Zealand World Cup Qualifiers on Nov 7-15 where only the gold medallists advance to the New Delhi World Cup next year. The other teams who will be fighting for gold are Austria, Wales, China and Scotland.
The player concerned, has been scoring consistently since the Champions Challenge II in Dublin, and also the Australia and New Zealand Tours. His absence will surely be felt as Malaysia battle for the sole gold medal in November.