THE five test matches against Australia exposed major weaknesses in the Malaysian defence, and there seems to be no leader to take control of the midfield.
The forwards are as blunt as ever and this could spell disaster at the World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand on Nov 7-15.
Malaysia are in the same ship with New Zealand, China, Austria, Wales and Scotland in the Qualifiers, and only the gold medallists advance to the New Delhi World Cup next year.
And if Malaysia and China fail to win the gold in Invercargil, and Pakistan and Japan fail in Lille, France, then only South Korea and India will represent Asia in the World Cup.
“I have selected the best in the country, and we have been working to achieve the gold target set by the MHF (Malaysian Hockey Federation).
“The five matches against Australia have shown me what my team are capable of.
“It will not be easy playing New Zealand at home, and also the other European teams but we have as good a chance as the other five teams,” said coach Tai Beng Hai.
Australia scored a total of 16 goals, while Malaysia were on target eight times in the five matches.
And considering that both Australia and Malaysia were experimenting with their teams, the statistics are not too bad, but the penalty corners and shots at goals will surely give the coach sleepless nights in the weeks leading to Invercargill.
Australia won an average of nine penalty corners in every match, while their shots at goal averaged to about 20.
“We missed many penalty corners because the runners were fast and Malaysia had a good defence battery, but against a team with a good flicker, the scores would be disastrous,” said Australian coach Richard Charleswor th.
Malaysia were guilty of giving away penalty corners too easily, and Beng Hai has very little time to rectify this problem.
“I experimented by rotating defenders and trying out new combinations and probably that is why the defence was porous because of this.
“But it also showed me the best combination, and that is what the five matches were held for in the first place,” said Beng Hai.