By Ajitpal Singh
STEPHEN Van Huizen (pic, right) has been appointed the new acting chief coach of the national hockey team.
Van Huizen, a former national player, will start his duties after securing his release from his employers, CIMB.
He takes over from Tai Beng Hai, who will now assist him until the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) hires a foreign coach who is expected to arrive in May.
MHF deputy president Nur Azmi Ahmad said the federation picked Van Huizen as the acting chief coach based on his experience.
"Van Huizen has been an understudy of German coach Paul Lissek and several other foreign coaches in the past. He was even chief coach once." said Nur Azmi yesterday.
"The gives him the necessary experience for the job but of course Beng Hai will be working closely with him."
Van Huizen (right) was an understudy of German coach Paul Lissek.
Van Huizen left the national squad in 2003 but has been involved in the game with club side Sapura since 2004.
In 2000, Van Huizen took the national team to the Sydney Olympics.
He also had a stint as the under-18 coach in 2003 and was appointed technical manager to the national team in 2006 for a three-month period.
On the issue of securing his release from CIMB, Nur Azmi said the federation has spoken to his employers.
"They (CIMB) have agreed but there are a few details to be worked out. He will definitely start work with the national team," he said.
Van Huizen's first major competition in charge will be the Asian Champions Trophy in Ipoh on April 13-18.
Meanwhile, several regular players have been dropped from the national squad who will start training on Sunday. Among them are Chua Boon Huat, S. Selvaraju, Ismail Abu, Sallehin Abd Ghani and Baljit Singh Sarjab Singh.
Boon Huat, who has earned 306 international caps, had wanted to represent the country once again after he was dropped from the World Cup Qualifier squad last year.
As for Ismail, he was sent home for indiscipline, also last year. Selvaraju, Ismail, Sallehin and Baljit Singh were not short-listed as they are all injured.
Nur Azmi said the door remains open to these players to make a return.