Friday, August 13, 2010

To mix, or take the best to Delhi?

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) want to send a mixed team to the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, but coach Stephen van Huizen said he is keen to field a full- strength side.
Van Huizen is now in Germany with his players to train and play a few friendlies before they compete in a Five-Nation in France on Aug 24-29.
The other teams in the tournament are France, Poland, Ireland and Scotland.
MHF president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said: “We will send a mixed team for the Commonwealth Games, because our priority this year is the Asian Games. If we do well in China, we will not have to rely on a qualifier to play in the Olympics.”
However, when contacted in Germany, Van Huizen said: “Obviously, when the president wants to field a mixed side we will follow his instructions.
“But I will also make my recommendations on why we should field a full side, and hopefully, it is taken into account.”
Van Huizen’s argument is that if MHF field a mix of juniors and seniors for the Commonwealth Games on Oct 3-14, there are no practice matches available for the players left back home.
“If the best play in New Delhi, they will get some good practice before the Asian Games in November,” said van Huizen.
The coach had planned for a Four-Nation next month, but it did not work out.
And while the Asian Games gold is a direct ticket to the 2012 London Olympics, the Commonwealth Games offers only sparring partners.
However, going by the Champions Trophy results, gold medallists Australia and silver medallists England are the best bets for honours in New Delhi.
Malaysia, bronze medallist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, are in Group A with Australia, India, Pakistan and Scotland. Group B is made up of New Zealand, England, Canada. South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago.