MALAYSIA lost 2-1 to New Zealand in the World Cup Qualifier.
THE Malaysian hockey team will play three matches against New Zealand at the Tun Razak Stadium in their final preparation for the New Delhi Commonwealth Games on Oct 4-14.
Malaysia are in Group A with world champions Australia, hosts India, Pakistan and Scotland. In Group B are New Zealand, England, Canada, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago.
“We have arranged for three matches against New Zealand on Sept 27 to 29, while the team will head for New Delhi on the 30th,” said Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary Hashim Yusof.
The Commonwealth Games squad will play in the first two matches, while the national juniors will play in the third match against the Kiwis.
Malaysia open accounts in New Delhi against India on Oct 5, followed by Pakistan the next day. Scotland will be the third hurdle on Oct 8, while Australia have been reserved for last on Oct 10.
“New Zealand are in Group B, but we might meet them in the semi-finals and that is why the three matches will be crucial in the team’s preparations,” said Hashim.
Malaysia last played the Kiwis in the World Cup Qualifier and lost 2-1 after taking a 1-0 lead.
The matches against India and Pakistan are always close while Malaysia beat Scotland 3-1 in the recent France Five- Nation en-route to lifting the title.