THE Malaysian men's hockey team received a favourable fixture for the Guangzhou Asian Games as they open accounts against Singapore. But they could find themselves without a chief coach.
After playing Singapore, Malaysia will have a day's rest before meeting South Korea and Oman back-to-back.
Hosts China will square off against Malaysia after another day's rest.
"Yes, the fixtures are very kind to us because earlier I had feared that we would have to play Korea and China back-to-back. Or that Korea and China will play in the last game.
"However, having said that, reaching the semi-finals is still in the hands of the players, as they have to perform in every match," said chief coach Stephen van Huizen.
It is highly likely that Korea will seal one semis ticket, while Malaysia and China will fight for the second spot in their final Group A match.
Van Huizen was injured during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi when he missed a step, and the early indications are that he fractured a bone in his back.
"I have gone for an X-ray and the pain is still there. I will only find out in a few days time how serious the injury is," said van Huizen.
The women will play India, followed by Japan, Korea, Kazakhstan and Thailand.
MEN -- Group A: South Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Oman; Group B: India, Pakistan, Japan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong.
WOMEN -- China, Japan, India, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Thailand.