Thursday, October 7, 2010

No excuse against Scotland

By Vijesh Rai

AFTER two matches, knives have been sharpened but national hockey coach Stephen Van Huizen has called on critics to view Malaysia's Commonwealth Games positively.
The team's target, Van Huizen argued, is the Guangzhou Asian Games next month and New Delhi is all about getting the players ready.
Though he admitted that Malaysia have been below par, especially in the 4-1 defeat to Pakistan on Wednesday, he said the matches in New Delhi are proving several insights to the coaching panel.
"We are trying to build up for the Asian Games and we have to take the performances here in a positive light. We may have lost to India (3-2) and Pakistan but what we will take back from here is indications of how they are going to play in Guangzhou," said Van Huizen yesterday.
India or Pakistan are likely to be Malaysia's semi-final opponents in the Asian Games, provided the national team don't stumble as they have been doing in New Delhi.
But with an automatic slot into the 2012 London Olympics available to the Asian Games champions, Van Huizen doesn't want his men to impress in New Delhi only to fail in Guangzhou.
"We are scrutinising the performances of all the players and we will work on their weaknesses once the Commonwealth Games are over."
Van Huizen, however, admitted that Malaysia were poor against Pakistan.
"We were fine when the score was 1-1 but when Pakistan scored their second, our performance dropped and the defence, especially, had an off day.
"We play Scotland tomorrow (today) and it is a must win game for it will set us nicely for the clash against Australia (tomorrow)."
Losing to Scotland isn't an option, even if Malaysia are focused on the Asian Games for there are some matches they simply have to win.