THE Malaysian women’s team will head for Bangkok, Thailand, today to defend their Asian Indoor Hockey title.
Last year, Malaysia beat Uzbekistan in the final in Ipoh, and the ladies are primed to repeat the feat again.
And if they win, the title comes with a ticket to Poland next year to play in the World Indoor tournament.
“We have selected a few young players and ex-inter nationals for this assignment as the national players are in training for the Commonwealth and Asian Games.
“But still, we should be able to defend out title going by the girls’ current form,” said Malaysian Women’s Hockey As sociation secretary S. Shamala.
Iran withdrew at the eleventh hour and have been replaced with Thailand B. The other teams in the tournament are Thailand A, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.
“The matches against Thailand B will not count for points, as they have been included just to make up the numbers,” said Shamala.
On the national team, Shamala said two stalwarts will not be able to play in the Commonwealth and Asian Games as they are carrying injuries.
A. Chitra Devi will undergo a knee operation, while Siti Sara’s injury will also take time to heal.
“The team will miss both the players but we have no choice but to rest them.” The national team will go on a tour of China at the end of August to play eight friendlies in preparation for the Com monwealth Games.
In New Delhi, the women are in Group B with England, New Zealand, Canada, and Wales. In Group A are defending champions Australia, South Africa, India, Trinidad & Tobago and Scotland.