By Aftar Singh
KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) president Sultan Azlan Shah took the national hockey team’s coaches to task after watching Malaysia’s fourth friendly against China at the National Hockey Stadium in Buklit Jalil yesterday.
Sultan Azlan, who is also the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) president, jokingly said: I will hang them (coaches) if the national team do not qualify for the London Olympics. The coaches need training more than the players.”
He also had a heart-to-heart talk with national coach Tai Beng Hai, assistant coach Nor Saiful Zaini and team manager George Koshy. Also present was National Sports Council (NSC) Director-General Datuk Zolkples Embong.
Sultan Azlan, who is also life president of the now defunct MHF, was apparently very unhappy with the coaches who turned down his offer to help the national team qualify for the Olympics.
The MHF were dissolved on Dec 17 and the Malaysia Hockey Confederation (MHC) took over as the governing body of hockey as of January this year.
“An acquaintance of mine, Nick Holden from South Africa, knows a former Ireland coach who is willing to help out but our coaches did not take up his offer.
“I also want to bring back former national coach Paul (Lissek) to help but the coaches don’t want his services either.”
Zolkple, confirmed that our coaches did not want the duo’s help.
Malaysia, who are preparing for the Olympic qualifier in Dublin from March 10-18, played a pathetic game against China but still managed to win 2-0 in the fourth test match yesterday.
Defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim gave Malaysia the lead from the first penalty corner in the 15th minute before Mohd Firhan Ashaari scored in the 69th from a field goal.
It was Malaysia’s second win of the five-match series. They lost the first two matches (2-1) and (4-1) before winning the third (4-2).
The two teams will square off in the fifth and final match today at 6pm.
When asked about the current team, Sultan Azlan said they were not good enough.
“They are not good in all aspects especially in penalty corners. Every time when the opponents are in their D, they claim for leg faults (kaki, kaki, kaki). When they are in the opponents semi-circle the players are not hitting the ball onto the opponents’ legs,” he said .
Sultan Azlan said that the players must have the “winning attitude”.
“They must play to win like golfing great Tiger Woods. They must use their heads.”
Asked about the chances of qualifying for the Olympics, Sultan Azlan said it is going to be tough.
“It is not going to be easy against South Korea and Ireland in the qualifier,” said Sultan Azlan.
Malaysia failed to qualify for the last two Olympics in Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008). They last played in the Sydney Olympics in 2000. -- THE STAR