Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Azlan Shah takes coaches to task

PIC: Malaysia’s Kelvinder Singh (right) attempts to get past China’s Tianjun in their friendly yesterday. Malaysia won 2-0. Pic by Supian Ahmad

By Ajitpal Singh

FORMER Malaysian Hockey Federation president Sultan Azlan Shah took the national coaches to task and jokingly said he would "hang them" if the national team fail to qualify for the London Olympics.
Sultan Azlan met national coach Tai Beng Hai, assistant coach Nur Saiful Zaini, team manager George Koshy and National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong in a meeting which lasted about 20 minutes, after Malaysia's 2-0 victory over China in an international friendly at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
"Not good enough... all aspects, especially penalty corners... they tend to make mistakes in the circle, and whenever they claim for a foul, they shout 'kaki, kaki, kaki'. But when they attack, they don't push the ball onto the legs of their opponents to earn corners," said Sultan Azlan, also the president of the Asian Hockey Federation, yesterday.
"The coaches should be trained, not the players. I wanted to bring in help but the coaches refused."
Malaysia have been drawn with South Korea, Ireland, Russia, Ukraine and Chile in Olympic Qualifiers in London on March 10-18.
"An acquaintance of mine, Nick Holden, offered the services of a South African who was formerly coaching the Irish team but our coaches declined.
"They (national coaches) also did not want the help of Paul (Lissek). In this situation, we should use all the help we can get. They said they can handle. The team better qualify or I will hang them," he added jokingly.
Sultan Azlan then summoned Zolkples, and the NSC head later confirmed that the coaches had declined the offer of assistance from the two coaches.
Asked about the team's qualification chances, Sultan Azlan said: "Korea are there and we cannot discount Ireland, it is going to be difficult.
"The team must have a winning attitude... they must play to win... like Tiger Woods. It is all in the head," said Sultan Azlan.
In yesterday's friendly, Malaysia scored in each half in their 2-0 victory over China. The scorers were Razie Rahim (15th) and Firhan Ashaari (69th).
The team face China in their fifth and final friendly at the same venue today at 6pm.