THE National hockey team are tapering down on physical training, and moving towards team and mental building exercises to prepare for the Dublin Olympic Qualifiers on March 10-18.
Malaysia will battle for the sole ticket to the London Olympics against world No 6 South Korea, Ireland, Chile, Russia and Ukraine.
“Most of the work has been completed and now the players will head for a relaxing weekend in Port Dickson for two days (starting today) where team building and mental strength will be the main agenda,” said national coach Tai Beng Hai.
Chile will be the first ‘hurdle’ and Beng Hai is not taking matters lightly.
“Even though the first three matches (Chile, then Russia and Ukraine) look relatively easy on paper, but we need to get maximum points and also goals to keep the fire burning.”
After that, they will meet the big boys South Korea and finally hosts Ireland, and need to win at least one match to play in the final of the Qualifier.
“We last saw Chile play in the Ireland Champions Challenge II, and their style is similar to Argentina and all their matches were close affairs,” said Beng Hai.
In the 2009 tournament, Japan could only beat Chile 4-3, while Poland edged them 3-2 and Ireland beat them 3-0 in the preliminaries.
Penalty corner flickers Amin Rahim and Razie Rahim suffered injuries during their Tour Down Under, but are recovering nicely.
“Both the penalty corner flickers suffered knocks and bruises during the Tour but should recover fully before we head for Europe. We will only be taking 18 players to we can’t afford to list any injured player on the final list,” said Beng Hai.
Malaysia will set up camp in Cardiff from Feb 28-March 5 after which they will head for Dublin.
The camp is to allow the players to acclimatise and to play at least three matches against Wales.