Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Make us proud...
THE PROJECT 2013 team have been told to make up for the failures of the national men's and women's squads in the Junior Asia Cup, which starts tomorrow in Malacca.
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah wants the project squad to do the nation proud in the tournament, where the top two teams will earn berths for next year's Junior World Cup in New Delhi.
"I hope they can make up for the senior teams' failures. They have been attaining good results of late and their performance, which singled them out as one of the best junior teams in Asia, was when they won the Sultan of Johor Cup last year. " said Tengku Abdullah after visiting national women's player Sebah Anak Kari at the Damansara Specialist Centre yesterday.
Sebah, a member of the women's squad competing in the ongoing Olympic Qualifiers in Japan, was flown back to Kuala Lumpur last week following a horrific jaw injury against Azerbaijan.
The Project side, under coach K. Dharmaraj, will open their Group A campaign against minnows Iran on Thursday followed by South Korea, two days later and Japan on Monday.
On the team's morale following the death of Noor Izzat's father, Sumantri, on Monday, Tengku Abdullah said the team must use it as a motivation to make an impact in the tournament.
"I am really sad to hear about Noor Izzat's father but I hope he would put on a brave front and play his best hockey in the Asia Cup," he said.
In reference to the failures of the men's and women's teams in the Olympic Qualifiers, Tengku Abdullah said he wants to review the current hockey structure.
"I want to look at it as I feel we need a bigger pool of players and qualified coaches.
"We have to concentrate on grassroots development and I will discuss this with the concerned parties and those with ideas should also come forward to give a helping hand."
He said the national men's team tried their best to qualify for the London Olympics in the qualifiers in Ireland but their best was not enough to get them there.
"The players, however, especially the youngsters should not give up. We should not slam them but give them a chance in future tournaments."
He also talked about the need to improvise the existing safety gear for hockey players.
"Every sport is dangerous... so the concerned parties, including the International Hockey Federation and MHC should design special protective gears and enhance the existing ones as the safety of players is paramount," he added.