Thursday, September 13, 2012

Heavy favoutites tag on Malaysian women..

PICTURE OF CALM: Siti Noor Amarina (left) and Fazilla Slyvester Silin

THE Malaysian women carry a heavy favourites tag to win  gold in the First Round of the World League which starts in  Kuantan today.
    This is because they will battle with relatively easy teams - -Singapore, Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka -- over the next three  days for a ticket to the tougher Second Round.
    The newly formed World League will see teams from  around the globe playing over four rounds for Olympic  tickets.
    “It may look easy but be rest assured that we are taking  nothing for granted. Every match is like a final and each goal  counts so there is no room for mistakes or complacency,” said  Malaysian women’s coach Nasihin Nubli.
    Malaysia play Singapore first: “I will field my best team for  every match as this tournament does not provide an avenue  for exposure as a place in the Second Round is at stake. And  the format, a one round league, does not allow us the luxury  of a second take.”
     The Malaysian team had their first feel of the blue turf upon  their arrival in Kuantan on Tuesday. And after the three  training sessions, Nasihin feels that his players have already  gotten used to the change of colour, both in terms of the pitch  and ball.
    “It was initially a strange feeling and it took the players  some time to get used to it. But the pitch conditions are  superb,” added Nasihin.
    With sweeper Sebah Kari having retired from inter national duty, Nasihin said that changes will be made to their  defense with skipper Nadia Rahman expected to play the  sweepers role.
    “It is Kazakhstan that worry me more as not much is known  about them as the last time we saw them in action was in the  2010 Asian Games where we won 4-2. But looking at their  team list, they have retained many from the Asian Games.”
    The tournament would also be special to two Malaysian  players, who will head for the Spanish League next month.
    Siti Noor Amarina and Fazilla Slyvester Silin, both 25,  have  signed up to play for Castelldefels HC.
   “I am looking forward towards Spain as I hope to gain  experience and help Malaysia do well internationally,” said  Amarina who made her national team debut at the Asia Cup  in New Delhi in 2004.
    Amarina, who  from Penang, is currently pursuing a degree  in Physical Education at Universiti Putra Malaysia. She has  93 caps to her credit and lists the win over South Africa in the  2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne as her best  moment in hockey.
    As for Fazilla, a striker, scoring goals for Malaysia in the  tournament is the task that she intends to accomplish to  ensure a top finish for her team.
     “Though I am expected to score goals, it is a team effort and  the end result is what matters for me,” said Fazilla who hails  from Mukah, Sarawak.
   Fazilla, with 62 caps, made her debut in the 2007 Sea  Games in Korat and it was in that tournament that she scored  her first international goal.
     TODAY: Sri Lanka v Kazakhstan (4pm), Malaysia v Sin gapore (6pm).
   Tomorrow: Singapore v Sri Lanka (4pm), Kazakhstan v  Malaysia (6pm).
   Sunday: Singapore v Kazakhstan (4pm), Malaysia v Sri  Lanka (6pm).