Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Honeymoon period over

By Ajitpal Singh

TALL ORDER: New coach Revington has a substantial challenge on his hands

NATIONAL coach Paul Revington watched, for the first time, Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) matches last weekend but the holiday will soon end as the South African will need immediate results to keep local critics silent.
  His predecessors were sliced and chopped like minced meat in the past for failure to elevate the status of local hockey and if he does not succeed in making positive changes, he too could face a similar fate.
  Revington's first task in charge will be the Champions Challenge I in Argentina on Nov 24-Dec 2 and then the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha on Dec 14-22.
  "Results are very important for a team and their players to earn recognition and respect.
  "I definitely want Malaysia to win every match but at the same time play good hockey," said Revington at the National Hockey Stadium on Sunday.
  "My job is to bring some level of consistency in terms of play and results. It will help create opportunities for locals to ply their trade with foreign clubs, especially in Europe."
   The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) made it clear to Revington, before he penned his contract last week, that it wants to see Malaysia qualify for the 2014 World Cup and then the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
   It will be a tall order for Malaysia as they have not featured in either competition for a long time but Revington's arrival definitely gives the local game new hope and a breath of fresh air.
  Revington, who is on a four-year contract, also praised the quality of the local league.
  "There are many quality players in the MHL. They are world class but, of course, need to improve on some aspects of their game which will be done during national training," he said.
  Revington intends to call up between 25 and 30 players for centralised training after the MHL final on Oct 10.
  "I will evaluate the performance of everyone singled out during the league before naming my core players.
   "But I will keep my options open as there could also be quality players in the Razak Cup which starts four days after the MHL," he said.
   On whether he will keep an open mind in player selection, Revington said those who perform, regardless of their experience and caps, will be considered for trials.
  "I do not want to name anyone who has impressed me so far just yet as I've just watched one weekend of matches. I will get a better perspective after a few weeks.
  "I will need to sit down with those concerned for at least two days after the league before naming the national squad. I will only pick the best," Revington added.