PROJECT 2013 lost both their Pakistan friendlies, and their bad streak could continue today at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, but their coach is the least worried.
K. Dharmaraj fielded a mixed side for the first and second friendlies which his charges lost 5-3 and 4-3, and he will use the same formula today.
“I have a big pool of trainees with me and I want to give all of them a chance to play in the friendlies. Results do not matter to me at this stage, as I am only interested in gauging how much my fringe players have improved,” said Dharmaraj.
The coach will select his best after 10 friendlies against Pakistan (three), South Korea (four) and an Australian County side (three).
The team is preparing for the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca from May 3-13, which doubles up as a World Cup qualifier.
Only three teams, including hosts India, will make the cut to New Delhi next year.
Malaysia are in Group A with South Korea, Japan and Iran. Defending champions India, Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka make up Group B.
“We have too many friendlies before the Junior Asia Cup, so I can’t keep fielding the best as they will get worn out. Maybe I will play the full side against the Australian country side, which could be used as a final selection,” said Dharmaraj.
For the record, Malaysia beat Pakistan 2-1 en-route to winning the Sultan of Johor Cup, but the Pakistan side will be much stronger in Malacca as they will include four Champions Trophy players.
The four, who are not down for the friendlies, are Syed Kashif Shah (19), Muhammad Tousiq (17), Ali Shan (19) and Muhammad Rizwan (18).