THE Malaysian juniors will head for New Delhi today (Dec 1) morning, at the back of a stern warning from Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) senior vice president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad for them to behave, on and off the pitch.
The Junior World Cup will be from Dec 6-15, with Malaysia opening accounts against New Zealand on day-one of the tournament.
“The MHC and its coaching staff have been preparing all of you to face this moment in new Delhi for the last five years, and my warning before all of you depart, is that behave on and off the pitch as you will be carrying the Malaysian flag on your shoulders,” said Nur Azmi.
The warning has its merit, as the national Juniors lost the Sultan of Johor Cup gold medal to India 3-0 when some players started fighting, not for the ball, but with their opponents and also the umpires for assumed wrong calls.
“Always remember, that the umpire is also human and he can make mistakes but that does not mean that you need to charge at him in a threatening manner and question his decision.
“As this will not only see you receive a card, but also put your team-mates in trouble when you are sent out, even for a few minutes.
“So, behave on and off the pitch, and there is always the video referral to fall-back to when you think the umpire has made a wrong call,” said Azmi, who was a former national player.
Yesterday, coach K. Dharmaraj’s boys were feted to a lunch, by one of their sponsors Grays, at the Olympic Sports Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
“We have been supporting the juniors for the last four years to the region of RM100,000.
“I believe we have a good mix of players with lots of experience playing together over the years. And after their performance in the Sultan of Johor Cup, I am confident that they will rise to the occasion in the Junior World Cup as well,” said Grays rights holder Kuckreja & Co managing Director Mohanji Singh Kuckreja.
After playing New Zealand on Dec 6, the juniors meet South Africa (Dec 8) and England (Dec 9) to wrap-up their group D fixtures.
New Zealand played two friendlies with Australia before heading for New Delhi, and lost 6-1 and 5-2.