Saturday, February 9, 2013
Malaysian skipper Nadia Abdul Rahman makes a gallant effort during the 2012 International Super Series at Perth Hockey Stadium.
THE Malaysian women’s hockey team will find the going uphill when they play in the Second Round of the World League on Feb 18-24 in New Delhi, India.
Even though Malaysia emerged as champions in the First Round in Kuantan in August, it was against lesser known teams Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka and Singapore.
Malaysia, ranked no 22 and Kazakhstan (33) booked their tickets in Kuantan, and will now be pitted against higher ranked Japan (9), India (12), Russia (20), as well as Fiji (59).
The top-two will make the grade to the Third Round in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on June 13.
Coach Nasihin Nubli, a former international goalkeeper, believes in his women: “We have a good chance of qualifying for the Third Round as my players are well prepared, and if all goes as planned, we can even end tops in India as well.”
Nasihin said only India and Japan are their main hurdles, while Russia, Kazakhstan and Fiji are must win sides to achieve their target.
History does not favour their match against Japan, as Malaysia were drubbed 8-0 in the last meeting during the 2012 Olympic qualifiers.
“That was a painful encounter, but my players have come a long way since, and the advantage is that we play them last.”
The women will head for India on Wednesday and will play a friendly against Russia on Friday. Nasihin is also trying to get a friendly with India before the tournament starts.
Malaysia’s fixtures: Feb 18 -- Malaysia v Russia; Feb 19: Malaysia v India; Feb 21: Malaysia v Kazakhstan; Feb 22:
Malaysia v Fiji; Feb 24: Malaysia v Japan.
WOMEN’S TEAM: Nadia Abdul Rahman (capt), Juliani Mohamed Din (vice capt), Farah Ayuni Yahya, Mas Huzaimah Aziz, Siti Shahidah Saad, Siti Nor Amarina Ruhani, Raja Norsharina Raja Shahbuddin, Fatin Shafika Shukri, Norasikin Halim, Noor Hasliza Ali, Rabiatul Adawiyah, Siti Rahmah Othman, Nor Izaidah Ibrahim, Kannagi Arumugam, Norbaini Hashim, Fazilla Sylvester Silin, Nurul Nabihah Mansor, Nor Azlin Sumantri.