Sunday, February 22, 2015
Nasihin: Women ready for challenge..
THE Malaysian women's hockey team will attempt to break their jinx and qualify for the World League Semi-finals for the first time, and its not a piped dream.
The women will play in the World League Round Two in New Delhi from March 7-15, and are seeded second after becoming champions in the World League Round One in Singapore last year.
"We are in a good group with teams which we have beaten before and that's why I'm confident that we will play in the final and earn our ticket to the WL Semi-finals this time around," said coach Nasihin Nubli.
The World Hockey League is a qualifier for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Malaysia, ranked 21 in the world are in Group B with Russia, Singapore and Kazakhstan. World No 13 India, are the top seeds and have Poland, Ghana and Thailand in Group A.
Nasihin said Russia will be Malaysia’s biggest hurdle to finish tops in their group, and earn a favourable draw by playing the bottom placed team from Group A in the quarter-finals.
“We beat Russia in our last meeting (in 2013), and I believe we can do the same in New Delhi if we take our chances well," said Nasihin.
He will select 20 players and head for New Delhi on March 3 were at least four friendlies will be played before Nasihin names his final 18.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have set a top-two target for the women.
MALAYSIA'S FIXTURES -- March 7: Malaysia v Kazakhstan; March 8: Malaysia v Russia; March 10: Malaysia v Singapore.
Note: All eight teams qualify for quarter-finals.