Sunday, October 16, 2016

Women's ACT: Tough for Dharmaraj's charges...

MALAYSIA will utilise the women's Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) in Singapore on Oct 29-Nov 5 as a training base for the World League Round Two.
  Kuala Lumpur will host the World League Round Two on Jan 14-22, and its a chance for coach K. Dharmaraj's charges to make an attempt to play in the World Cup in 2018.
  For the ACT, World No 21 Malaysia will face uphill battles against higher ranked teams China (eighth), Japan (10th), South Korea (ninth) and India (12th).
  Dharmaraj knows the score in the ACT, and even though the statistics looks bad, the Malaysian girls only need to beat one team for a chance to play in the third-fourth medal match.
  "All the teams are much higher ranked than our women and it will be a tough tournament but good in the sense that it will prepare us for the World League Round Two in Singapore," said Dharmaraj.
  The 18 who competed in the Australian Hockey League in Perth and finished seventh out of 10 teams are in the running for the ACT, together with trainee Inspectors Farah Ayuni Yahya and Noor Hasliza Ali.
  "Farah and Hasliza could not go to Peth because they had Inspector training at Pulapol, but have been released to play in the ACT in Singapore.
  "Their presence will inject experience into the team and I am expecting them to give all the higher ranked teams a tough fight," said Dharmaraj.
  The women's ACT was last held in 2013, and Malaysia claimed the bronze by beating China 3-1.
  And for the World League Round Two, in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 14-22, Malaysia will battle for a slot in the World League Semi-finals and a shot at the 2018 World Cup against Ireland, Italy, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Fiji and Wales.
  "With all teams advancing to the quarter-finals of the World League, I believe we have a good chance of advancing, to the World league Semi-finals," said Dharmaraj.
  For the record, the Malaysia women have yet to break past Round Two of the World League.