Tuesday, April 11, 2017
THE Malaysian women's team (pic) will play in Brussels in their World League Semifinals, which is a qualifier for the 2018 World Cup in England.
Coach K. Dharmaraj's ladies will play the matches of their lives from June 21-July 2 in Group A together with Australia, New Zealand, Belgium and Spain.
In Group B are Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Spain, Malaysia.
Dharmaraj was short and sharp in his reply: "Death Group."
The coach and his ladies are in Germany now to play 13 matches in preparation for Brussels, where they won their first match against Bayer Leverkusen 2-0.
The goals were scored by Noraini Abdul Rashid (second minute) Siti Amarina (41st).
"Tough, but I have calculated this and informed the team a month ago that we will be playing in Brussels, barring any upsets in the last World League (Round Two) matches in Vancouver.
"This is because we are the lowest ranked team and Italy, even after losing to us in the semifinals, are in a 'better' group then us.
"I know how tough this group can be as I have been thinking about it for the last one month. It's really tough for team like mine to play in this group again giants like Australia, New Zealand and Spain. The closest rank team to us is Belgium as they are 14th but the advantage they have is as hosts.
"Sometimes is good to go for a tournament like this where nobody thinks you can go far and the pressure is not high with the feeling of wanting to create an upset.
"But our ranking (22nd) is in a such a position that we need to create upset to lift ourselves to a different level...
"As lowest rank team in Brussels, we can sit and complain, but I take it as a challenge to fight to give our best and hope to create an upset by qualifying for our first World Cup."
WOMEN’S Hockey World League Semi-Finals:
Brussels, Belgium (June 21 to July 2)
Group A: Netherlands (No 1), China (8th), South Korea (9th), Italy (16th), Scotland (17th).
Group B: Australia (4th), New Zealand (5th), Belgium (14th), Spain (10th), Malaysia (22nd).
Johannesburg, South Africa (July 8-23)
Group A: England (2nd), Germany (7th), Japan (11th), Ireland (15th), Poland (18th).
Group B: Argentina (3rd), USA (6th), South Africa (13th), India (12th), Chile (20th).