Sunday, August 31, 2008

Asia Cup top-two finish target

NATIONAL hockey coach Sarjit Singh is looking for a direct entry into the 2010 New Delhi World Cup, and the aim is a top-two finish in the Asia Cup in Dubai, next year.
The National team is practically ‘jobless’ this year, with only the Hamburg Masters in Germany and the Malaysia Hockey League to look forward to.
But next year, they will be on a do-or-die mission.
“Germany has invited us for the Hamburg Masters in October, where the other teams will be Pakistan and Belgium. It will be good to play against the Olympic champions (Germany) again,” said Sarjit yesterday.

Malaysia were grouped together with Germany in the Olympic Qualifiers in Japan, and the national team lost 3-0 in the pool match.

Germany, who beat Japan for the only ticket to Beijing from the qualifier, went on the lift the Olympics title when they edged Spain 1-0 in the final.

“Qualifiers are becoming increasingly difficult, as even India and Argentina failed in their respective pools for the Olympics.
“That is why I will work towards an automatic ticket, by playing in the final of the Asia Cup,” said Sarjit.
Dubai will host Malaysia, Japan, China, South Korea, India and Pakistan, who will joined by Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Cup winner Bangladesh and runners-up Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup.

The AHF tournament has three reserved tickets to the World Cup, which means, Malaysia must beat Pakistan, Japan and China to the race. India have qualified as hosts, while South Korea are a class above.

HAMBURG MASTERS FIXTURES — Oct 3: Pakistan v Belgium, Malaysia v Germany.
Oct 4: Malaysia v Pakistan, Belgium v Germany. Oct 5: Belgium v Malaysia, Pakistan v Germany.