Friday, April 10, 2009

Indian hockey lesson

Malaysia’s Chua Boon Huat (left) is challenged by India players in their match on Wednesday. India won 3-0. — Pic:MUHAIZAN YAHYA.

MALAYSIA captain Madzli Ikmar, 30, has been in many sticky situations before, and is among a handful of seniors who survived a revamp after the Japan Olympic Qualifier debacle last year.

And he is in another familiar tight spot, after Malaysia lost 3-0 to India, and need to beat New Zealand tomorrow to qualify for the Azlan Shah Cup final.
"The first two matches -- we played almost perfect hockey, but against India, it was an off day. We simply could not get the ball out from midfield to the Indian semi-circle," said Madzli.
And the reason?
"There are a few, but the main problem was that we could not match the total hockey which India played in the first half.
"In fact, we lost the match in the first 15 minutes, and after that, we were left chasing wildly as we tried to make amends by attacking in the second half, but India defended in numbers, while we easily lost possession in the third pass," said Madzli.
However, the Tenaga Nasional player is confident New Zealand can be beaten.
"After the match we had a meeting, and our faults against India were highlighted by coach (Tai Beng Hai). And I am confident we have the capabilities to beat New Zealand and play in the final," said Madzli.
The Malaysian squad were present to watch the India-New Zealand match yesterday, to have a better understanding of how the Kiwis play.
New Zealand have fielded some youngsters in this tournament, and left behind six seniors, as they are preparing for the World Cup qualifiers in Auckland in November.
The Kiwi squad includes newcomers Arun Panchia and Isaac Staples.
The squad is held together by Olympians Kyle Pontifex, Blair Hopping, Dave Kosoof and Ben Collier
The experienced players left behind are Ryan Archibald, Hayden Shaw, Phil Burrows, Simon Child, Brad Shaw and Shea McAleese.

RESULTS: New Zealand 2 India 2, Pakistan 4 Egypt 0.

FIXTURES -- Tomorrow: India v Pakistan (5pm), New Zealand v Malaysia (7pm);
Sunday: Third-Fourth (4.30pm), Final: (7pm).