Monday, September 7, 2009

Jiwa ready for national duty again

JIWA Mohan, 28, is ready to represent Malaysia in the World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand, provided his services are required by coach Tai Beng Hai.
Jiwa currently plays in Perth with the Northern Territory Stingers, and his vast experience will be a valuable asset especially in midfield.
In an e-mail interview Jiwa said: “It will be an honour to serve the country if requested to do so. I will be able to serve again, with proper understanding and agreement.”
The Penang-born player went into retirement at the end of 2008, but played active hockey with his Australian Club. He returned to the national side for the Asia Cup in Kuantan, where Malaysia finished fourth, and is now back in Aus tralia.
In the Qualifier, Malaysia will be up against New Zealand, China, Scotland, Wales and Austria. Only the gold medallist will advance to the New Delhi World Cup next year.
And Jiwa, with more than 250 caps to his name, picks New Zealand as the early favourites, but does not write off Malaysia.
“NZ are the favourites based on their world ranking (eighth) and home ground advantage. And the dark horse in our group will be China (ranked 13th).
“As for Malaysia (ranked 16th), realistically, we stand a a very good chance to make it provided strategies and morale of the players are good,” said Jiwa.
On another note, Jiwa feels his stint in Australia has “definitely helped me to be a different player” and he recommends it any Malaysian player who wants to enhance his hockey career.
And his overseas experience has taught him that year- round camp is not a good idea.
“I have been in both centralised and noe de-centralised training and now I know that year-round camp is not good for the (development of) players. It has displayed more negatives than positive effects. Players should develop both ways, in their career as well as sporting life.”
“And the local league also needs a re-think, as in Australia, one plays more than he trains. Here, I play 22 matches in the league, not including semis and final.
“Competition is better than training. And the most im portant thing that has made me better is exposure to new knowledge, different culture (playing culture) and ways of training.
“I recommend that more Malaysians should play in foreign leagues,” said Jiwa.