Sunday, August 21, 2011

Target set for Ordos

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) has set a top- four target for the Inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China on Sept 3-11 as they look to build a world class outfit.
And for the Champions Challenge I in South Africa from Nov 26-Dec 4, the target is top-five so that Malaysia are not relegated to the lower Challenge tournament.
“The MHF are always serious when we send a team for any tournament. The target is always semi-finals, and to try their best after that.
“This is in line with our mission to break into the top-10 bracket in the near future,” said MHF president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
Malaysian finished second behind Pakistan in the Asian Games, and would be fighting more epic battles when they play in the Asian Champions Trophy.
The confirmed teams are Pakistan. South Africa, India, Pakistan, Japan and China.
However, Pakistan will be hard-pressed to retain their Asian crown as selectors retained Mohammad Imran as captain while they axed the experienced trio of Rehan Butt, Sohail Abbas and Waseem Ahmad,
It is ironic, as when Malaysia lost the Asian Games gold to Pakistan 2-0, Sohail and Rehan were the scorers.
Malaysia open accounts in the Asian Champions Trophy against Pakistan.
In Johannesburg and Malaysia will be up against Canada, Argentina and Japan in Group B. Group A comprises New Zealand, South Africa, Belgium and Poland.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) have confirmed that the top teams in the tournament will be promoted to Champions Trophy, while the following four teams will remain in the same bracket.
However, both the tournaments are just seen as a warm-up before Malaysia plays in the Olympic Qualifier next March, where a gold medal will not only see them play in London, but also see them breaking into the top-10 bracket in the world.

National players can play in MHL

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) council decided yesterday to allow national players to play in the Malaysia Hockey League from Sept 17 to Oct 23.
However, the council included certain conditions so that national players attend training with Tai coach Beng Hai from Monday to Thursday, and club duty will be during weekends.
"We decided on this win-win situation because it will look into the welfare of the players, clubs, and also the nation simultaniously," said MHF president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahamd Shah.
The decision would have come as a relief to double champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) who have nine national players on their payroll.
"The agreeement on who is responsible if national players get injured has also been made. And the conditions will be strictly followed, and if a player is injured and can't attend national training, he also can't play in the MHL the next weekend," stressed Tengku Abdullah.
Coach Tai Beng Hai wanted the MHL either to be postponed to next year after the Olympic Qualifier or to run withour national players.
His main fear was injuries to his charges, and fitness problems which arise when they break camp.
"And we planned the MHL in such a way that the coach will have six weeks to train his charges for the Champions Challenge I in South Africa," said Tengku Abdullah.
The national team's next assignment is the Inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos next month.
Malaysia will be up against Asian Games champions Pakistan, South Korea, Japan, China, India and Pakistan in the tournament.