Monday, October 8, 2012

Revington picks his men for Combat! remake...


By Jugjet Singh

THE saying “coach knows best” will be put to a severe test by South African Paul Revington after he performed CPR on six former internationals and drafted them into his training squad.
    When he announced their names at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday, it was like watching a re-run of the television series ‘Combat!’
   (Flashback: The show covered the grim lives of a squad of American soldiers fighting the Germans in France during World War II, and starred Rick Jason as platoon leader Second Lieutenant Gil Hanley and Vic Morrow as Sergeant ‘Chip’ Saunders).
    In the series, Morrow would take seven to ten soldiers and go into battle against, sometimes, with a battalion of Germans and only lose one or two rookies and return victorious with his veterans for another assignment.
   Revington has selected his 30-man squad for training, but he must choose wisely for the Champions Challenge I in Argentina on Nov 24-Dec 2.
   Chua Boon Huat, Jiwa Mohan, Jivan Mohan, Sallehin Ghani, Ismail Abu and Amin Rahim are all veterans of more than 100 caps and have seen action at very high level in the past.
   But they were not selected or opted out of national duty for a motley of reasons by previous coaches, only to find themselves back on active duty under ‘Sergeant’ Revington.
   The South African has very little time to turn the clock on some of the veterans and make them into hardened soldiers again, and head for Argentina for the first Challenge of his career as Malaysia’s coach.
   But the coach did indicate that he was not willing to be taken for a ride by giving his soldiers six months to train and play before evaluating their performance again, unlike the previous regime which gave aging stars unlimited time to embarrass themselves before limping out overweight and injured, on their own accord.
   Revington also showed he is serious about his Argentina mission and will send goalkeepers S. Kumar and Roslan Jamaluddin, and a yet to be named junior goalkeeper, to the Netherlands on Nov 9 for a 10-day training stint with a recognised coach to fine-tune their game before the duo head for Argentina.
   The rest of the team will train full-time under him after the Razak Cup, and 18 (including two goalkeepers) would be finalised for the Argentina onslaught which not only offers ranking points but also a chance to move into the Champion Trophy bracket if they win gold.
   And it was evident the coach was already in combat mood, and has put on his full assault gear right after naming his trainees yesterday but he would need more than a ‘gung ho’ attitude from his charges to make a worldwide impression in the Champions Challenge I.
   The countdown started yesterday for Revington, and before he knows it, it will be time for the Asia Cup and the World Series next year where much sought-after tickets to the World Cup would be on offer for his mixed army.
   A bungle in Argentina would not cause a ripple but there is no room for his mixture of youth and veteran army to yet again fail to advance to the World Cup stage.
   Note: All eight teams in the Champions Challenge I advance to the quarter-finals so Malaysia need to win only one match to be in the top-four bracket.

Revington re-calls six former players...

Pic: Chua Boon Huat ventured into business, but is back after impressing Revington in the Malaysia Hockey League.

NATIONAL coach Paul Revington placed his neck on the  chopping board with a smile when he named six retired  internationals into the training squad for the Champions  Challenge I in Argentina.
   Some of the six have been out of action from international  duty for more than three years, while the others were  dropped by coach Tai Beng Hai after the Dublin Olympic  Qualifier failure.
   In again are Amin Rahim, Chua Boon Huat, Sallehin Ghani,  brothers Jivan and Jiwa Mohan and Ismail Abu.
   “I watched the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) matches  without prejudice and selected the best 30 and also eight  attachment players for national training.
   “I believe in giving everybody the benefit of doubt if they  are willing to prove themselves, which means players who  were dropped for indiscipline or any other reason do not  matter to me as long as they fit in my plan,” said Reving ton.
   The players will undergo a two-day getting-to-know ses sion with the South African on Oct 12-13 in Kuantan before  being released for the Razak Cup the next day.
    “At the session, I will let the players know the rules and  regulations of training under me and also my expectations. It  would more of getting to know my players than a training  session.”
    The eight attachment players, which includes Kelvinder  Singh, will have their own programme, to help them recover  from injuries as well as improve their physical state.
   The coach has set his training programme from Oct to April  2013, and players who do not show progress are in danger of  being booted out of the next camp.
    NATIONAL TRAINING SQUAD: From KL Hockey Club --  Azlan Misron, Chua Boon Huat, Ismail Abu, Shukri Mutalib,  Fitri Saari, Shahrun Nabil, Syamim Yusof, Amerullah Aziz,  Razie Rahim, Nabil Fiqri, Roslan Jamaluddin, Tengku Ahmad  Tajuddin.
   Tenaga Nasional: Amir Farid, Faiz Helmi, Faizal Saari, S.  Kumar, Izad Hakimi , Sallehin Ghani, Amin Rahim, Azammi  Adabi, Norhizzat Sumantri.
   Sapura: Izwan Firdaus, Jivan Mohan, Jiwa Mohan,  Marhan Jalil
   Maybank: Hafifi Hafiz, Shahrin Mohammad.
  UniKL: Baljit Singh, Ramadhan Rosli, Noor Faeez  Ibrahim.
   ATTACHMENT SQUAD: Azreen Rizal Nasir (Sapura),  Khairulnizam Ibrahim (Sapura), Kelvinder Singh (KLHC)  Azri Hassan (UniKL), Firhan Ashaari (TNB), Izzat Rahim  (Sapura), B. Namasivayam (Maybank), Shazril Irwan  (TNB).