Sunday, July 13, 2014

Making up the numbers...

HOCKEY: 23 July- 3 August
VENUE:  Glasgow National Hockey Centre

MEN -- 2010 HAUL: Eighth
2014 TARGET: No Target
SQUAD: Baljit Singh, Izwan Firdaus, Firhan Ashaari,  Rashid Baharom, Razie Rahim, Ahmad Kazamirul, Faiz  Helmi, Hafizuddin Othman (GK), Fitri Saari, Ramadhan  Rosli, S. Selvaraju, Kevin Lim, Meor Azuan, Azri Hassan,  Shazril Irwan Nazli, Shahril Saabah.

WOMEN -- 2010 HAUL: 10th
2014 TARGET: No Target
SQUAD:  Nadia Abdul Rahman, Nuraini Rashid, Surizan  Awang Noh, Norbaini Hashim, Fatin Shafika, Nurul Nabihah,  Noor Hasliza Ali, Juliani Din, Robiatul Adawiyah, Raja  Norsharina, Siti Noor Amarina, Siti Shahida, Norazlin  Sumantri, Fazilla Sylvester Silin, Farah Ayuni, Siti Noor  Hafiza.

AUSTRALIA have a perfect record, winning the men’s hockey gold since the sport was introduced in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games, and the Glasgow title is also theirs for the taking.
    Malaysia, who finished 12th in the recent World Cup, will be  represented by a motley crew of juniors and a handful of seniors who will be out to re-claim their spot in the Asian Games squad.
   Players like Baljit Singh and S. Selvaraju will have to give their best if they want to impress coach K. Dharmaraj in his Asian Games selection.
   Dharmaraj will be resting No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar and only fielding one goalkeeper in Junior World Cup player Hafizuddin Othman.
  The Games only allow 16 players to be registered, so the choices were limited: “We have selected a big number from the training pool to give them a chance t o show that they are capable of playing in the Asian Games.
   “The Commonwealth Games does not offer ranking points, and all the other teams will also be fielding youth for the future,” said Dharmaraj.
   The men will open their Group B campaign against Canada on July 26 followed by England (July 27), Trinidad and Tobago (July 29) and New Zealand (July 31).
    Defending champions Australia, India, Wales, South Africa and Scotland are in Group A.
   At best, the men will advance to the semi-finals but a medal is out of their reach.
    As for the women, they are more confident after winning the gold medal at the Hockey World League Round One after beating Kazakhstan 5-0.
    Two goals from Hasliza Ali Noor and a goal apiece by Nuraini Rashid, Nadia Rahman and Adawiyah Mohamed saw the Malaysians emerge as unbeaten champions — but the other teams who will be in Scotland are way above coach Nasihin Nubli’s players.
    “We have selected experienced players for the Games, and hope to use it as a platform to improve our status in the Asian Games,” said Nasihin.
    A total of 10 women’s teams are confirmed, and Malaysia will open their Group A campaign against defending champions Australia on July 24.
    Their other matches are against Scotland (July 25), England (July 27) and Wales (July 30).
   In Group B are Canada, India, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, and South Africa.
   The women’s best outing was sixth at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur and 2006 Melbourne Games, while in New Delhi four years ago, they finished last in the 10-team competition.