Monday, November 14, 2016

MHL shadow creeps into World League Round Two...

Pic: T&T's historic silver medallists at the 1967 Pan American Games held in Winnipeg.

Note: For the record, Trinidad and Tobago beat Malaysia 4-2 in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. BBC reported that it was T & Ts first ever win in the Commonwealth Games.

THE Malaysian men will play in the Melbourne Four-Nation on Nov 23-27 in their final showdown for the year.
  After a dismal third at the Kuantan Asian Champions Trophy (ACT), Malaysia will play ACT champions India (world No 6), Australia (No 1) and New Zealand (No 8) in the Four-Nation.
  "We will not be able to field a full squad as the two Police trainees (Nabil Fiqri and Razie Rahim) are back in training while two players have studies to catch up with.
  "Fitri (Shaari) and Faiz (Helmi Jali) are in the midst of asking for study leave but I'm not sure they will get it and be able to play in Melbourne.
  "However, this will give is a chance to field other players like Baljit Singh (who has recovered from injury) as well as juniors who played in the Sultan of Johor Cup as replacement," said Malaysian coach Stephen van Huizen.
  Australia will be the team to beat, while Malaysia must show that they are capable of holding their head high against Olympic sides India and New Zealand.
  "This is part of our preparations for the World League Round Two (In Trinidad and Tobago on March 25-April 2) where we must finish among the top-two to play in the World League Semi-finals."
  However, after the Four-Nation, Van Huizen might see his charges only weeks before the World League as they will break camp for the Malaysia Hockey League.
  "The players will represent their clubs in the MHL, but I can't say much about that because I have yet to see the full fixtures. I hope the MHL ends a few weeks before the World League so that I can get the players back together for training."
  Van Huizen is looking at training national players mid-week during the MHL, which is normally played over the weekend, but then there is the Alagendra Cup to play for mid-week.
  "The MHC Competitions Committee is still planning for a viable solution to the packed schedule, and maybe they can host the Alagendra Cup before the MHL?"
  Packed schedule or not, Malaysia must beat Trinidad and Tobago,  Japan, Russia, United States, Barbados, Chile and Switzerland to qualify for the next round.
  For the record, Malaysia were champions in the Singapore World League Round Two, but finished sixth in the Belgium World League Semi-finals and failed to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
  This World League is a qualifier for the 2018 World Cup in India.
  FIXTURES: Nov 23: Malaysia v New Zealand, India v Australia; Nov 24: Malaysia v India, New Zealand v Australia; Nov 26: Malaysia v Australia, India v New Zealand; Nov 27: Final and Third-Fourth.