Sunday, June 4, 2017

Jang the THT bogeyman...

JANG.. after beating Malaysian No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar in the Malaysia Hockey League.

NATIONAL chief coach Stephen van Huizen is in the dark about the South Korean team which will compete in the World League Semifinals in London on June 15-25.
  All he knows is that they have recalled their former penalty corner maestro Jang Jong Hyun, 33, to help them win a a spot in next years's World Cup in India.
  And this is bad news for Malaysia, as Jang has been the best performer in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) for the past two seasons representing Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) .
  South Korea are in Group A with Malaysia, China, Argentina and England while in Group B are Netherlands, India, Pakistan, Scotland and Canada.
  Jang, who has 249 caps and has played in three Olympics (2004, 2008 and 2012) while South Korea did not qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
  "The last time we played Korea was in the Asian Champions Trophy (in Kuantan) where we held them 1-1 and then won on penalty strokes. After that they disappeared from radar, and all we know is that they have recalled Jang for London," said van Huizen.
  Jang was the top scorer for THT in 2016 with 16 goals, while this season he scored 28 goals for coach Sarjit Singh's team to lift the Alagendra Cup as well as TNB Cup titles.
  "There can only be two reasons to recall Jang, as either Korea are desperate or Jang is back in top form," said van Huizen.
  The Korean, even though he was named as the best player in the Malaysia Hockey League this season, was a little overweight when he turned up for THT.
  THT coach Sarjit, a former national skipper as well as national coach, was delighted that his club's player is back with the national team, but was also a little worried for the country.
  "When we first signed Jang, he 'refused' to flick low during penalty corners as in his mind, a high drag to the top of the net was a much more glamorous goal than hitting the board or shooting at armpit level.
  "I had a tough time coaching him to drag lower, and finally, I placed two chairs to the left and right of the goalmouth and asked him to aim at them consistently.
  "And after he finally broke both the chairs, his goal scoring abilities improved," said Sarjit who had told the Korean that he can play for THT in the MHL as long as his body permits it.
  And he went on to score 22 penalty corners and six penalty stroke goals this season to help THT win two titles.
  "The worrying part is that Korea has recalled him for the World League as Jang not only knows every Malaysian national player by their nick names, he also knows their strengths and weaknesses.
  "He also knows our penalty corner-run outs and this could spell trouble.
  "On the other hand, Malaysia has many recordings on how he executes penalty corners (in the MHL) and this should held prepare our runners and goalkeeper to stop him," said Sarjit.
  Van Huizen's plan is simple -- beat China and South Korea and try to upset world No 1 Argentina and hosts England to qualify for the quarter-finals in London.
  But the inclusion of Jang has thrown a spanner in van Huizen's Plan A.