Friday, July 28, 2017

Soon ready for challenge...

NEWLY appointed Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) coaching committee chairman Soon Mustafa is game to take on the challenge of charting the sport's future.
  The two-time Olympian, 1984 Los Angeles and 1992 Barcelona, said that even though he has limited coaching experience, he has many ideas on how to improve the sport.
  "I will meet Terry Walsh (MHC Technical Director) soon to discuss some matters and get down to work after that. I have experience playing at the highest level and know what it takes to reach there.
  "So, even though I have limited coaching experience, I can contribute fresh ideas with the help of my committee members," said Soon, 54.
  Welsh is also on his committee.
  Soon said that previous chairman Datuk Ow Soon Kooi also did not have a coaching background, but ran the committee very well.
  "Ow is the same as me, both of us have limited coaching experience but Ow proved himself when the men's women's teams improved tremendously in a short span.
  "I have a strong committee from various background and we will work together to first impress at the Asia Cup and then the Commonwealth Games in preparation for the all-important Asian Games," said Soon.
  The Asia Cup will be held in Dhaka in October where ranking points will be on offer. India are the only team higher ranked than Malaysia, while South Korea, Pakistan, China and Japan have slipped below in the latest International Hockey Federation rankings.
  "We have to strengthen the ranking (at 12th presently) at the Asia Cup, as it would be valuable in the World League qualifier for the Olympics.
  "There is much more to be done, but I'm up to the challenge and will use the experience I gained playing for the country to help further improve the men's and women's teams," said Soon.
  Soon, who retired with 185 caps also played in two Asian Games and one Champions Trophy.
  Two women were included in the coaching committee to strenghten the women's team and they are Nuriza Sulaiman and former national skipper Nadia Abdul Rahman.
  COACHING COMMITTEE -- Chairman: Soon Mustafa; Deputy Chairman: Datuk Najmi Razak (MHC Independent Member).
  Members: Terry Walsh (MHC Technical Director), Alan Black (Coaching director, National Sports Institute), Tai Beng Hai (Development director), Yahya Atan (1Mas women head coach), V. Muralee Vasuthevan (Ministry of Education), Nuriza Sulaiman (Development coach, Pahang), 
Nadia Abdul Rahman (Ex-national captain).

MHC set two more targets...

MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal has set two more targets for the men's team, who moved up from 14th to 12th in the World.
  Now, Subahan wants the team to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics two years ahead by winning the Asian Games gold, and then break into the top-10 hockey nation in the world.
  In the latest International Hockey Federation (FIH) rankings released after the men's and women's World League Semifinals in London, Brussels and Johannesburg -- the Malaysian men were the biggest movers.
  However, the women still remain at 22 after finishing last among 10 teams in Brussels.
  "When I took over MHC after a 'good friend' asked me to do so, I had said that I will work towards taking the team into the top-10 in the world and now we are just two steps away.
  "The next target is to play in the final of the Asian Games, or better still win gold and qualify for the Olympics two years ahead," said Subahan.
  Malaysia last played in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and if they qualify for Tokyo, it would be a good 20 years hiatus.
  While Malaysia finished fourth in London and qualified for the 2018 World Cup in India, other Asian teams did not fare well.
  Four other Asian teams competed in London, but fared poorly as India finished 6th, Pakistan 7th, China 8th and South Korea 9th.
  "If we maintain this grip over the other Asian teams, I don't see any reason why we cant play in the final of the Asian Games," reasoned Subahan.
  Malaysia were the biggest winners in the latest FIH rankings as they leapfrogged two of its continental rivals, Pakistan and Korea, to move into 12th place.
 Korea dropped from 12th to 13th, while Pakistan are now 14th, Japan 17th and China 18th
  India are the higest ranked Asian team at No 6.