Thursday, June 7, 2018

Champions Trophy: Good for Malaysia as well..

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will head for Perth to play in at least five friendlies against Australia in the run-up to the Jakarta Asian Games on Aug 19-Sept 1.
  The Games champion will receive direct entry into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and Malaysia have set their mind on grabbing that historic ticket.
  And while Malaysia will play with the Aussies at the end of the month (with the composition of the Australian team yet to be known) Asian Games challengers India and Pakistan will be competing in the last edition of the Champions Trophy in Netherlands, on June 23-July 1.
  The other Asian teams which Malaysia must beat for gold in Jakarta are South Korea, China and Japan (qualified for Olympics as hosts).
  And when Malaysian coach Stephen van Huizen was asked about India and Pakistan's preparation: "Both the teams will be getting maximum exposure at the Champions Trophy, and I expect them to gain important exposure playing against top teams in the world ahead of the Asian Games."
  The other teams in the Champions Trophy are Netherlands, Australia (2014 World Cup champions), Argentina (2016 Olympic champions) and Belgium (2016 Olympic silver medallists).
  But there is also a plus factor for Malaysia in the Champions Trophy, where India and Pakistan will play the first match.
  "We will be able to watch Pakistan and India play in a real competitive tournament atmosphere and it will reveal how much both the teams have progressed and will also give us some insight on what to expect from them in Jakarta," said van Huizen.
  Pakistan have improved much under new coach Roelant Oltmans from Netherlands, as they held Malaysia to a 1-1 darw in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games recently.
  "We drew with them 1-1 barely a week after Oltmans took over, so it would be interesting to see how much they have improved under the Dutch coach in the Champions Trophy. We can learn much about their form, from their matches in the Netherlands."
  The Champions Trophy was incepted in 1978 by Pakistan's Air Marshal Malik Nur Khan and the Pakistan Hockey Federation, and this will be the last tournament as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) will no longer host it anymore.
  Malaysia will be trying to break their jinx of winning the Asian Games Gold medal in Jakarta, as the highest was a silver medal in 2010 
Guangzhou, China, where Pakistan won 2-0 and qualified for the 2012 London Olympics.
  For the record, Malaysia last played at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.