Thursday, August 2, 2018

World Cup might help Dharmaraj's girls

KUALA LUMPUR: National women's coach K. Dharmaraj feels there are positives and negatives which will effect his charges in the Jakarta Asian Games, from the ongoing World Cup in London.
  With the Games just 15 days away, Japan, China, India and South Korea played or are playing in the World Cup, and Dharmaraj said it might work against the teams mental and psychological preparations.
  In the Asian Games where the gold medallists qualifies for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Malaysia are in Group A with China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, while in Group B are South Korea, India, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.
  "Japan and China are in our group in Jakarta and even though they only played three games in the World Cup and did not qualify for the quarter-finals, both the teams will still feel the strain of playing at such a big stage and then travelling home and after a few days of rest and light training, they will be off to Indonesia.
  "This might work against their players who were put under so much of pressure to prepare for the World Cup, and then have to cope with the fact that they did not live up to their country's expectations.
  "It would be difficult for players in such a situation to try and peak again at the Asian Games," said Dharmaraj.
  Malaysia need to beat either Japan or China as Hong Kong and Taiwan are out of coach Dharmaraj's teams league.
  "Not taking any team lightly, I believe my players should collect full points against Hong Kong and Taiwan and so, if we can upset either one of the World Cup teams in our group -- we will qualify for the semi-finals," said Dharmaraj.
  The positive side for both the teams is that they prepared for the Asian Games by playing tough matches in London.
  In the World Cup Japan lost 3-2 to Australia, 6-3 to Belgium and beat New Zealand 2-1; while China 
  China lost 3-0 to Italy, 7-1 to Netherlands and drew 1-1 with South Korea.
  "The fact that they played against some of the best in women's hockey could be turned into a positive element by their coaches, with the right approach."
  And the positive for Dharmaraj's girls?
  "We have a compilation of their matches in London, and the coaching staff is studying them to come out with a plan for upset(s)," said Dharmaraj.
  South Korea also went home after the group stages, and only India made it to the quarter-finals -- making them the early favoutites in Asian Games.