UP AGAINST THEM­SELVES

Malaysia must be­lieve to seal World League Semi-fi­nals berth

New Straits Times - - Sport - JUGJET SINGH DHAKA jug jet@nst.com.my

NO team can beat Malaysia in Dhaka, other than them­selves.

This was what Malaysian Hockey Con­fed­er­a­tion (MHC) tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Terry Walsh said while watch­ing Bangladesh play Egypt in the World League Round Two quar­ter-fi­nals on Thurs­day.

Malaysia, 13th in the world, will play No 20 Egypt in the semi­fi­nals to­day, and at stake is a ticket to the World League Semi-fi­nals — either in Lon­don or South Africa.

The sec­ond stage of­fers tick­ets to the 2018 World Cup in In­dia.

With the stakes so high, Egypt have also set their sights on beat­ing Malaysia to claim one slot, as only the fi­nal­ists in Dhaka move into the World League Semi-fi­nals.

“There is no team in Dhaka that can beat Malaysia but them­selves. By say­ing this, I mean Malaysia must play much bet­ter than what they have been play­ing in the last four matches,” said Walsh.

He was busy look­ing for Egypt’s faults, and found plenty in both the goal­keep­ers.

“Their No 1 goal­keeper (Wael Noureldin) is weak on his left foot, and that’s where the penalty cor­ners should head. Low, and left. And as for their sec­ond goal­keeper (Ahmed Adel), if they field him against Malaysia, he is slow to move to the sides on both legs.

“We have not been scor­ing off high penalty cor­ners so far, while the low ones have worked. This should be our weapon to win com­fort­ably,” said Walsh.

Malaysian coach Stephen van Huizen said: “We are going to throw ev­ery­thing we have to­wards Egypt and treat this as the fi­nal itself. No use in hold­ing back, as we came here to qual­ify for the World League Semi-fi­nals and are just a step away,” said van Huizen.

Nabil Fiqri, who has been in ster­ling form, be­lieves Malaysia will beat Egypt.

“No doubts in my mind, we will beat Egypt and move into the fi­nal. I will give my best, and push the rest as well,” said the re­cently grad­u­ated trainee In­spec­tor who is now at­tached to Bukit Aman.

How­ever, Egypt have their own dream.

“We could not ar­range for train­ing matches be­fore com­ing here, but trained hard three times a day for three months. We were un­lucky not to have topped the group (Group B) and avoid Malaysia in the semi-fi­nals, but now that we are paired with them, we aim to beat them,” said Egypt skip­per Amr El­hady.

Hope­fully, Malaysia don’t be­come their own en­emy to­day.

TO­DAY — S-fi­nals: Malaysia v Egypt (3.45pm), China v Oman (6pm) — Malaysian time.

Malaysia will have to give their all against Egypt to­day to grab a slot to the World League Semi-fi­nals.

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