Van Huizen in no hurry
WHILE India and Canada have named their 18-player squad for the World League Semifinals in London on June 15-25, Malaysia coach Stephen van Huizen is keeping his list close to his chest.
There is no hurry, as he has 23 players in training now, having recalled Baljit Singh as well as Joel van Huizen.
“I will name the final 18 maybe a week from tournament date because there is no hurry, and I want all the 23 to push themselves and fight for their spots until the very end,” said van Huizen on the sidelines while training his charges at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
Morning and evening sessions are a daily affair, with penalty corners and fitness the priority.
The World League Semifinals is a qualifier for the 2018 World Cup and as hosts, India are automatic qualifiers.
India are in Group B with the Netherlands, Pakistan, Scotland and Canada.
In Group A are Malaysia, World No 1 Argentina, South Korea, England and China.
Van Huizen’s men open accounts against Argentina, followed by England, South Korea and China.
“Two tough opening matches followd by Asian teams which we regularly play is not going to be easy, but my players are gearing up for the challenge nicely.”
The last time Argentina played in London was 2012, where they finished 10th in the Olympics.
However, coach Carlos Retegui and his players are the team to watch in June, as in five years they became bronze medallists at the 2014 World Cup, 2016 Olympic champions and also knocked Australia from the number one spot after three years of Kookaburra dominance.
As for India, midfielder Manpreet Singh will skipper them in a three-nation starting June 1 at Dusseldorf, Germany – before they head for London.
In the absence of their No 1 goalkeeper P.R, Sreejesh due to a knee injury, Hockey India have selected Akash Chikte and Vikas Dahiya as goalkeepers. The team are training at Bengaluru and will leave for Europe on May 29.
For the record, Malaysia beat India 1-0 to deny them a spot in the recent Azlan Shah Cup final. Jugjet Singh