Van Huizen in no hurry

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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

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