Well on track for gold
THE national field hockey team crushed Western Australia 4-0 in a two quarters friendly to signal their intention of settling for nothing less than a gold medal in the Sea Games.
As the highest ranked team at 12th in the world, Malaysia have no rivals among Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia.
“It was a good tune-up playing two quarters (30 minutes) against a visiting Western Australia team.
“They are also involved in sparring with the Malaysian indoor hockey team and that’s why we played only one two quarters match against them,” said Malaysia coach Stephen van Huizen.
Razie Rahim, Ramadan Rosli and Faizal Shaari (two goals) scored for Malaysia.
The Malaysian women’s field hockey team also impressed when they beat Western Australia 5-2 and will also be up against the same four nations in their gold hunt.
The women got their goals off Norbaini Hashim, Siti Noor Amarina, Nor Azlin Sumantri, Hanis Nadiah Onn and Fatin Shafika Shukri.
“Even though we are the favourites, we are not taking it easy and will have more friendlies against the Sultan of Johor Cup (Malaysian) team next week to get a better feel of the field,” said van Huizen.
The National Hockey Stadium has been re-turfed for the Sea Games, and the more van Huizen’s men play there, the more comfortable they will become with the new surface.
“We did have plans to play a friendly against Myanmar who are our final opponents in the pool matches but they have yet to get back to us.”
The Malaysian men’s team have won gold 15 times and silver once since 1971 in the Sea Games.
They were upstaged once, when hosts Singapore beat them to the gold in 1973. Jugjet Singh
Stephen van Huizen