Well on track for gold

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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

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