Thursday, November 12, 2009


For Russel Garcia, the best moment of his hockey career was playing the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur where England won the bronze medal.

But that could well be replaced today as Garcia plots the downfall of the Malaysian team.

A win over the much fancied Malaysians will add a feather in Garcia’s cap as a coach for he only took over as coach of the team two months ago.

“Having seen Malaysia struggle against European opposition has given my team confidence that we can get a positive result from the match,” said Garcia.

“We will let Malaysia dictate play and opt to break them down with fast counter attacks as they have been vulnerable when these tactics are used.”

The assessment by Garcia was strengthened by New Zealand ace penalty corner marksman Hayden Shaw.

Shaw, who played 12 minutes in each half against Malaysia did enough when he was on the pitch as his penalty corner strike gave the Black sticks a 3-2 lead. They eventually won 4-2.

“Malaysia are really good when they play against teams that are stronger then them” contends Shaw.

“However when they play weaker teams, the players seem lost as to what to do, thus allowing the opponents to catch them off guard.

“This has to do with the fact that Malaysia often plays against top teams but tend to leave out weaker opponents in their preparations.”

Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod perhaps best summed up the erratic performances of the Malaysians.

“You have players that are technically sound but tactically weak. So until you address this issue, things are likely to remain the same,” said McLeod.