Sunday, October 10, 2010


The 28 days in between the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games will be used by the national team to fine tune set pieces as well as recover from the strain of playing in New Delhi.

With Faisal Saari suspended, there was tremendous physical pressure on the team as they only had 13 players available as golkeeper S. Kumar returned to Malaysia to attend his father's funeral.

The 7-0 defeat at the hands of Australia today was demoralising but Stephen van Huizen was unperturbed with the result as well as what critics might say.

"We have to accept the fact that Australia are the world champs and there is bound to be a gap between the two teams," conceded Stephen.

"So instead of pointing fingers, we will take stock of the defeat and improve on the weak areas for the Asian Games.

"Australia hit us with early goals and we never recovered from that. But it showed us what is needed to get Malaysian hockey back on track."

Deprived of quality matches intheir build up to the Commonwealth Games, Stephen said that they had no intention of playing any matches prior to the Asiad.

"We need to work on the mental strength and the conditioning of the team. The players have to start believing in their ability," said Stephen.

On the point that Malaysia were not utilising their penalty corners well, Stephen said that they used only direct attempts as their Asian Games opponents were collcting information on their opponents.

"I have always said that I was using the Commonwealth to gauge our players and try our certain things. Judge us not by these results as its the Asian Games that matter."