Sunday, June 18, 2017

Still with a chance

After 2 big defeats, the national Hockey team has its backs against the wall.

There is still an opportunity to make the World Cup despite the two defeats but the situation becomes a bit more complex.

Still the fate of the team lies in their own hands and only they can determine their destiny.

At present Malaysia have a -7 goal difference with Korea at -4, both teams with no points on the board.

The two play each other on Monday, a win for either will put them in the Drivers seat while a draw could spell disaster for Malaysia.

In the final matches, Korea will play England while China take on Malaysia.

So if Malaysia wins their last two matches, they sail into the last eight and into the World Cup.

A Korean win means we need to beat China, and goal difference might come into play.

However England might not field their best against Korea if they know by tonight their fate after the match against Argentina in order to preserve for their lady eight matches.

Bottom line is this - all is not lost, well not yet and even if we do not defeat a Korea, there is still an outside chance.

And then again even if we do not make it through to the World Cup, there is always the Asia Cup in Dhaka this October to make the cut.

So now back to the team, what has gone wrong so far?

Firstly we should drop this mentality of 50 yard Defence as its counter productive.

We have players with skill and superior fitness to match the best as evident in the two 30 minute performances against Argentina and England.

We have scored four goals ( whether direct or as a result) of penalty corners, totalling 10 in the two matches.

It's conceding penalty corners that we need to work on as we concede goals far too easily .

Our midfield is virtually non existent in the two matches and players in this department need to increase their work rate.

Loose marking has always been an issue and it no different this time around, just too many players switching off at crucial moments.

China went in a 45 day playing tour of Europe to prepare for this tournament but we were happy to train at home and play only three warm up matches prior to the tournament.

So missing out on playing top class opponents over the past two years, minus the two Azlan Shah Cup matches has somewhat affected the sharpness and precision of the team against higher ranked teams.

Rankings in reality mean nothing as we are good enough to be amongst the top 10 in the world , but for some bad luck in crucial matches.

Let's leave the bad luck behind, give it one final push and regain Malaysian Hockey glory.

It's now or never, sorry there is still Dhaka.