Malaysian men’s hockey team have got themselves a packed schedule starting next month.
Aside from the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games next month, the men’s hockey team will be training hard for three upcoming tournaments — the Asia Cup in October, the 2018 World Cup, and the Commonwealth Games next year.
Head coach Stephen Van Huizen promises that the hockey squad won’t go easy at the Asia Cup tournament, even though they have already qualified for the 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup set to take place in Bhubaneswar, India next year.
Malaysia qualified for the 2018 World Cup after outclassing India in a 3-2 win in the quarter-final match at the Hockey World League Semifinal Round in June.
According to men’s hockey national coach Stephen Van Huizen, the hockey squad will still go all out in the Asia Cup bout in Dhaka, since it will help to boost their rankings.
“We take every tournament seriously. The Asia Cup is just as important as any other tournament, because it gives us the chance to earn points to boost our world ranking.” the coach explained to HMetro.
“The only difference is that there will be lesser pressure on us, since we have already qualified for the crucial tournament, which is the 2018 World Cup in India.” he added.
Aside from Malaysia, other countries that will be competing in the Asia Cup are hosts Bangladesh, India, Japan, South Korea, Oman, and China.
“However, I will be rotating the players for the Asia Cup. I might bring with me a different set of players because it’s not compulsory for us to win to advance into the world cup.”
According to the head coach, the squad’s main priority at the moment is to win gold at the SEA Games, which is happening in less than 30 days.