Asian hockey giants will not show true "fangs" at act in Chennai- Arulselvaraj

27 Jul 2023 03:57pm
A. Arulselvaraj- Photo by Bernama
A. Arulselvaraj- Photo by Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR - The continental giants who will be playing in the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) 2023 hockey tournament in Chennai, India from Aug 3-12, are not expected to exhibit their true 'fangs'.

National team head coach A. Arulselvaraj said it is because all the teams will keep their real strength for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China from Sept 23 to Oct 8 which offers an early slot to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games for the gold medal winners.

He said only China, Pakistan and hosts India, are likely to show their best, while the other teams in the six-cornered tournament will face it as their final preparation for the Asian Games.

"China and Pakistan got nothing to lose, while India might feel they’re Australia (superhouse) of Asia, so they will go all out. So, I am sure South Korea, Japan and us (Malaysia) will be trying to use that as final preparations,” he told apress conference here today.

Arulselvaraj said the 'Speedy Tigers' squad will try to get good results in every match, although no targets have been set as it will boost the confidence of the players.

At the same time, he wants to be careful not to show all the team's tactics and secrets such as attack style and penalty corner strategy to avoid being "sniffed" by the opposing teams.

"The main focus is the Asian Games to get a ticket to Paris 2024... we should be on a tour in Europe as a final preparation but following the tournament that was just scheduled a few months ago, we want to make it a preparation for Hangzhou.

"We want to have good matches, good tournament and return without injuries. Off course we will analyse our team, correcting a bit here and there, tuning up and sharpening our tools,” he said.

Based on the announcement of the list of players by National Team Management Committee chairman Datuk Najmi Razak, prolific striker Mohd Fitri Saari and midifield pillar Abdul Khaliq Hamirin have returned to don the national jersey.

The 'Speedy Tigers' squad, ranked 10th in the world, will begin their campaign against Pakistan (ranked 16th) on Augt 3, followed by China (25th) on Aug 4, India (4th) on Aug 6, Japan (19th ) on Aug 7 and defending champions South Korea (9) on Aug 9.

The four best teams after the round robin league will advance to the semi-finals in the tournament involving six of Asia's best teams held since 2011.

Malaysia finished third in six of the seven editions until 2018, but did not participate in the 2021 edition in Dhaka, Bangladesh following one of the players testing positive for COVID-19 before leaving, seeing the entire team undergo quarantine.

Team list:

No Name Position

1 Muhammad Hafizuddin Othman Goalkeeper

2 Mohd Zaimi Mat Deris Goalkeeper

3 Muhammad Razie Abd Rahim Defender

4 Muhammad Marhan Mohd Jalil Defender

5 Muhammad Najmi Farizal Jazlan Defender

6 Muhammad Aminuddin Mohd Zain Defender

7 Muhammad Syafiq Hassan Defender

8 Muhajir Abdu Rauf Defender

9 Muhammad Najib Abu Hassan Defender

10 Muhammad Amirul Hamizan Azahar Defender

11 Faiz Helmi Jali Midfielder

12 Meor Muhammad Azuan Hassan Midfielder

13 Shello Silverius Midfielder

14 Muhammad Azrai Aizad Abu Kamal Midfielder

15 Abdul Khaliq Hamirin Midfielder

16 Muhammad Firhan Ashaari Striker

17 Faizal Saari Striker

18 Mohamad Ashran Hamsani Striker

19 Muhamad Ramadan Rosli Striker

20 Mohd Fitri Saari Striker