“For us the key is to continue to improve and learn”: Malaysian Coach Stephen van Huizen 

The team’s coach emphasizes on consistency to advance in the prestigious event

10 October
Dhaka (Bangladesh), 28 September: The Malaysian Men’s Hockey Team have enjoyed some significant victories this year which included two strong wins against India in major international tournaments. The team first upset India at the 2017 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in May where they beat India 1-0 before ending the tournament at No.5 after beating Japan 3-1 in the 5th and 6th ranking matches. They followed this win with a 3-2 result against in the quarterfinal of the Hockey World League Semi Final in London, sending a strong signal that the feat at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup was not a one-off victory.

The Malaysian unit finished No.4 in the World League Semi Final to not only win a berth for the Odisha Men’s World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017 but also won a place for next year’s Odisha Men’s World Cup. Though the team is potentially a strong contender for the title at the Hero Asia Cup 2017, the team’s national coach does not want his team to get complacent ahead of the Hero Men’s Asia Cup 2017 to begin in Dhaka on October 11. “Our team is progressing in the performance area but the key is always continual improvement. A key objective for 2017 is qualification for the World Cup – that has been achieved, we understand of course that this is a new starting point,” expressed Men’s Chief Coach Stephen van Huizen.
The Malaysian outfit are grouped along with China, Oman and defending champions Korea who have won the title four times. Stephen points out that the first big hurdle for his team is to advance the group stage. “Our biggest challenge is progressing our group.  We have an opportunity to increase the depth of our squad and we will gauge our development accordingly. All our players have key strengths and our task is to maximize these within our group,” he added modestly.

On asked about carrying on the momentum of beating top ranked teams in recent times, Coach Stephen emphasized on consistency and progression. “We understand top ranked teams will more consistently have better results against us – but progression is the key. A special result on a given day is a bonus. The tournament process to gain entry to the Final requires consistency and quality against the best in the tournament. There is no option for choice,” he admits further adding that winning the Hero Asia Cup 2017 is important yet not critical for his team. He said, “Logic tells you the highest ranked teams will be best equipped. However, there is much to be gained by several teams should they win this tournament. We understand the importance of this tournament for each nation. For us the key is to continue to improve and learn. Winning the Asia Cup is important but not critical.”


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