NATIONAL chief coach K. Dharmaraj believes his men were not a total flop in the World Cup, and is ready to step down if the ongoing enquiries find them to be “a disaster”.
Malaysia finished at the bottom of the 12-team tournament without a win or a draw at the Hague, Netherlands.
“If the inquiry (headed by R. Yogeswaran) finds that Malaysia were a total disaster in the World Cup, they should also recommend to remove the chief coach, and I will gladly step down,” said Dharmaraj after naming a raw side for the Commonwealth Games.
Dharmaraj came about the conclusion because “we qualified after 12 years (Malaysia last played in 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup) and that itself was an achievement”.
And the players found it very tough, as after two matches they realised that the rest of the world has left them far behind.
“Yes we struggled, and did set a 10th place finish as target, but in reality, qualifying itself was a big milestone and now we should think about playing regularly in the World Cup, and move up the ranks slowly.
“Don’t demoralise the players further, as many of them are very young and after losing six matches (and letting in 26 goals) I am finding it very difficult to motivate them for the next two tournaments,” said Dharmaraj.
Sixteen players were named for the Commonwealth Games, with Baljit Singh and S. Selvaraju making a comeback. Baljit did not play in the Azlan Shah Cup, the Champions Challenge 1 and also the World Cup this year.
“I have left out regulars as they are tired (while skipper Azlan Misron has quit) after playing in the World Cup, and fielded many from the training pool for the Commonwealth Games to test them ahead of the Asian Games selection.
“Scotland does not offer any ranking points, but the Asian Games does and there is also the ticket to the Olympics if we win it.”
German-born Kevin Lim, who pulled a hamstring in a friendly match at the Hague before the World Cup, has not fully recovered but was also given the nod for the Commonwealth Games.
“We need to test him and see if he will be ready for the Asian Games,” said Dharmaraj.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation is still pondering over the selection of the assistant coach as well as manager.
At the Commonwealth Games, Malaysia will open their Group B campaign against Canada on July 26 followed by England (July 27), Trinidad and Tobago (July 29) and New Zealand (July 31).
Defending champions Australia, India, Wales, South Africa and Scotland are in Group A.
The women’s team, who became champions in the World League Round 1 in Singapore by fielding youths, have picked their best for the Commonwealth Games with an eye to prepare for the Asian Games.
MEN: Baljit Singh, Izwan Firdaus, Firhan Ashaari, Rashid Baharom, Razie Rahim, Ahmad Kazamirul, Faiz Helmi, Hafizuddin Othman (GK), Fitri Saari, Ramadhan Rosli, S. Selvaraju, Kevin Lim, Meor Azuan, Azri Hassan, Shazril Irwan Nazli, Shahril Saabah.
WOMEN: Nadia Abdul Rahman, Nuraini Rashid, Surizan Awang Noh, Norbaini Hashim, Fatin Shafika, Nurul Nabihah, Noor Hasliza Ali, Juliani Din, Robiatul Adawiyah, Raja Norsharina, Siti Noor Amarina, Siti Shahida, Norazlin Sumantri, Fazilla Sylvester Silin, Farah Ayuni, Siti Noor Hafiza.
By Jugjet Singh - NST