KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — The national men’s hockey squad will be tested by the world number two team, Argentina in two test matches before taking part in the 2018 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (SASC) hockey competition in Ipoh, Perak, early next month.
National squad head coach, Stephen Van Huizen said the matches to be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Feb 27 and 28 were part of his plan to gauge the preparation of his charges ahead of the annual hockey tournament.
The 27th edition of the tournament scheduled to take place at the Azlan Shah Hockey Stadium from March 3-10 would feature six teams namely defending champions Great Britain, nine-time winners Australia, Asia champions India, Argentina, Ireland and also Malaysia as hosts.
“This tournament is a good test for our team because all five teams who are ranked higher than us will be coming to compete.
“The test match against Argentina is important for me to know how far the players are ready to play against top ranked teams in the world in Ipoh, next month,” he told reporters here, today.
Meanwhile, Van Huizen revealed that the national squad would be flying to Gold Coast, Australia on March 26 where they would play to test matches against a New South Wales hockey team and the Australia national team before competing in the 2018 Commonwealth Games to be held in the country.
In this regard, national squad captain, Mohamad Sukri Abdul Mutalib will not take lightly the challenges at Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament as well as the Commonwealth Games.
“When we go to any competitions, we have to maintain consistency as it is important to help our team achieve better performance.
“We will try to meet our targets at both championships and all teams can expect us to give our best fight,” he said.
Earlier, Van Huizen and Mohamad Sukri were met by reporters after receiving a visit from the 2018 Commonwealth Games chef de mission, Huang Ying How and also the National Sports Institute chairman, Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, today. — Bernama