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Tough Mission Await National Women’s Hockey Team

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KUALA LUMPUR – The national women’s hockey team would face a tough mission in their bid to earn a slot for the World Cup at the Women’s Hockey World League (WHWL) semifinals that starts in Brussel, Belgium, tomorrow.

Prior to the WHML, the squad had their final friendly match with Belgium Development Team on Monday and they won the match 4-1.

“I have been with this team for 18 months, this team is improving everyday. I like the way the team is shaping up. I like the discipline of the team. They are a hardworking group, very focused and hungry for success.

“Any coach would love to coach such a team,” said head coach Muhammad Dharmaraj Abdullah through a whatsapp message to Bernama.

The national women’s squad left for Amsterdam on June 12, ahead of the WHML to play a series of three friendly matches from June 13-15 before leaving to Brussels on June 17 for another friendly match.

Despite arriving early in Brussels, Muhammad Dharmaraj was a little disappointed when his team could not have a friendly match with the national team of the host country.

Instead, they were given an opportunity to play against the Belgium U-21 team.

“Arriving here since day one, noticing there is so many friendly matches going on among the other teams here but nobody wants to play us and we are given only to play Belgium U-21,” he said.

The coach however, remains optimistic despite facing a tough draw in the WHML.

“I have decided this morning, after watching our men (national men’s team) beat South Korea (in London) yesterday, that we are not going to play defensively because they are all high ranked teams.

Malaysia will start the 2017 World Hockey League Semifinal campaign against Australia tomorrow at 4pm local time (10pm Malaysian time) and face Spain on June 22, Belgium (June 24) and New Zealand (June 27).

Only the top four teams will advance to the quarter-final stage that also offers tickets to the 2018 World Cup. – BERNAMA


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