Sunday, June 27, 2010

Perfect balance in the wings

Players of 
joint champions India and South Korea celebrate  with officials. 
— Picture by  Ikhwan Munir
Players of joint champions India and South Korea celebrate with officials. — Picture by Ikhwan Munir
MALAYSIAN players set a new benchmark in the just-concluded Azlan Shah Cup, and with re-inforcement from the injury list and those playing abroad, a well-balanced side is expected to play in the Commonwealth and Asian Games. Three young players who were given the chance by coaches Stephen van Huizen and Tai Beng Hai also rose to the occasion, and should make it more difficult for other aspirants to join the national side.

Marhan Jalil, 20, Izwan Firdaus, 21, and Azreen Rizal, 21, were given ample time in the seven matches, and they were a joy to watch.

"I believe new standards were set by the young players and now, those who are recovering from injuries and playing abroad would have to fight for their spots in the national team," said chief coach Van Huizen.
Among those on the injury list are brothers Kelvinder Singh and Harwinder Singh, while Jiwa Mohan is playing in Australia and S. Selvaraju in France.

"It was a fruitful tournament, and we missed the distinction of being named as joint-champions just on goals scored. Now, the focus will be on playing international friendlies, and then the Commonwealth Games before the all-important Asian Games," said Van Huizen.

The Asian Games will offer one ticket to the 2012 London Olympics, and South Korea, India and Pakistan would be the main hurdles.

Malaysia held South Korea to a 1-1 draw, Pakistan to 3-3, beat India 5-2 and China 2-1.

"However, the results will have no bearing when we play in the Asian Games as all three Asian stalwarts fielded experimental and young sides.

"A better picture will emerge when we play against Pakistan and India in the Commonwealth Games. Malaysia should also have the best available then, and after that I would be able to plan for the Asian Games," said Van Huizen.

The oldest Malaysian player was S. Kumar, but the 31-year-old showed great agility and was named as Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

"Kumar is among the best in the world, but we do not have a pool of back-ups who can take his spot in the future.

"Also, I do not have depth on the bench to rest my four defenders during matches, and they had to play for 70 minutes in most matches and that's when the mistakes crept in."

Defenders C. Baljit Singh, Madzli Ikmar, Amin Rahim and Razie Rahim were in super form, but made many mistakes in the closing minutes of matches as they had to play for 70 minutes without rest in most matches.

And among the strikers, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, 24, finally found his touch while 19-year-old Faizal Saari indicated that he has the potential to become the deadliest striker for Malaysia, in a few years' time.

Digg Google Bookmarks reddit Mixx StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Buzz DesignFloat Delicious BlinkList Furl

0 comments: on "Perfect balance in the wings"

Post a Comment