All is not lost for the Young Tigers despite going down in two matches as coach Amin Rahim prepares his side for the crucial Group B clash against Pakistan in the 11th Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.
The Malaysians are locked at the base of the pool standings with no points to show but that is not Amin’s concern. He wants his players to put both defeats behind and get out of the blocks early against Pakistan.
That means ruffling the Pakistanis feathers who are playing well and Amin believes a good performance from his boys can turn the tide around. The atmosphere in the Malaysian camp is much lighter and calm.
“In the last two matches the young tigers played exceptionally well. I credit them for their fighting spirit and attitude. We know that Pakistan is a strong team and anything is possible. I am looking at a win or at the least holding them to a draw. The points gained will put us in a better position in the classification matches.,” said Amin.
He added that injuries to team captain Faris Harizan and defender Wan Najmie Ahmad Dzaib in the 1-3 defeat against India had frustrated the young tiger’s momentum in the last quarter of the match.
“With two days of rest the players are undergoing rehabilitation now and will be mentally and physically ready for the big task ahead against Pakistan. We have to remain optimistic in every match,” added Amin.
Seven out of eight teams competing in this year’s 11th edition of the SOJC tournament, except Great Britain, are gearing for the forthcoming World Cup at the Bukit Jalil National Hockey Stadium from Dec 4-16.
“This tournament is a good platform for us to look into all shortcomings and weakness in every department. There is still a lot to do before we go into the World Cup,” he added.
The Malaysians were beaten 6-2 by Pakistan in the Junior Asia Cup in Oman in May this year, and defeating them this time round on home turf will certainly heal the pain.