KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Believe in yourself and in your teammates. That is the advice national hockey head coach A. Arul Selvaraj has given his men ahead of their final Group C match against New Zealand in the 2023 Hockey World Cup at the Stadium Kalinga, Bhubaneswar, India tomorrow.
He told his players self-belief and confidence in their teammates were crucial to ensuring world number 11 Malaysia can achieve a positive outcome against world number nine New Zealand.
“I think that is the best formula for us to take into the match. We must believe in ourselves and also in our physical and mental abilities. I expect New Zealand to play aggressively to put us under pressure.
“So we need to play with the self-belief to get out of the pressure situations and play our game, we need to be able to match the intensity of our opponents,” Arul Selvaraj said via an audio clip shared with the local media, earlier today.
Meanwhile, he confirmed that forward Shahmie Irfan Suhaimi had been called up to join the squad in India to replace Muhammad Shahril Saabah, who suffered an injury during their second group match aginast Chile on Monday (January 16) and will not be able to play tomorrow.
“He (Shahmie Irfan) has good technical ability when going forward and is highly confident of his capabilities. So, we want him to come and join the team and just enjoy the game,” Arul Selvaraj said.
Elaborating, he said the Speedy Tigers focused on the tactical aspect to try and rein in New Zealand as well as worked on their penalty corner setpieces during training today.
After two matches, the Netherlands sit atop Group C with six points, followed by New Zealand and Malaysia with three points each while Chile, with no points, prop up the table.