Selangor Journal
(from left to right) former Australian penalty corner specialist and World Cup winner Christopher Ciriello with Malaysian Hockey Confederation president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal, during a press conference at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, on March 15, 2023. — Picture by BERNAMA

MHC appoint penalty corner specialist from Australia to assist national squad

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) announced the appointment of former Australian penalty corner specialist and World Cup winner Christopher Ciriello to assist the National squad and the National junior squad.

MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal said the appointment was made after discussions with penalty corner specialists adviser S. Kuhan and National squad head coach A. Arul Selvaraj.

The main objective of engaging the services of the 37-year-old former Australian international is to assist and sharpen the skills of penalty corner takers in the squad ahead of the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou and the 2023 World Youth Cup.

“He (Ciriello) was a penalty corner specialist who was one of the best drag flickers during his time and had played for Australia many times, including appearing in two Olympics and was instrumental in his country winning the World Cup.

“I think he is a household name in the hockey fraternity. He will be with us for a few months. He will be with us for a few days initially and return to Australia before coming back to take charge,” he told reporters after introducing Ciriello at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, here today.

Subahan said the MHC hopes to have five to six sessions with Ciriello ahead of the Asian Games scheduled in September and the World Youth Cup scheduled in December.

Meanwhile, Arul Selvaraj said the presence of Cirello who was India’s assistant National coach, will offer a new dimension to the National squad, especially the junior players who have never been exposed to foreign expertise in the field of hockey.

“What is interesting is that Chris (Ciriello) has won the World Cup, so he knows all about winning and that is important. When we bring an expert from abroad, it is important for the individual to have achieved success at the world level.

“I think he has done a lot of work with India and has improved the Indian flickers to another level where they start scoring and India was feared in penalty corner since he took over,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ciriello said the national squad’s penalty corner execution was good but has room for improvement.

He said a lot of people talk about the flicker but for him, a good penalty corner starts with the first person to move the ball.

“If the ball does not come out fast enough so the rusher is too close, you cannot reangle to play, so first we going to work on the quick transition of the ball before we will be able to play different angles. I think every team should have a minimum of three flickers for rotation and it’s important,” he said.

Ciriello’s highest achievement was to help Australia win the World Cup in 2014, and he has won two Commonwealth Games gold medals (2010, 2014) and a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics.

Ciriello scored 116 goals in 199 international matches during a nine-year period with the Australian squad from 2008 to 2016.

— Bernama


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