Selangor Journal
Speedy Tigers, Malaysia’s men’s hockey team, lifting the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for the first time, at Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, Ipoh, on November 10, 2022. — Picture by BERNAMA

Speedy Tigers head to South Korea to gear up for Asian Champions Trophy

KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 — The Malaysian men’s hockey team, nicknamed Speedy Tigers, will be based in Incheon, South Korea from June 18 to June 28, for a series of warm-up matches ahead of the 2023 Asian Champions Trophy in Chennai, India, in August.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) said the 20-strong Speedy Tigers will play four matches against the South Korean national team in a series of friendlies in Incheon.

“It will also be the platform for the two newcomers — Mohd Fitri Saari and Abdul Khaliq Hamirin — to prove their worth to be in the team and take on world number nine South Korea,” it said in a statement today.

National head coach for hockey A. Arul Selvaraj speaks during the press conference on the announcement of the national men’s hockey team for the 2023 Hockey World Cup in India, at Stadium Hoki Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur, on January 5, 2023. — Picture by BERNAMA

Meanwhile, coach A. Arul Selvaraj has described the friendlies as crucial to testing their ability to adapt to the team’s new playing system.

“We have adopted a new playing system and we will use the friendlies as a platform to experiment with it.

“After returning from the 2023 World Cup (in January), we have made some changes to our playing system and this is the best chance for us to assess its effectiveness,” he said in the statement.

The friendlies will also be used to evaluate the physical conditions of the players as 90 per cent of the changes to the playing style involve their physicality and strength.

Arul Selvaraj said the friendlies were also a medium to ensure his men were more responsible in their game management, especially in terms of tactical understanding.

“However, the team’s main focus in this series of friendlies is our playing system and also the position of the players, including their physical strength. I will also make some slight changes to the players’ positions in the friendlies,” he said.

The Speedy Tigers will leave for Incheon on Sunday (June 18) and their first friendly match will be on Wednesday (June 21).

— Bernama

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