National hockey coach A. Arul Selvaraj sees more reasons that just to wrest the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to make history to win for the first time after 29 editions.
“There simply too many reasons the players have to win the title and they are aware of it,” said Arul after a final morning training session today (yesterday).
“Besides seeking revenge for our opening game loss to Korea and they denying us the Asia Cup in the final in May, the obvious reason is to wrest the Cup for the first time ever.
“But equally important for the team is pay back time. A victory here will mean showing gratitude and appreciation for all the support given to the team by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC), then National Sports Council, the National Sports Institute, the sponsors, the family of them players and fans, whose tremendous support has got us where we are today.
“Of course our journey is a process to the qualification for the Paris Olympics, but every journey has to see more positive results to pave the path clearer.
“There are so many things the team is getting the team inn hen best shape possible, some through personal sponsorship and others through the various agencies who partners with us.
“A result here will not ensure that we will get continued support but more.”
Arul said that he has spoken to the players and they have responded positively and are all eager to taste success.
“But they are fully aware nothing comes easy. It is going to be a tough and close match against Korea and we have to work doubly hard.
“Them players and the support team have been working very hard and it is about time to reap the results and move on to the next phase to further step up.”
Arul said it is important for the players to remain calm and composed at all times and make use of their chances.
“Sometimes the players work rate and desire to win the game is not reflected in the end because of silly errors, loss of concentration and get over anxious.
“In international high-level matches, there is no room for error and we have to be clinical.
“And I am confident my team will rise to the occasion.”
Korean coach, Shin Seok Kyo said that as much as they want to defend their title, they are aware that they will be facing a different Malaysian team.
“This team is not the same team we beat in the opening match. They have been improving with each match and I believe their best has yet to come,” said Shin.
“Also Malaysia have the home fans rooting for them which will be a huge morale booster for them.
“But we are just going to take the challenge and atmosphere in our stride and go about our normal game.”
Shin said his only concern is that he has a few players on injured list and not sure if they can take the field or if they will be fully fit to play.
“I am just counting on the experience of my players to pull us through.”
Indeed, an exciting and close match is in store where the match will be witnessed by the Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Al-Magfur-Lah.