Sukri: No room for complacency

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NATIONAL senior team captain Sukri Mutalib has warned his players not to be over confident and let complacency get in the way as the Malaysians attempt to win field hockey gold medal in the Kuala Lumpur 2017 29thSEA Games.

The Malaysians have dominated field hockey in this region, winning every gold medal in the history of the multi-sport except in 1973, when they were beaten by Singapore while indoor hockey is contested for the first time.

“On paper we are ranked No 1 in this region and 12 in the world. So we are definitely in a better position to win the gold medal but let’s not underestimate any of our opponents,” said Sukri at a press conference at the official team residency hotel today.

“I don’t want us to sound arrogant. We are the best in this region and we must play to our level of quality we are known. Each time a team loses they will definitely regroup and come back playing a much stronger game in the next match,” he added. “We must be wary of this situation.”

The Malaysians had a close encounter in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games when they were held to a 2-2 by the host in regulation time in  the final. Led by a motley bunch of Under-23 players, the match went into penalty shootout before the Malaysians won 4-3 to retain the gold medal.

Meanwhile, national team head coach Stephen van Huizen is equally confident the Tigers will contribute to the Malaysian contingent target of gold medals.

“We are ranked No 1. So, I am positive we will win the gold medal. We always take every match seriously. Our job on the field is to let the world know what we are capable of doing and let the results prove how good Malaysian hockey is,” he said, adding that several players are making their debut in the Games but this scenario does not shake off the confidence level.

“I am not worried that many players are making their debut here. The standard of hockey here is lower than playing in the Asia Cup where we face teams like India, Pakistan, Korea, China and Japan,” he added. BY DESLYN YOON

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