Johor failed to defend the women’s hockey gold medal they won in 2010 in Malacca with a poor fourth placing at the last edition of the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Pahang in 2012.
The southern state arrived in Kangar for the 17th Sukma this morning – determined to take the podium with the semi-finals as their initial target from a tough Group A which also has defending champions Terengganu for company.
The other teams in the group are Sarawak, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang and Sabah. In Group B are Federal Territories, Selangor, Perlis, Perak, Pulau Pinang, Melaka and Kedah.
Johor head coach, former international Lailin Abu Hassan, however, admitted that it will be a “tough journey” in Perlis for his team but with six months of training which began in January the players are ready for the battle.
And the final phase of training was held in Johor Baru when the team assembled for 10 days before hitting the road for the long journey to the north.
According to Lailin the Johor team includes nine players from the Johor schools. The players were picked from the Johor inter-district hockey tournament.
Lailin named national trainee, forward Anis Nadiah Onn and midfielder Nor Aniza Rahmat as the two “seniors” as the mainstay of the young team.
“It was disappointing to finish without a medal in Pahang after winning the title in Malacca. This time around we are targeting a medal in Perlis. However, our first target is to make the semi-final and take off from there,” said Lailin who hails from Batu Pahat.