AFTER going down in three closely contested matches with narrow margins of defeats, the Young Tigers have proven that they have the ability and lion’s will power to hold ‘fancied teams’ by their tails.
“There are a lot of positives in our performance in the three matches. The team is better prepared this year. Yes, we lost narrowly but the players have hit the ground hard in search for goals and were aggressive. I want the players to show the same kind of aggressiveness from the first till the fourth quarter when we play Great Britain on Thursday,’” said National Juniors coach Amin Rahim.
The Malaysians lost 2-3 to New Zealand in the opening match, 1-3 against the Indians and came back from a three-goal deficit against Pakistan to register a 2-3 defeat with four minutes of regulation time remaining.
The Malaysians and three-time champions Great Britain will play in the 5th-8th playoff match while South Africa and New Zealand l contest in the other encounter.
“We played against Great Britain in a practice match two days before the tournament SOJC started but that was a different ball game. GB’s game has improved and they are a different level. They played well against Germany and we are expecting the same kind of energy from them when we meet,” added Amin.
He stressed that a team bonding session will be held after the SOJC tournament and involves sports psychologists from the National Sports Institute.
“We will set the direction and its all about mental preparation. The World Cup is a few weeks away and mental preparation is very important in getting the players tuned for the big stage. What we did against Pakistan in the third and fourth quarters was aggressive play in search of the goals when the chips are down.
“In all our matches the players showed good performance. We made mistakes along the way by giving space to our opponents and they scored. We were aggressive too but we did not score and they did. Just like against Pakistan, we had six penalty corners the same as them but they scored two goals and we converted only one,” he said.