KUALA LUMPUR: Despite having a big pool of players to choose from, national men’s hockey team coach Stephen Van Huizen admits that he is not having a selection headache in coming up with a list of 20 players who will make up the squad who will go on a playing tour of Argentina.
This was voiced out by Van Huizen when contacted earlier today (Tuesday), as he also confirmed that he already has a list of players that he will take with him to Buenos Aires which he will make known this Thursday.
"I do not need a long period of time to make a decision, and the team has undergone three weeks of centralised training upon returning from the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia last month.
"However, I cannot comment any further on this matter. All that I can tell you is that all the players have showed a high level of commitment during training,” said Van Huizen.
Eight players will be dropped from the initial list of 28 players who reported in for centralised training three weeks ago, where the focus during training was angled more towards efforts in improving the players’ fitness level.
The national squad will depart for Buenos Aires this Sunday where they will play six friendly matches against the 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalists, and after that they are scheduled to head off to Australia.
The series of friendly matches are as a means of preparation for the Asian Games this coming August and Van Huizen admits that the playing tour will be able to improve and sharpen his charges.
"Actually the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) could have arranged for friendly matches with other teams, but Argentina and Australia were chosen so that our players can experience good matches against top notch teams.
"Argentina are ranked World No 2 and are Olympic champions, so we will definitely be up against a top team who will push our players to perform and at the same time improve their game,” stressed Van Huizen.