Monday, October 20, 2014

Players ‘coach’ themselves to a win

NATIONAL coach Arul Selvaraj let his team loose for 24 hours, and they dished out a much better performance to beat Pakistan 3-1 to finish fifth in the Sultan of Johor Cup (SOJC) at the Taman Daya Stadium yesterday.

In the final, India defeated Britain 2-1 to lift their inaugural SOJC title.
After a 2-2 draw against Pakistan in their pool match on Saturday, the coach asked his players to hold their own discussions and formulate their own plans to face Pakistan again in the fifth-sixth classification match.

“Summing up the tournament, we had two draws (2-2 against Pakistan and 1-1 against New Zealand) and one win today (yesterday) and considering that we did not lose by big margins to finalists Britain (2-1) and India (4-2) I feel it was not a bad outing,” said Arul. “Considering how close we were to playing in the bronze medal playoff, I told the boys that they must now plan on their own on how to beat Pakistan and finish fifth. They held their own meeting, and even during the game, I let them loose and did not coach them much today (yesterday) and they showed they can play.”

Malaysia took a 3-0 lead against Pakistan with goals from skipper Haziq Samsul (sixth), Najmi Farizal (24th) and Shahril Saabah (32nd). The Pakistan goal was scored by Mohamed Naveed in the 45th minute.

“We did not do as well as the coach and the public expected from us, but I believe if this team is given as much exposure as the previous Junior World Cup team, we will also make the country proud in 2016,” said skipper Haziq.

RESULTS: Fifth-sixth: Malaysia 3 Pakistan 1; Third-fourth: Australia 6 New Zealand 2; Final: India 2 Britain 1. By Jugjet Singh

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