SINGAPORE: Neil Hawgood will be the coach when Malaysia compete in the World Hockey League Semi-Finals in Belgium from June 20-July 5.
The 52-year-old Australian was hired by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) as a consultant two weeks ago. He was in Singapore to observe the team in the just-concluded World League Second Round. Malaysia, with Tai Beng Hai as the coach and Stephen van Huizen as his assistant, emerged champions to qualify for the Semi-Finals, which is a qualifying tournament for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
MHC vice-president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad said they were grateful to Beng Hai for leading the team to win the Second Round.
“Beng Hai has proven himself to be a good coach, but Neil will be in charge of the team at the World League Semi-Finals.
“Beng Hai will be the assistant coach as well as the team manager. We will also retain Stephen as the assistant coach,” said Nur Azmi, who was the team manager in Singapore.
Nur Azmi added that the national players would be given a one-week break after their exertions in Singapore.
“The players will then resume training for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (in Ipoh from April 2-12). There are 25 players in the training squad, but Neil wants to call another 15 players to form a bigger pool of players. Our priority this year is the World League Semi-Finals as we want to do well to qualify for the Olympics,” said Nur Azmi.
by Aftar Singh - The Star