SERDANG, April 22 (Bernama) — National coach, Roelant Oltmans has backed Malaysia to shine at the 2019 Men’s FIH Series Finals due to the team’s significant improvement.
The 64-year-old Dutchman who led the Dutch team to the 1996 Atlanta Olympic gold medal, said his side had shown progress in the training session and ready to kick off the tournament which would be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil from April 26-May 4.
Oltmans noted that his team understood the importance of winning the competition to keep up their chances to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I can only say the team is making clear progress in every part of the action - physically, mentally, technically and tactically...the team is really making progress and it is shown in every training session.
“They (players) get better and better and that is exactly what they want. This is the tournament where we want to perform...we all know what is the outcome of this tournament, the team is believing that we can perform,” he told reporters today.
Ahead of Group B opening match against world number 29, Brazil this Friday, Oltmans said the team should not underestimate their opponent but must gain the maximum three points.
“Let’s not take it lightly and don’t underestimate them, at the same time we have to be honest that Brazil is number 29 in the world and we are the world number 13. So, if we could not beat Brazil, it is better for us not to go to Tokyo or even think about Tokyo,” he added.
Malaysia will take on Wales in a warm-up match tomorrow in preparation for the Series Finals.
Malaysia will continue their Group B matches against China (ranked 14) on Sunday before locking horns with Italy (ranked 32) next Monday.
Group A comprises Canada, Austria, Wales and Belarus.