India face hosts Malaysia in inconsequential match today
Already out of contention for a berth in the final of the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, India will be looking to play for pride against hosts Malaysia in the final group league match here today.
Australia are heading the table with eight points from four outings and only require a draw against New Zealand to seal a berth in the final. The New Zealanders are two points behind Australia and are in a must-win situation. Hosts Malaysia (8 points) are assured of a final berth.
India, who have got three points so far, can best qualify for the third-place play-off, if they beat the hosts today. But coach Michael Nobbs is confident of putting up a good show and qualify for the play-offs.
“Rallying behind a developmental side every match is an opportunity to identify grey areas and work on to erase those. With 10 boys in the junior ranks, the event has served the purpose it was intended for,” he said.
The coach, however, said patience is the key. “Try as they might, the boys just could not raise the level of their game like in the game against Pakistan. But there are a lot of positives for the boys in their learning process. It takes time to translate the learning into results and patience is the key,” added Nobbs.
Malaysia coach Paul Revingon said that their priority is to get back into the World Cup and the real test for the boys will be the Asia Cup here in August and the World Series.