Indian hockey team coach Roelant Oltmans was a happy man after his side coasted to a 9-0 victory over China in the preliminary league outing of the fourth Asian Champions Trophy on Tuesday.
“Any coach will be pleased with his team scoring nine goals,” said Oltmans as he prepared for Wednesday’s crucial
fixture against hosts Malaysia, who are the other main contenders for the top spot in the round-robin league standings.
India have secured 10 points from four matches, while Malaysia are on nine points through three successive
victories. Hosts Malaysia will have one match – against South Korea – left after India finish their preliminary league fixtures.
“We know that the game against Malaysia will be a tough one. Playing Malaysia in Malaysia is a serious match for any side,” said Oltmans, promising that his players will go out charging for a victory that would secure them the top berth in the league standings.
The semifinal line up will be known only after the league matches finish on Thursday.
“We always try and assess the strength and weakness in the opposing team’s game and try to exploit the weakness
within our ability,” said Oltmans.
Malaysian coach Steven van Huizen said this match was critical in determining where his team would finish in the
league standings. “We respect India as a team. We’ll have to play well to match them,” said van Huizen.
He said the Malaysian team was aware that India were currently ranked sixth in the world, while Malaysia were
placed at No. 14. Malaysian player Fitri Saari put things into perspective with his interesting observation of “since we are eight places behind India in the rankings, we have to play eight times better to match them”.