Kuala Lumpur (13 Oct, 2016): Malaysia’s national men’s team head coach Stephen van Huizen has set a semi-finals target for the host nation in the upcoming QNET 4th Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan, Pahang.
“We are ranked fourth in Asia and going by ranking, we will aim to qualify for the semi-finals first,” said van Huizen. “The boys have had a good performance in the Australia Hockey League recently which is a very tough competition and we are in a better condition now for the ACT.”
“Finishing sixth was a commendable achievement against top class opposition. We won some matches and lost some but we gained a lot of respect in the process and that is good for our level of confidence,” he said.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) is expected to make a formal announcement on Monday players selected for the ACT 2016 which begins in the coastal city of Kuantan from Oct 20-30.
In past Asian Champions Trophy editions, Pakistan has been the most successful team with two Asian Champions Trophy gold medals (2012 and 2013) and silver (2011), while India won the 2011 inaugural event. The Malaysians won bronze medals in the last three editions.
MHC President, Dato’ Sri Subahan Kamal, echoed that it is his fervent hope the national team qualifies for the World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“The ACT is important. We will do well, but I rather we don’t do that well in the ACT but qualify for the World Cup. Winning the ACT but not qualifying for the World Cup is of no point. These players are the icons of the younger generation. Winning will make the sponsors more confident,” he said.
“The players train daily, showing lots of commitment and dedication and deserve to be rewarded. The players also want to win and do well. We want to finish at least fourth in the Asian Champions Trophy. We take responsibility together for our performances. We also want to qualify for the Olympics and the World Cup,” he added.
He was speaking at the Sponsorship of Malaysia National Team Technical Partner & Asian Championship Trophy Sponsorship Presentation held here today in Kuala Lumpur. The allure of the QNET 4th Asian Champions Trophy has enticed several new partners for Asia’s premier hockey tournament in Kuantan.
Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Genting Malaysia and Waz Lian Group of Companies have joined the ranks as sponsor partners for the Asian Champions Trophy. TNB have pledged RM300,000 towards the tournament while Genting Malaysia and Waz Lian Group of Companies have come forward in the form of sponsorship deals of RM50,000 respectively.
Global Direct Selling Company, QNET, however, is the title sponsor for the fourth edition of the Asian Champions Trophy. QNET has pledged a sponsorship of RM500,000 towards the tournament, which for the first time, have a title sponsor since its inception six years ago.
“As of now, the total sponsorship value of the ACT is RM 900,000 but we need at least RM1 million. The Pahang state government have offered to help us and we are receiving good support from them.”
The event also saw the unveiling of the new Malaysian national team attire for both the senior men and women teams sponsored by Italian sportswear brand Kappa to the tune of RM700,000 for two years.
“The sponsorship deal by Kappa for 2 years is worth RM 700,000 and the sponsorship deal fully covers the men’s and women’s national teams. This deal means a lot because we are in the process of rebuilding the confidence and the national team,” said Dato’ Sri Subahan. “The new team kits come in 3 colours. Hopefully with all these new efforts, it gives us a boost in morale and the confidence for us to do well in the Asian Champions Trophy.”
“The home jersey will be orange because we are known as the Tigers. We are the Malaysian Tigers and it is fair that our home kit is orange in colour. Our second kit will be blue and third kit being white for the next 2 years.”
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation president is also confident of the national senior men’s team realigning from its current world ranking of 14 to top eight in the next two years.
“I want to make sure that we finish in the top 10 before I finish my four-year tenure. After listing to Terry (Walsh), MHC Technical Director, we are very hands-on and we are constantly brainstorming and listening because it is a family affair that we have going on,” he said.
“We look out for each other and work as a team. I believe that we can finish eight in the world rankings but my KPI is 10th in the world.”