Kuantan (20 Oct, 2016): Korean hockey consultant Paul Lissek says he hopes his new outlook team will gain from the experience of competing in the QNET 4thAsian Champions Trophy and that their opening match against Pakistan on Friday will give him an insight on their journey.
The German, who has coached several nations in the last 15 years including stints as head coach in Malaysia and consultant to hockey Australia, has made robust changes to the side that last competed in the Hero Champions Trophy in London this year.
“Since the Champions Trophy in London this team has gone through many changes. Several senior and experience players have retired and what we have here today are young players who are playing in their first international tournament,” said Lissek on the eve of their crucial encounter against two-time Asian Champion Trophy winners Pakistan.
“It’s just like starting all over again for Korean hockey with these new players so it is also a big test for me to see how they perform. But I am confident the experience of playing in the ACT is a great opportunity to learn as they will be up against very strong opposition,” said Lissek.
“The Asian Champions Trophy is a far different ball game than the Hero Champions Trophy in London. This is because playing against European teams is not the same as against Asian opponents.”
His biggest concern is Korea’s habit of giving away goals easily after a pulsating match which their forwards work hard in scoring.
“We saw this clearly in the London Champions Trophy. And this is an area we need to work on greatly. It happens to most teams even in the Rio Olympics so the defence is my concern too. There are grey areas,” he said.
The German added that the hockey-playing community in Korea is far smaller than many other countries that he has been connected to in past and that itself is a challenge in taking the former Asian Games gold medallist to the forefront again.
“In Korea there are only 2-3 strong teams playing against each other. We don’t have a high level competition. The game is played widely in Universities and the Army and I have been assisting in grooming their skills further,” added the renowned master coach.
“I am confident we may sustain in a few matches and playing Pakistan in the opening match on Friday is going to be a real test and challenge for us. They play fast and good hockey with very talented players. It is going to be a very interesting match for Korea. And I hope the players will improve their own level of performance here,” he said with a wryly smile.
The German has targeted a top three or four finish for Korea in the QNET Asian Champions Trophy.
Meanwhile, China’s team manager, Liu Yang, wants his young players to rise from the experience of playing against Malaysia in their Asian Champions Trophy opening fixture on Friday.
“Malaysian players have lots of experience compared to China. We are rebuilding the team and if we hold the Malaysians by playing a good game at twould be more than enough,” said Liu, speaking through an interpreter.
“China has set a new platform for the team and the ACT here in Kuantan is our first step towards building this team to new heights,” he added.
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