KUCHING: Sarawak will participate in the National Under-16 hockey championships to be held at Kuantan, Pahang from Aug 16-24.
Dangerous Lee Mathew is coaching the boys team which is among 14 in the fray while Sri “Murthi” Sakrunathan is in charge of the girls squad which will compete against 12 other teams.
The boys are drawn in the tough Group A which includes Sabah, KL, Kelantan and defending champions Perak.
“We selected 24 players for training but three boys will not be attending as they are at Sabah Sports School,” said Hockey Association of Sarawak secretary Kangot Awan.
The other 21 players have been training here since Aug 1.
Eight players are from the class that went to the 2018 National U-14 tourney.
“I am reasonably happy with them but they are still not disciplined enough and not mentally strong,” said Dangerous.
He observed that they frequently stray from their positions and still do not have the tenacity to chase down loose balls.
Despite these shortcomings, Sarawak head coach C. Sivasubramaniam felt that the squad is the best he has seen yet.
“Their skillset is the best I have seen so far. We need to keep them together for the next several years,” said Siva.
“Team manager Ali Rahman felt that this is a much stronger team as it is more balanced,” said Kangot Awan.
They played against the TNB League’s RAMD team during the training camp.
“The team played quite well as we only lose 3-2,” said Dangerous.
He is hoping they will advance past the group stage.
“That is always the target. Hopefully, we can do it this time,” the coach added.