KUCHING: Long-time hockey fans would know that Sarawak have a proud history in Sukma women’s hockey.
Sarawak women have won the Sukma title twice, the last time in 2006 under current State head coach C Sivasubramaniam.
They are looking to mount a strong challenge in the coming Johor Sukma.
Coach Sri ‘Muthi’ Sakrunathan’s squad started preparations on Jan 3 with their Kuching training camp.
“We started off with 27 players. Now we have 23 after four players left,” Muthi revealed.
The final team will comprise 18 players. The coach is quite happy with how the team has progressed so far.
“Their basic skills has improved and so has their decision making,” he noted.
A major concern going into camp was their long layoff from training.
“Injury was a concern, especially in the beginning but we manage to come out of it without too much problems,” Muthi said.
The team has started training in Peninsular Malaysia in the run-up to Sukma.
That phase started on Monday when Muthy and 14 players left for the Klang Valley.
The other players will not be going as they are students.
“They will join us for one month before Sukma starts,” Muthy said.
This weekend the squad will travel to Kulim, Kedah for a 12-day stint which includes friendly matches with teams from Kedah, Penang, Selangor and KL.
The coach has expressed confidence that the squad can go far in Johor Sukma.
“The first task is to make the second round, which is the semi-finals,” said Muthy.
“I am hopeful we can progress from there,” he added.
SMK Muara Tuang alumnus Suhaila Sata is the team captain.
“We have improved a lot since training started, mentally and physically,” said the Samarahan resident.
“I am confident we will do well in Sukma,” the midfielder added.