Friday January 4, 2013
Project 2013 squad sweat over lack of a quality drag flicker
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Project 2013 squad coach K. Dharmaraj is concerned about the lack of a quality penalty corner drag flicker for the Junior World Cup, which will be held in in Chandigarh, Punjab, from Dec 5-16.
Dharmaraj, who guided Malaysia to the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca last May, said that hosts India had a lethal drag flicker in Gurjinder Singh, who was in top form in last month’s All India Ubaidullah Khan Gold Cup in Bhopal.
The 19-year-old lanky defender from Chandigarh has powerful drag flicks and scored in every match in the tournament. He played for Indian Oil Corporation and was named the best player in the tournament after scoring nine goals.
“He scored three goals against us and will pose a big threat to teams in the Junior World Cup,” said Dharmaraj, who admitted that he too needed a good penalty corner flicker like Gurjinder to deliver the goals in the World Cup.
“Penalty corners are crucial to winning matches. And the only player I think capable of being a good drag flicker in the team is defender Mohd Nor Aqmal (Abdul Ghaffar).
“He played in the All India Ubaidullah Khan Gold Cup and scored one penalty corner goal.
“However, he needs to work extra hard in training to develop powerful and accurate drag flicks.”
The 20-year-old Mohd Nor Aqmal is from Batu Pahat and played for Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) last season.
Dharmaraj came under fire after the Project 2013 squad failed to defend the Sultan of Johor Cup last year.
They won the inaugural tournament in 2011 but finished last in the six-nation tournament last November.
The Project squad will continue with their next phase of training at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Monday.
“We have 11 months to build a solid team for the Junior World Cup and we need to play at least 45 matches to be ready,” he said.
“We’ll play five matches against the national Canadian senior and junior teams who will be here on a playing tour in two weeks’ time.
“I will trim the squad to 25 players after the friendlies against the Canadians. We also plan to either go to Australia or South Korea for a playing tour in March.”