Sunday February 24, 2013
Nadia urges team to go all out against Japan
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: National hockey skipper Nadia Abdul Rahman has called on her team-mates to play above themselves when Malaysia face Japan in a crucial match in the second round of the women’s World League in New Delhi today.
Malaysia are lying third in the six-team competition with nine points from three wins and a defeat. Japan and India are tied with 10 points but the host top the standings with a better goal difference. Only the top two teams will qualify for the World League semi-finals.
“We are just one match away from qualifying for the World League semi-finals. We need to give everything in this match,” said the 28-year-old Nadia, a veteran with 97 international caps.
Malaysia have never beaten Japan. In their last encounter at the Olympic qualifiers in Kazamigahara, Japan, last year, the Malaysians were humiliated 8-0.
“This is the biggest challenge in my hockey career. But I believe nothing is impossible. We upset Russia 3-1 in the opening match. Japan could only draw 1-1 with Russia in regulation time (Japan eventually won the match through a penalty shootout).
“We want to create another upset. It is within our reach,” said Nadia, who has scored four times in the tournament.