Tuesday, 17 December 2013 16:33

Having led the national juniors to a creditable fourth place finish at the Junior World Cup in New Delhi, coach K. Dharmaraj is reading to take up the challenge of coaching the team preparing for the 2016 edition.
Malaysia finished a creditable fourth at the tournament, matching the feat of the 1979 and 1982 editions.
They defeated New Zealand (3-2), South Africa (2-1) and England (4-2) before overcoming South Korea (2-1) in the last eight. Malaysia were edged 3-1 via a shootout by France after the match had ended 1-1 in regulation time.
Their only blemish was the 7-2 defeat at the hands of Netherlands in the match to determine the bronze medal.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation had yet to decide on the coaching set-up for the next Junior World Cup to be held in 2016, ironically in India once again.
“I am prepared to take up the challenge once again if given the opportunity,” said Dharma.
“My contract comes to an end on December 31 and I will leave it to the concerned parties to make a decision.
“I have no problems should they decide to let another coach handle the next juniors.
“But we need to prepare early and have a good plan in place. Not that I am under estimating the next batch of juniors but it will be asking a lot for them to make it to the top four.
“Still I am willing to take up the challenge. The past four years has changed my life, it was a whole new learning experience for me. But although it was tough, I am prepared to ride the roller coaster once again.”
On the fate of his team, Dharma said that while between 6-8 players can make it to the senior training squad, he believes the others had their work ut out if they harboured hopes of playing for the country at senior level.

“I am stating the obvious as these eight players have the ability to go on and represent the senior side,” said Dharma.

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