Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE national women’s hockey team are not looking to hold back against their opponents - Hong Kong and Pakistan - at the 3rd Women's Asian Hockey Challenge 2017.
National hockey coach Fauzi Hj Awang promised a more attacking style of play from his charges at the October 22-28 tournament - the first women’s hockey competition the Sultanate will host since the 1999 SEA Games.
“For this tournament there will be some changes in technique and tactics," Fauzi told BruSports News on Wednesday.
“Previously (past tournaments) we focused too much on defending and not to concede goals.
“We had a very defensive and constricting mindset, and sometimes it doesn’t always work for us. So this time around I want to change that,” he added.
"We have been working and preparing on our own style of attacking and Alhamdulilah they have improved a lot. We will see how it goes and I hope all the hard work pays off," continued Fauzi.
The Brunei Stingers will open their campaign against Hong Kong at the National Hockey Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas at 4pm on Sunday.
They will then face off against Pakistan on Tuesday.
Contested in a double round-robin format, they will take on Hong Kong again the next day before Pakistan on Oct 27.
The top two sides in the three-team pool will then battle it out in the final on Oct 28.
Fauzi has set his eyes on a final berth but warned his players that won't be an easy task.
“We hope to make it to the final at least, we will see how it goes from there,” said Fauzi.
“We have played Hong Kong previously at the same tournament two years ago where we lost 4-0, but we are now a different and better team.
“We have not played Pakistan before, but we heard that they are a very strong team,” he added.
“Both teams are ahead of Brunei in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) world ranking, so I am expecting tough matches.
"The defence has always been our strength and it is where our experienced players are, so it is important that everyone stay focused in the game and help each other in keeping it solid and tight defensively," continued the national hockey coach.
The team have been preparing since early this year and started their intensive training two months ago to get the players more game time together.
“Most of our training sessions emphasise a lot on building team work among the players so there were playing a lot of friendly games together,” added Fauzi.
“The team consist of familiar faces and just two to three players are relatively new.
“Most of them are technically good, they understand the game well and what is left to do is to create a squad that can work together on the field,” he said.
Sanctioned by the Asian Hockey Federation (IHF) points earned from the matches will be contributed to the IHF world ranking.
“We will get points just by participating in this tournament, but we will get more points if we win or draw, so it is good to come up with results,” concluded Fauzi.
The Women's Asia Hockey Challenge was introduced by the AHF in 2013 to provide the second-tier hockey nations in Asia with more opportunities to compete on the international level against opponents of a similar standard.