Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
HONG KONG scored four fourth quarter goals to clinch the 3rd Women’s Asian Hockey Challenge title with a 4-0 victory over Pakistan in the final last night.
After a goalless three periods, Hong Kong netted four goals in a span of 10 minutes in the deciding frame to seal the win at the National Hockey Stadium in Berakas.
The result means that Hong Kong finished the three-team competition with a flawless record of five wins - scoring 27 goals and conceding none - at the Oct 22-28 tournament, which is the first women’s hockey tournament to be held in Brunei since the 1999 SEA Games.
Hong Kong finally broke the deadlock off a penalty corner with Tiffany Chan, who bagged the topscorer award with 11 goals to her name in the competition, whipping the ball in for Chan Ching Nam to have the last touch from close range in the 50th minute.
They doubled their lead just over a minute later after Tiffany made a dazzling run into the area, skipping past multiple markers, before firing into the top corner.
Captain Lo I Ka made it 3-0 off another penalty corner two minutes later and Melissa Law put the icing on the cake seconds before the final buzzer after finding the back of the net from 15 metres out.
Hong Kong coach Arif Ali was pleased with the showing of his charges after bouncing back from a slow start.
“We were hoping to play our best game on the last day today (Saturday) but we started very slow for the first two quarters,” said Arif after the triumph.
“At halftime, we regrouped and went back to the basics to get things right. There were too many simple turnovers in the first half and we managed to correct our mistakes.
“We started to build our game at the start of the third quarter and towards the end we started to play like how we normally do. We took our chances and never stopped going,” he added.
Pakistan started the more aggressive of the two and managed to get three penalty corners early on in the title decider, which they failed to convert.
Over at the other end, Hong Kong got two of their own but Tiffany was denied by Pakistan goalkeeper Rizwana Yasmeen on both occasions.
Ishrat Abbas was on target for Pakistan early in the second period but Hong Kong shotstopper Yip Ting Wai was to her equal to keep the ball out.
Hong Kong came out a different side after the half and Lo almost scored in the 36th minute but her effort was kept out by Rizwana.
They also improved defensively but couldn’t break down the resilient Pakistan defence. The latter were pinned back to their own half the rest of the way after running out of steam - having played three games in as many days.
Pakistan coach Saeed Khan stressed that having to play three consecutive days without rest led to their downfall.
“As seen from all our matches from the start, we were gradually improving. As for the final, I have said before, this is totally wrong that on astro turf, you play two games without rest,” said Saeed.
“On other hand, either planned or incident, Hong Kong had rest for the entire day and our team didn’t get any.
“Reason behind our fourth quarter is that our team was totally tired. Despite all their efforts they couldn’t do anything and they have played their best,” he concluded.
Pakistan’s Mayira Sabir won the best player award while Brunei’s Fatimah Hj Usli won the best goalkeeper award.
Present as the guest of honour to give away the prizes to the winners was Hj Muhd Zamri Dato Paduka Hj Hamdani, the vice-president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BDNOC).
Tiffany thanks teammates on securing topscorer award
HONG KONG forward Tiffany Chan credited her teammates to help her finish as the topscorer of the 3rd Women’s Asian Hockey Challenge 2017.
Chan ended the October 22-28 competition with an impressive 11 goals to her name - achieving her target of 10 - and was arguably the best player on the pitch on most occasions.
She assisted on the opening goal against Pakistan in the final off a penalty corner before a solo effort for the Hong Kong’s second enroute to victory.
“This is not my personal effort but of the whole team for building every play and giving me the opportunity to score. I’m proud to finish as champions and to win the topscorer award,” said Chan.
“We started off a bit slow but progressed every single game. We trust each other and got the ultimate reward,” she added.
Chan didn’t look her usual self in the opening three quarters and was taken off early in the decisive frame.
She finally hit her stride after subbing back on which resulted in the opening goal moments later.
“Actually I was a bit nervous for the big game. (I subbed out because) someone hit my hand,” said the 24-year-old.
“I knew that when I came back in I had to step up and finish the game within 60 minutes. I calmed myself down and know very clear what I had to do,” she added.
When asked on how she can take her game up another level, Chan replied: “I think there is always room for improvement.
“Of course I’m happy for scoring most of the goals for my team and also achieving what I want. When you are the main player of the team, you have more responsibility and this is the motivation for me to improve,” she added.
The other two individual awards recipients were caught by surprise after their names were called.
“I had no idea that I would win the best player of the tournament. I’m very thankful to Allah Almighty for giving me the blessing of winning it,” said Mayira Sabir of Pakistan.
“Overall, our team played very well. I had no idea about the judges to give me the award. I wasn’t expecting it at all,” she added.
As for Brunei goalkeeper Fatimah Hj Usli, who has been with the Stingers since 2009, she said: “It was a surprise (for me to win it). I wasn’t even expecting to join this tournament due to my other commitments.”