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Smith: We Will Keep Trying

Fiji Hockey Need $$$ Support  for Dhaka The national men’s hockey side are aware of the teams they will now play after Canada withdrew from the second round of the
15 Feb 2017 11:00
Smith: We Will Keep Trying
Hector Smith Snr (standing left) with the national men’s hockey team at the National Hockey Centre in Suva.. Photo: Paulini Ratulailai

Fiji Hockey Need $$$ Support  for Dhaka

The national men’s hockey side are aware of the teams they will now play after Canada withdrew from the second round of the Hockey World League to be staged in Dhaka, Bangladesh next month. They have been replaced by Malaysia.

Speaking to SUNsports, national men’s hockey coach Hector Smith Snr said, the players are looking forward to the competition because this is an opportunity for them to qualify for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

“We are looking forward in playing against New Zealand and Australia since they are the world champions,” Smith said.

“We have been training every day except Monday.

“So we are working on our fitness skills level. We’ve got a few new caps in the team and we are trying to blend them in.  The Lautoka players have moved to Suva so we are trying our best to have as much game time together so they can connect.

“On Saturday, we have invited the rest of the players who are not part of the team to come down and give us a good run just to see how we have developed. So we will have a two- hour training session in the afternoon and two hours on Sunday morning and Friday is gym day.

“So we are trying to strengthen the team as much as possible as there are plenty of under- 21 players in the squad.

“We will see that we retain possession and play smarter as we try to improve every single day. So the team who has the ball stands a better chance.”

Smith also indicated the need to have sponsors as they are still looking for potential companies to back them up in their preparation.

“We have approached a number of business houses but we haven’t heard from them but we will continue to approach people and hope it comes through, maybe in the next couple of days.

“In the meantime we just have to focus on playing good hockey and move-up the rankings.

“From 2013 we were ranked 71 and moved up to 51. Now we’re moving up which is a good start. So in this series we have teams who are ranked in the 30s, 40s and 20s so it’s going to be challenging.

“Even if we qualify it’s another obstacle because of the travelling expenses which we are looking into. Another factor is the weather in Bangladesh which is very hot so we will have to watch ourselves and try to get use to the weather condition,” Smith said.

The team will depart on March 1 and return on March 16. The competition will be played in two pools of four teams.

The Fijians are playing in Pool A against top seeded team Malaysia, Oman and host Bangladesh. Fiji will play against Oman on March 4 and Bangladesh on March 5. Their last pool game will be against Malaysia on Tuesday, March 7.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  paulini.ratulailai@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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