Indonesia aim for respectable scoreline against Malaysia in Asiad hockey

HANGZHOU: The Indonesian Men’s Hockey Squad will go into their match against Malaysia in the Asian Games here tomorrow well aware that they are no match for their higher ranked opponents.

Their head coach, Muhammad Dharma Raj Abdullah (pix), is already predicting a Malaysia victory, fresh after the Speedy Tigers recorded 9-0 and 11-1 wins over Thailand and Oman respectively in their first two Group B matches.

“This is not Malaysia against Indonesia in an indoor hockey match, we are talking about their senior field hockey team here. It’s a case of how many they can score against us.

“They (Malaysia) will score as many goals as possible as they would want to have a better goal difference than South Korea. Both teams will be trying to avoid India in the semifinals,” the 53-year-old Malaysian told Bernama here today.

The action will take place at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Stadium.

Muhammad Dharma, better known as Dharma Raj, said Indonesia’s participation in this Games edition is to prepare them to be a more competitive team by 2025, with their coaches working hard to ensure the squad gain as much experience as possible in the company of Asia’s finest hockey teams.

He has also included five indoor hockey players in the squad for exposure.

“We will be focusing more on how to keep our defence tight and not concede too many. This is their chance to learn something from playing against teams from a higher level,” he said, while adding that their goal is to complete their Asiad campaign higher placed than fellow regional rivals Singapore and Thailand.

Indonesia suffered a 0-10 defeat to South Korea and lost 1-5 to China in their first two group matches.

Muhammad Dharma was instrumental in guiding the Indonesian men’s indoor hockey squad to a historic gold medal at the 2023 Cambodian Sea Games in May after an upset win over favourites Malaysia in the final. –Bernama