THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) yesterday feted their juniors to a gala dinner, and rewarded each player and official with RM12,500 cash for becoming champions in the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca.
Malaysia not only beat Pakistan 2-1 for the gold medal but also qualified for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in November, 2013.
"This is the first time such a dinner is held to celebrate everyone's efforts to realising this golden dream, and not only the players but also their parents were invited.
"I would like to say a special 'Thank You' to coach K. Dharmaraj and his coaching staff as well as team manager Mirnawan Nawawi and National Sports Council support staff who made this possible," said MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
But realistically speaking, Tengku Abdullah reminded everybody: "We have 18 months to the World Cup, so we need to prepare from now. Our mission is only half completed.
"I would like to introduce a report card to make sure that we do well in the World Cup as well. From tomorrow, we need to take care of the boys' physical fitness, as it was lacking during the India and Pakistan matches.
"My advice to the players is to keep away from anything that will derail their concentration, and keep steady towards achieving a good result in New Delhi," said Tengku Abdullah.
As for the future of hockey in the country, Tengku Abdullah said ongoing programmes like 1Mas would be intensified.
"And with help from parents, more efforts will be placed on Under-12 players.
" Also, the national league will be revamped to make the grassroot stronger," added Tengku Abdullah. By Jugjet Singh