Arul: Every match is a final at the Asian Games

KUALA LUMPUR: National men's hockey coach A. Arul Selvaraj wants his men to approach every match at the Asian Games as if it were a final.

Arul does not want his men to take their lowly opponents lightly in Group B.

World No. 12 South Korea, China, Oman, Thailand and Indonesia are the other teams in the group.

World No. 10 Malaysia will open their campaign against 54th-ranked Thailand on Sunday.

The Speedy Tigers will then take on Oman on Sept 26, followed by matches against Indonesia (Sept 28), South Korea (Sept 30) and China (Oct 2).

"Our approach is to treat every match like a final. While the first three games may appear easy on paper, we cannot afford to let our guards down.

"Mental preparation and a commitment to winning are crucial. We'll aim to secure an early advantage with one, two, or even three goals, but we won't fixate on a specific goal target in each match.

"Our focus will be on playing with structure and discipline, trusting that scoring opportunities will present themselves.

"The significance of our opening three games cannot be overstated; they are essential for preparing us to face South Korea and China," said Arul.

Arul's team hope to clinch the Asian Games title for the first time, which would secure their ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

World No. 3 India, Pakistan, Japan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, and Singapore are the teams in Group A.

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