Malaysian hockey women floor Japan
Women's hockey team stun Japan as coach Dharmaraj looks to the future
"We're coming after you," he said, repeating it three times after the game.
K Dharmaraj was all smiles when he spoke to the media after Malaysia defeated Japan 2-0 to collect their first points in the 4th Women's Asian Championships Trophy yesterday at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium.
All of a sudden, the Malaysians have a chance of making the top four in the five-nation tournament, after a shock win in their final group match over one of the tournament favourites.
The Japanese wasted a number of opportunities and the Malaysians' short-passing game eventually tired them out.
Dharmaraj, who started coaching the team only nine months ago, admitted they entered the match with no expectations.
But, he added: "The girls always have a fear playing against better opponents like Japan, but today the mood was very different - their fear was not there."
The opening two quarters ended in a stalemate even if Japan were on the front foot, but in the third period, Malaysia struck from a short-corner opportunity and turned the game around.
Less than two minutes after scoring the first goal, the Malaysian girls were in ecstasy when they extended their lead off a goalmouth scramble, and held on for victory against the developmental Japanese side.
Coach Dharmaraj revealed that Malaysia have two groups of players totalling 45 women.
Team A are back home working towards the South-east Asia (SEA) Games on home soil next year, while Team B are here.
Malaysia's Team B are focused on the 2017 Women's Hockey World League Round 2, scheduled from Jan 14 to 22 in Kuala Lumpur, with the long-term aim of qualifying for the 2018 Women's Hockey World Cup in London.
With players like Fatin Sukri and Norazlin Sumantri, aged 21 and 23, respectively, and a handful of veterans, Dharmaraj's outfit are a mix of youth and experience.
Said Dharmaraj: "These players today, their priority is to get us to the World Cup in 2018.
"We have another group of girls back home and they are training for the SEA Games next year.
"All these years, we've prepared for only the SEA Games, but now we are preparing for the World League 2, the semis that follow later next year and the World Cup.
"We're aiming for more this time.
"After today, we're here to tell everyone our Malaysian women's team are no longer a group of weeping girls - we are coming for you, to win."
In the second game last night, China were in dominant form and posted a 2-0 win over South Korea.
With one more round of group fixtures to go tomorrow, the win saw China leapfrog the Koreans into second place with six points.
India lead the standings with seven points and the Koreans are now second from bottom, ahead of Malaysia only on goal difference.
(All at Sengkang Hockey Stadium)
- Japan v South Korea, 5pm
- China v India, 7pm