KUCHING: The Sarawak women’s hockey will likely change their tactics of preparation for the Sukma held in Johor from July 11-19 to increase their chances and change their perennial failure to get to the semifinals in the last few Sukma Games.
There are plans for base training in Klang, Selangor in early March to enable the players to play quality matches and also play friendly matches in Penang and Johor, the venue for the Sukma competitions.
All this depends on the Sarawak Sports Corporation’s approval to help finance the trip as it is a viable step in getting the Sarawak players who lack experience and the competitive edge compared to their Malayan and Sabah rivals.
“This Sukma, there is a difference as we plan to base their bulk of training in Malaya where they will be exposed to quality training and competitive matches to make them more matured and well prepared for Sukma.
“The Sukma selection team had played in the Suksar Games and the Triangular Friendly in January where three teams such as the visiting Australian Under 21, ex-Sukma players and the Sukma players took part.
“The Sukma girls performed well against the physically bigger Australian players where they were given plenty of experience in the match and they are looking forward to play more matches as they have the potential to take it up a notch” said coach of the Sarawak Sukma women’s team S. Sri Sakrunathan.
He said the team have 10 players who played in the last Sukma with Suhaila Sata as one of the key players as she was the main scorer and played in midfield.
Apart from her, the team will rely on Elizabeth Epui who hailed from SMK Sapuh in Bintulu, but has moved to SMK Paku. She had been to two Sukmas in 2016 and 2018.
Among her credentials were her inclusion in the national junior training squad and, according to Sakrunathan, she was supposed to play for PDRM who offered her to play in the national league but she had to turn it down.
“She had left school so she is a more established player as she had also played for the Asia qualifier after the national selectors saw her performance.
Apart from these girls, the Sukma squad have one player recalled from the Sabah Sports school in Claudia Chindun, 14, who has experience playing in the national under 14 and under 18 competitions and also played for the Selangor MSN team in the junior league.
The Sarawak Sukma team underwent an open selection on July 13 last year where 40 were selected in the first selection out of 60 players.
Those shortlisted played in the Suksar for their respective zones last December while selection for centralised training was held on Jan 3 and immediately tested their pedigree against the Australian youth team.