KUCHING: The Australian national Under 21 team’s visit to Sarawak revealed the promising potential of the Sarawak Sukma girls shadow team.
With only four days of training, they put up an encouraging show before going down 1-3 to the well prepared and physically stronger Australians at the Sarawak Hockey Stadium here over the weekend.
The result even surprised the Australian team manager who found out the background of the Sarawak girls from Sarawak chief coach C. Sivasubramaniam.
The same Australian side thrashed Sabah Sukma squad 52 despite the Sarawak neighbours being more prepared as they have a sports school where the players train every day.
Only two of the Sukma girls were over 20 years old while the Australians are more experienced and more mature in age. And some of the Sarawak girls had just been called up from their respective schools in Miri, Betong, Mukah, Sri Aman, Samarahan, Serian and Kuching.
Coach Sivasubramaniam was full of praise for the Sarawak players who were not even a settled side and paid tribute to coach S. Sri Sakrunathan who is in charge of the girls and assisted by the boys coach Dangerouslee Matthew.
“I thought it would be a heavy bashing for the girls as they had just come in with only four days of proper training,” said Siva.
Australian girls good tactically, technically
The Australian girls were good tactically and technically but our girls were able to catch up within the short time. In fact they put up a good fight in the first half.
“The first goal scored by Sarawak — a deflected goal — was a beautiful corner with good execution by a three-player act.
“Full credit to coach Murthi (Sri Sakrunathan) while Dangerouslee the assistant coach for a good job to work on the players within a short time.
“Dangerous also chipped in to help as he was in fact in charge of the boys while the boys did not play as Sarawak are not sending a boys team to Sukma in Johor.
“I talk to the Australian team manager for the girls and he said he was surprised as the Sarawak girls put up a good fight when compared to the Sabah players who had a sports school to train everyday.
“The Australian team manager was also impressed with our number 10 who was the Sarawak top striker Suhaila Sata who scored the goal in the 3-1 defeat off a penalty short corner,” he said.