Hockey: Singapore coach Casoojee upbeat despite losing 5-0 to Malaysian Under-20s

Singapore's Mens hockey team will play a friendly match against neighbors Malaysia's team as they prepare for the upcoming SEA Games. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN  
Singapore's Mens hockey team will play a friendly match against neighbors Malaysia's team as they prepare for the upcoming SEA Games. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN  

FOR the third time in as many games, the Singapore men's hockey team failed to unlock a younger Malaysian Under-20 side, going down 0-5 in a pre-SEA Games friendly at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium yesterday.

The Republic had lost to the visitors 1-2 and 0-7 on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Aminnudin (two goals), Muhd Husaini, Danial Ashraf and Syed Syafiq contributed the goals last night in the third game of a five-game series. It did not help that  the hosts played with nine men for at least 15 minutes in the second half. 

The match was a wake-up call for the Singapore team, who will face the Malaysians again in next month's SEA Games, as well as the likes of Thailand and Myanmar.

 But, despite three consecutive defeats, Singapore coach Solomon Casoojee remains optimistic as his charges continue their build-up to the June 5-16 Games on home ground.

 He said: "This has been the team's most positive performance yet and I haven't seen the players play with such intensity. We started strongly right from the start and managed to match Malaysia in terms of discipline and intensity to keep the score at 2-0 after half-time.

 "Now we have to be consistent in our game play and be clinical with our chances in the game."

Midfielder Ashriq Firdaus, 22, added: "We were more aggressive today and kept our structure well after conceding goals in the first five minutes in the previous game.

 "We will work towards being mentally focused and make simpler decisions when we're tired. These are battles that we can learn from but we have to make it count in the final war during the SEA Games."

ljeremy@sph.com.sg