KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 (Bernama) -- Whatever issues faced by the hockey fraternity, preparations for the men's Hockey Asia Cup 2013 in Ipoh, Perak from Aug 24 to Sept 1, must be given priority said Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
"Our focus now is the Hockey Asia Cup because we have to qualify for the World Cup," said Khairy when met at the Barisan Nasional Youth Job Carnival at Menara Dato' Onn, here, today.
The Hockey Asia Cup is a platform for all teams to try and earn a ticket to the World Cup in The Hague, Holland from May 31 to June 15, 2014.
According to Khairy, preparations must still go on even if head coach Paul Revington decides to quit as announced by him earlier.
Revington had dropped a bombshell on June 15, when he quit the team in a huff, citing â€˜outside interferenceâ€™ in his job â€" just days after naming his squad to Johor Baharu for the World Hockey League Semifinals.
SPORTS-HOCKEY (KHAIRY) 2 (LAST) KUALA LUMPUR
He later withdrew his resignation and decided to stay on until the World Hockey League which started on June 29, after a meeting with Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and later with Khairy.
Malaysia finished fifth in the World Hockey League semifinals after beating Japan 4-3 on penalties.
"I hope the MHC will be prepared for the Asia Cup. Thus far I was made to understand that Revington has not decided to extend his contract. If he sticks to his decision to not continue, we cannot do anything.
"We have also asked Arul (Arul Selvaraj) to take over as the coach since Arul knows the players well and the way Revington trained them," he said.
In the Hockey Asia Cup 2013, Malaysia are drawn in Group A with Pakistan, Japan and China while Group B comprise defending champion South Korea, India, Oman and Bangladesh.
Malaysia's best placing in the cup competition was a third place finish in Chennai, India back in 2007, after beating Japan 5-3.
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