Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More than gold at stake for our boys

PETALING JAYA: Reaching the final in the sepak takraw inter-regu competition is almost a sure thing but hoping to end the SEA Games gold medal drought is not.

Coach Jamaluddin Hassan knows that making the final should be easy given the favourable draw but he is still wary of minnows like Laos, Singapore and Vietnam in Group B. Defending champions Thailand have Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei for company in Group A.

“We have to be careful not to make unnecessary mistakes in matches and take countries other than Thailand for granted,” said Jamaluddin.

“The draw seems to favour us to ease into the final but we must concentrate on the group stages first.”
Malaysia last won the SEA Games gold medal at the 2005 Manila Games when they beat traditional rivals Thailand in the final. Since then the Thais have come out tops at the 2007 (Korat) and 2009 (Laos) Games.
“Winning the gold medal is more about restoring our pride in the sepak takraw fraternity.

“If we manage to win this time, the sport will become popular again and we will be able hold our heads high again,” said Jamaladdin.

Based on recent form, it will be an uphill task for Malaysia to end Thailand’s stranglehold as they lost 0-3 to their nemesis in the final of the World Cup in July.

Malaysia engaged Thai sepak takraw coaches Prawet Intar and Taweet Wongkaen in April but still could not beat the Thais at the World Cup.

The sepak takraw competition will be held at the Jakabaring Sports Complex in Palembang from Nov 11-24.


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