Field Hockey Canada’s Head Coach Paul Bundy didn’t dance around the issue yesterday at the FIH Hockey Series Finals’ official press conference about whether the team is ready to win the tournament this time.
Two days, prior their opener against Wales in Malaysia, Bundy said, that the current group can win the tournament, but it is also going to be tough.
The world’s 10th ranked teams’ main competition is against, host Malaysia (13th) and China (14th). The remaining five opponents are Austria’s 19th-ranked squad, Wales (24th), Brazil (27th), Belarus (31st) and Italy (32nd).
This tournament offers only two tickets for the best for the Olympic final qualifying campaign at the end of the year.
However, Bundy, whose men finished the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament in Ipoh in March in the fourth place, after losing to Malaysia said:
“For me it’s a tough tournament because all teams are very competitive, expect the unexpected. If we see our rivals in Group A – Wales and Austria are a good team, Belarus I have no idea,” Bundy said.
“In Group B, there is Malaysia which is the team that defeated us at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Then there is China, who are writing their own script. So, there are four or five great teams in this tournament and we will take one match at a time,” he said.
When questioned about Malaysia’s strength, Bundy said that Roelant Oltmans’s squad has the potential to advance to the finals, especially with the advantage of playing at home.
“Malaysia have matured and have a dangerous group of players, so they will be a tough opponent,” he said.
Action begins on 26th April 2019, at the Bukit Jalil National Hockey Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, where Canada takes on Wales at 16:00 Hours Malaysian time.