Wednesday, September 20th, 2017


Published on January 29, 2016 by   ·   No Comments

KUALA LUMPUR : Head coach of the Malaysian sepak takraw team, Abdul Talib Ahmad does not want to pressure his players as they are in the final phase of training heading into their first major tournament of 2016.

Abdul Talib is expected to call up squads of different players in each round of this year’s ISTAF SuperSeries, which consist of various combinations of key players, reserves and some new faces as he intends to expose his players to a more competitive and dynamic playing environment.

Thus, he wants his players to mentally prepare themselves in order to handle the pressure of playing in an international tournament, the ISTAF SuperSeries.

“We want to use the SuperSeries as a way of exposing our players to this kind of high stake matches. There is a different vibe to playing in an international tournament compared to playing in the local tournaments,” said Abdul Talib.

“I want the players to get used to the atmosphere of international competitions and show mental strength to handle the pressure, as it will prepare them for the SEA Games in 2017 as well,” added Abdul Talib.

Currently, nearly 40 players are involved in the national team training held in Bukit Jalil and Abdul Talib said he will liaise with the National Sports Institute on the need to engage psychologists to help with preparations in that respect.

When asked about the squad he will be taking to Bangkok in March, Abdul Talib said, ” I still have not finalized the list but I already have in mind which players I will be calling up for that trip.”

Abdul Talib added that he cannot reveal their names because he would still need to assess them properly. As he can only list 5 players, he will bring a mixture of main players and reserves. The 45-year-old said he would only announce the final list of players in mid-February, two weeks before the ISTAF SuperSeries Bangkok starts.

However he will have to make do without the services of key players Farhan Adam and Hanafiah Dollah who will be getting married. Both players were in the side that won both the ISTAF SuperSeries Malaysia 2014/2015 in Malacca and the SEA Games gold medal in Singapore last year.

Despite that, the current pool of players at Abdul Talib’s disposal are not short of talent nor skill as he still has national custodians, Amirul Zazwan, Nazmi Najib, Zamree Dahan and Khairol Zaman Hamir Akhbar who will be entrusted in guiding the younger players.

Abdul Talib confirmed that he had not set any specific targets in this year’s ISTAF SuperSeries, but believes that the national squad have the necessary quality to advance to the final or at least be in the top four in each round of this year’s ISTAF SuperSeries.

“Thailand is still the team to beat, so we can assume that we are second only to them. However, we should not be arrogant or overconfident as teams like the Philippines and Korea are rapidly improving. So the semi-finals or final I think is a realistic target,” he added.

Released by Shekhinah PR on behalf of Asia Sports Ventures.

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Christopher Raj



Vincent Wong


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