M'sian water polo coach tells S'pore to expect tougher fight in 2017 SEA Games
Malaysian water polo head coach says they will work hard to be ready for 2017
His men were soundly defeated by Singapore's powerful water polo team in a round-robin encounter at the SEA Games yesterday, but Malaysia's head coach Fan Kow Jan is confident they will put up a better challenge come 2017, when the biennial event moves to Kuala Lumpur.
The 64-year-old believes the sport will receive a boost from Malaysia's national sports council and swimming association to prepare for the 2017 Games, and provide the Singapore water polo machine a tough fight.
Speaking to The New Paper after Malaysia's women's team were beaten 21-3 by Singapore at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday, Fan said: "Their performance at this SEA Games is for me to judge where we stand, and decide what to do next.
"Our players are still young, which is an advantage. We'll try our best to form a good team for 2017, and I know our association will definitely help us."
Women's captain Yap Yee Chuin agreed, saying they would benefit from more exposure through overseas training trips.
Attributing a large part of yesterday's loss to inexperience and a lack of exposure, the 31-year-old said: "Training internally in Malaysia alone is not enough.
"Coming to the SEA Games has been good exposure for all of us, and we are very grateful to our swimming association for giving us this opportunity."
Women's water polo made its first appearance in 2011 in Palembang, but did not feature at the last Games in Myanmar.
Yap, a unit manager in the banking industry, is eager for the sport to be included in the 2017 edition.
"We're very excited for the SEA Games to be held in Malaysia, and we want to see women's water polo in the programme," she said. "It will still be very difficult to beat Singapore, but we will at least cut down the difference in scores."
Malaysia's men beat the Philippines 10-4 yesterday, but had suffered a 19-4 defeat by the hosts on Wednesday.
Vowing that both men's and women's squads would put up a stronger showing at the next Games, Fan, who has been Malaysia's head coach for six years, said: "We'll try to retain as many players from this squad as possible, and also try to get some new blood.
"We will definitely be stronger than we are here, and we hope to do well because the Games will be held in our home country."