SARAWAK'S fluid passing and teamwork paved the way for a 4-0 win over Brunei in the final of the women's hockey competition of the 3rd Borneo Games yesterday.
Overall champions after beating Sabah 5-2 on Wednesday, it is now a hat-trick of titles for Sarawak after capturing the inaugural Games in Sabah in 2005 and in Sarawak in 2007.
Forced to defend for most of the 70 minutes at the National Hockey Stadium at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex, the Bruneians hardly threatened and trailed 2-0 at the half-time break.
They might have been second best but Brunei's gusty performance impressed Sarawak's coach.
"We had 17 penalty corners and we only scored on one, so that is a new record for us, "said Siva Subramaniam.
"I think they defended very well and their coach has done a good job. They were once nowhere but now you can see they are going up very well. Our aim was always to win the competition and we expected a tough fight from Brunei and Sabah, which we got. But the standard of this year's competition is a bit lower than two years ago," said the coach.
Sarawak had three Malaysian national players within its ranks, one of them Fazilla Sylvester Silin who controlled the team's tempo. Distributing the ball well, she was the creative spark for many of Sarawak's attacks.
The visitors found their first goal in the ninth minute through Tuahkati Thadeus who dribbled inside the scoring area and unleashed a powerful shot. It was 2-0 in the 22nd minute when Tuahkati scored her second, with Brunei remaining on the back foot until the half-time whistle.
Despite the defeat, the Brunei head coach Zulkiflee Zainal was upbeat about the result. "I think we defended very well and the players all followed instructions. For me, the score does not matter. We can see we have improved a lot at this level (Borneo Games) and we have to work for the future."
Looking forward to today's final match in the men's division where Brunei plays Sabah, Zulkiflee is confident his team can bounce back from their 4-2 loss to Sarawak on Monday.
Sabah's 2-2 draw with Sarawak on Wednesday means that Brunei must win today's match if they want to finish second.
"I think we have an even chance of winning silver, but there is no choice, we have to beat Sabah," insisted Zulkiflee. "We are not looking lightly on Sabah and I feel that the team which has the least mistakes and can control their mental game will win."
The match is set at 4:00pm.
Courtesy from Brunei Times