Hong Kong confident of Asian Games spot

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 April, 2010, 12:00am

Hong Kong will be brimming with confidence as they try to book their berth at the Asian Games in Guangzhou in November.

With six places up for grabs, their chances have soared with a change in the format of the qualifying competition in Bangladesh next month.

Eight teams were split into two groups of four originally, but the withdrawal of Uzbekistan from the qualifiers resulted in the Asian Hockey Federation changing the format into a round-robin competition.

'This suits us perfectly. We were in a tough pool originally, alongside Bangladesh, who will be the biggest hurdle to winning the competition as they have a number of players who figure in the German league,' Billy Dillon, vice-president of the Hong Kong Hockey Association, said.

'From the seven teams, six will qualify for the Asian Games in November. We are quite confident of qualifying, but aim to win the tournament,' Dillon said.

Hong Kong's opening game in the May 7 to 16 tournament in Dhaka will be against Oman. The other teams in the tournament are Sri Lanka, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and hosts Bangladesh.

Akbar Ali will captain the 16-man squad, six of whom are drawn from Kowloon Cricket Club, including his younger brother, Arif Ali. A former coach of Canada and the United States, Shiv Jagday, has taken on the coaching duties on a short-term contract and will be at the helm for the qualifying campaign.