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Fiji Time: 8:44 AM on Saturday 19 April

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Hockey exposure

Arin Kumar
Thursday, January 03, 2013

THE national men's hockey coach Hector Smith believes Round 2 of the FIH (International Hockey Federation) World League is a good opportunity for Fiji to gain much needed international exposure.

Both the men's and women's national sides will compete in the event that will be held in India next month.

The men's side, ranked 71st in the world, is pooled with hosts India (11th), China (18th), Ireland (15th), Bangladesh (40th) and Azerbaijan (38th) while the women's side ranked 59th in the world, has been pooled with Japan (9th), India (12th), Russia (20th), Malaysia (22nd) and Kazakhstan (33rd).

Smith said Fiji had never played any of their opponents before and might never get another chance to do so.

He said the rankings of their opponents may look daunting but the match against them could be a different story.

"We just need to prepare well and play to the best of our abilities against them," the former national rep said.

"We need to tighten up our defence, improve man to man marking and take them head on," he said.

"We are taking a realistic approach, so we may have very little chances of beating them but at least we will gain experience."

Smith played for the national side against nations such as Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada and he said facing their opponents in the World League would require the best effort from his players.

"We need them to be committed in the training and to attend all the training sessions.

"Excuses are very prevalent but we need that to be a thing of the past and the players need to put in their 100 per cent effort in preparations," he said.

The World league will be held from February 18 to 24 in New Delhi.