Boys pay for cock-up

Boys pay for cock-up
Hockey team doesn't perform up to standards
The team have implemented stricter targets and adopted a number of rules, before the men travel to play Asia's sixth-ranked side, Oman - on May 17 and 18 - in a bid to prove to the SNOC that they are worthy of a ticket to Incheon in September.

A line has been drawn in the sand.

They did not perform up to their own standards at the Asian Games hockey qualifiers in Bangladesh last month and, while the men's national team may have qualified for the 2014 Asian Games by finishing fourth at the tournament, they did not pass muster with the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), who did not include them in the final list for the continent's biggest sports competition.

After analysing what went on in Bangladesh, Solomon Casoojee's charges have taken responsibility for their performance and want to set things right.

The team have implemented stricter targets and adopted a number of rules, before the men travel to play Asia's sixth-ranked side, Oman - on May 17 and 18 - in a bid to prove to the SNOC that they are worthy of a ticket to Incheon in September.

And the players will foot most of the expenses for the trip themselves.

"With my hand on my heart, I can't say that we've delivered 100 per cent. We've cost ourselves by being unfit and sloppy without many valid reasons," Casoojee told The New Paper.

"This (move) is us saying we can be better, raising the bar and asking more of ourselves, and being held accountable."

Casoojee will pay $8,000 out of his own pocket, with $14,000 coming from Singapore's 19-man squad, and $4,000 from the Singapore Hockey Federation (SHF).

"The team must take ownership of their performances, and put our money where our mouth is," added the South African.

The players are eager to become better. They have set attendance targets for both gym sessions (90 per cent) and field work (85 per cent), as well as monthly fitness benchmarks from the Beep Test, starting from 13.5 through to a lofty target of 15.

Before using the 2.4km run as their mandatory fitness test, Singapore's only professional sports league - football's S.League - set a passing mark of 13.1.

Casoojee has put in place a system where players can get a refund over the amount they spent for the Oman trip based on their hitting targets and performances.

"But if they don't meet minimum attendance targets, they're out," he said.

"It was a decision reached after going through a process where we've realised that the softly-softly approach needed to be changed."

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