TTO SENIOR men’s hockey team will play for a semi-final spot when they tackle Malaysia in the quarter-final of the FIH Hockey5s World Cup in Muscat, Oman.

“It feels good for us to top the group,” said head coach Darren Cowie. “Again the results usually come when we have good performances. But we kind of had a slow start today. Kudos to the guys for really picking it up and sticking together and communicating to get that energy up”.

TTO topped Pool C with a record of two wins and one draw, including a 5-5 result in their opening game against Australia; an emphatic 7-2 win over Kenya on Sunday; and an equally impressive 11-4 triumph over New Zealand, yesterday. They now tackle Malaysia today from 3.30 a.m. (T&T time).

“So group stage is over. That is just the first half of the tournament. So now we look forward to practically a whole new tournament here. It is about making sure we keep that focus and build on the positive things that we did through the group stage…as we move forward against Malaysia,” said Cowie.

“But at the same time, just keeping in mind we have to take it one game at a time. I think the guys are up to the task and they have been extremely positive with their whole approach. We have been happy about that.”

Captain Akim Toussaint said his team is focused on this next stage. “A nice, solid victory by us today (yesterday). “It was quite a slow start but at least we got the legs going about two minutes in and got the victory in the end,” said Toussaint. “(We are) looking forward to that game, we are going to analyse Malaysia to see exactly how they play and see how we can adjust the way we play to suit them, so it could come out our favour.”

Top TTO player Teague Marcano is the tournament’s joint-leading goal scorer, netting an impressive total of 11 goals, comprising nine field goals and two Challenge goals after Pool Play. Marcano shares the position with Waheed Ranna from Pakistan.

Having finished second at the inaugural Pan American Hockey5s Pan Am Cup last year, Trinidad and Tobago faced a formidable challenge in what was considered the toughest group, featuring powerhouse nations Australia and New Zealand.

Despite the tough competition, Team TTO emerged as the only team from the Pan American region to qualify for the next stage.

In a surprising turn of events, Pan Am Cup champions the USA, suffered a setback with a 6-4 loss to hosts Oman, leaving them out of the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Jamaica, the third team from the region to qualify, ended at the bottom of Pool B after losses to Egypt, India, and Switzerland.

Malaysia finished second in Pool B with a similar record to Team TTO (one draw and two wins).