Saturday, July 11, 2009


There was much pressure on the Malaysian team before the Champions Challenge II in Dublin. And they succumbed to the pressure put on them by the Malaysian Hockey Federation by going down 2-1 to Ireland in the semi final last night.

While the Malaysian camp will be ruing an opportunity lost, as Malaysia has not won a note worthy international tournament since it started participating, one Malaysian will be rejoicing, though with a tinge of sadness.

Arul Antoni Selvaraj could well have added another sad chapter for Malaysian hockey as he helped his Irish team inflict a demoralising defeat on the Malaysian team that were targetted to win the tournament.

But Arul was honest enough to admit that though Ireland had won, personally it was a sad day for him.

"It was mixed feeling, feeling great for myself but sad for my Malaysian friends and particularly Malaysian Hockey," said Arul via email to this blogger.

"My target as I left Malaysia in March 2005 was to learn as much hockey knowledge and expose to a different hockey culture, to win medals and to be back home after 5 years.

"As for Malaysia they are technically they are very good, have super pace and great age group mixtures. But I think they lack on field leaders and the players are not playing to their maximum individual strength."

What Arul says makes sense but will anyone act on it? But the damage is immense, not because we did not win the tournament, but because of the fact that failing to make the final and winning it has put a big dent on the aspirations and hopes of the MHF President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah who wanted Malaysia to be ranked in the top 12 by next year.

That sadly Your Royal Highness will not happen as we failed to gain promotion into the next eight bracket, that is the Champions Challenge I. Failure if not addressed correctly will lead to a steady decline.

Ireland scored goal in 4th minute and Malaysia equalised in the 20th minute through Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin. Ireland went 2-1 ahead eight minutes from time.

Ireland will take on Poland who defeated France 3-1, coming from a goal down to clinch their place in the final.

A bit of info about Poland first though, they maybe ranked low but as so far as Indoor Hockey is concerned they are number two in Europe. They have only two towns playing hockey, Poznan and Siemianowice Slaskie.

In terms of competitions, Poland has two men senior leagues - 10 teams in first, 7 in second. In women competition there are 5 teams only. Food for thought MHF?

Japan and Russia will square off for the 5th-6th placing tomorrow after defeating Austria and Chile respectively. Japan won 4-2 while Russia won 2-1.