A Sultan, a prince and a former Selangor top cop were at hand at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil to give moral support to the team which will be playing at the Dublin Olympics Qualifier on March 10-18.
Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) president Sultan Azlan Shah, Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, and AHF secretary Tan Sri P. Alagendra watched the team train before 18 players were named for the Qualifier.
The only surprise was the inclusion of youngsters Izzat Rahim, 22-years-old with eight caps, and 22-year-old Fitri Saari who only has two caps.
Fitri will be playing alongside his established brother Faizal for the first time in a tournament.
Coach Tai Beng Hai decided on 16 players from the Asian Games silver medal winning side, and included the two youngsters.
Azlan Shah was the first to advise the players: "I have been watching the team closely and frommy observation, Malaysia have been very vulnarable in the first and last five minutes of previous matches.
"A good example is the Champions Challenge I where we were leading India 4-2, but collapsed in the last five minutes to let India equalsie and then win the match 5-4 on sudden death.
"This must be avoided at all cost in Dublin if we harbour hopes of doing well," said the former Malaysian Hockey Federation president.
Beng Hai said he has selected the best and even the two new blood are ready for action.
"I have selected the best and the two players were included to cover some of the regulars who are slightly injured. However, the two alsoproved themselves during the tours and friendlies and should be able to give their best," said Beng Hai.
Malaysia open acounts against Chile on March 10, followed by Russia the next day. And then it is Ukraine on March 13, followed by a rest day before playing South Korea on March 15.
Hosts Ireland are last in the fixtures on March 17, and the top two teams advance to the finals. Only one ticket is on offer for the London Olympics.
"The stakes are high and we have done our best to prepare the players. Now, they must give their best and hopefully, we will win the gold medal and Qualify for the Olympics," said tengku Abdullah.
MALAYSIA: Roslan Jamaluddin (gk), S. Kumar (gk), Izzat Rahim, Amin Rahim, Marhan Jalil, Fitri Saari, Izwan Firdaus, Madzli Ikmar, Faizal Saari, Shahrun Nabil, Shukri Mutalib, Azlan Misron, Nabil Fiqri, Razie Rahim (skipper), Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi, Baljit Singh, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Azreen Rizal.