Sunday, August 18, 2013

Malaysia Living the Dream...

 Malaysian assistant coach Arul Selvaraj gets an identical Living the Dream tattoo
 The late Chua Boon Huat tattooed his bicep with Living the Dream after the end of the World League in Johor Baru.

MALAYSIA have virtually made the grade for the Netherlands World Cup next year, but the even better news is that Paul Revington’s men are determined to win the Asia Cup starting in Ipoh on Saturday.
   The team is Living The Dream, the phrase that the late Chua Boon Huat tattooed on his left bicep after he helped Malaysia finish fifth in the Johor Baru World League.
   And with Argentina beating Canada 4-0 in the Pan American Cup in Toronto yesterday, the fourth placed team in Johor Baru, South Korea, also qualified for the World Cup as stipulated in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) qualification criteria.
   Argentina, who had qualified for the World Cup by finishing second in Johor Baru, aslo did a big favour to start the ball rolling as now it is the turn of Spain, who finished fifth in the World League in Netherlands, to qualify.
   And Spain have the easiest task, as in the ongoing Euro Championships; Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and England have qualified for the World Cup, and if any of the above win the title, or Spain wins it themselves, it will then be Malaysia’s turn.
    And if all goes to plan, as the big four in Europe are not expected to fail, Malaysia need not break sweat in the Asia Cup but qualify for the World Cup via the Oceania Championships -- where Australia and New Zealand play and it does not matter who becomes the champion -- Malaysia will be the winners.
    “By finishing fifth in the World League, we knew to a certain degree that we have a foot in the World Cup, and the vision is becoming clearer after Argentina won the Pan American Cup.
   “But that does not change our plans to win the Asia Cup in Ipoh (for the first time) and double qualify for the World Cup,” said team manager George Koshy.
   On Saturday in Group A of the Euro Championships, Spain hammered Czech Republic 6-1 while Belgium beat Germany 1-0. In Group B are England, Netherlands, Poland and Ireland.
    “Well Argentina (winning the Pan Am) is certainly good news, and barring an upset in the Euro Championships from the lower ranked teams, Spain should qualify for the World Cup. Hopefully all goes well and Malaysia’s fifth finish in the World League will be duly rewarded,” said Revington.
    And since the semi-finalists of the Euro Championships will be known a few days before the Asia Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia and South Korea might just be the two Asian teams who had made the grade on merit for the World Cup.
    Assistant coach Arul Selvaraj, who was among Boon Huat’s close circle of friends, on Friday (16-8-2013) at 3pm, also tattooed his left bicep with Living The Dream -- as Malaysia are almost certain to play in the World Cup after a hiatus of 12 years.

   The number 3 was Boon Huat's special...
   Teams which have qualified for the World Cup:
   From World League in Netherlands: Belgium, Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand
    From World League in Johor Baru: Germany, Argentina, England, South Korea.
    FIH first reserve: Spain; Second Reserve: Malaysia; Third Reserve: India.