By Aftar Singh
GLASGOW: Are the national hockey team going the way of the national football team?
On Tuesday, the men’s hockey team went down to a shocking 4-2 loss to Trinidad and Tobago in a Group B match of the Commonwealth Games at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.
It was the most embarrassing defeat for Malaysia in the history of the sport. Malaysia are ranked 13th in the world while Trinidad are ranked 29th.
The signs have been there, though.
The team went to the World Cup in The Hague, Holland, last month and came back with their tails between their legs – finishing last in the 12-team field and failing to win any of the six matches.
Here, at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, they began promisingly – beating Canada 2-0 in their opening group match.
After that, it has been downhill all the way – getting hammered 8-1 by England and then the shocking disgraceful capitulation against the Trinidadians.
National coach K. Dharmaraj and the players must take the blame for bringing shame to the country.
Trinidad, who hardly compete in any tournaments, stunned Dharmaraj’s team by going 3-0 up after just 16 minutes.
Mickell Pierre gave the Caribbean team the lead in the eighth minute before Kwadwane Browne scored two penalty corner goals in the 12th and 16th minutes.
Although Norhizzat Sumantri narrowed the deficit with a field goal in the 25nd minute, Browne was on target again for his hat-trick 10 minutes later through yet another penalty corner goal.
Malaysia reduced the deficit through Mohd Ramadan Rosli in the 70th minute.
Trinidad coach Francis Glenn said that it felt great to beat a strong team like Malaysia.
“Ours is a small country and we are happy to win our first-ever hockey match in four appearances in the Games. We are preparing the team for the Olympics and this win over Malaysia has boosted our confidence,” said Glenn.
Trinidad skipper Cowie Darren acknowledged that “we hardly get to play against world-class teams”.
“We came into the Glasgow Games to gain experience for next year’s Pan American Games … so it’s a huge boost for us to win our first-ever match in the Commonwealth Games,” said Darren.
The humiliation may not be over yet for Malaysia. They still have to face New Zealand on Thursday.