WORLD League fifth reserves Malaysia will miss the Olympics yet again, when Brazil upset Unites States in the quarter-finals of the Pan American Cup.
Olympic hosts Brazil were set a target of finishing top-six in the Pan Am by the International Olympic Council (IOC) and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) -- and they held US 1-1 in regulation and beat them 3-1 in shoot-out to qualify.
After the completion of the World League Semi-finals in Argentina and Belgium, the FIH had announced Canada as first reserves, followed by Spain, Ireland, New Zealand and Malaysia.
The reserves would qualify based on double qualifications in Continental tournaments as well as if the hosts failed to finish top six, with a higher ranked team taking the first bite.
Eight teams have already qualified for the Olympics, and this leaves only four more and fifth reserves Malaysia are out of the running.
Teams which had already qualified are Asian Games Champions India, Brazil, and six World League teams in Germany, Netherlands, Argentina, Australia, Belgium and Britain.
The four reserves would know their fate based on double qualifications in the Pan Am, the European Championships, and Oceania Cup.
Even fourth reserves New Zealand are in a limbo, as their door only opens up if South Africa win the Africa Cup. This is because the South Africa Olympic Council had said that even if they win, they will not send a team to the Olympics because they did not qualify for the World League Semifinals.
National Sports Institute director general Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz summed it up when he said: "In any sports, the athlete or team must desire victory more than those who support them. So we need to embed the culture of seizing the opportunity by being in control and dictating matters."
Malaysia lost control when they went crashing 3-2 to India in the quarterfinals stage in Belgium.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have already started looking for a foreign coach to prepare Malaysia for the 2020 Olympics, and president Datuk Sri Subahan Kamal had said before departing for Belgium: "To be fair, we just inherited this team and have given them all the support to give their best in the World League. But in the same breath, we are already looking and working towards the 2020 Olympics."
For the record, Malaysia last played at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.