PIC: Azlan Shah Cup organising secretary M. Selvakumaran.
KUALA LUMPUR: World No 21 Poland politely accepted an 11th hour invitation to compete in the 28th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on March 23-30.
This came about after South Africa, No 16, withdrew due to financial reasons.
The tournament will see hosts Malaysia (13th), battle for their maiden title since 1983 with India (5th), Canada (10th), South Korea (17th), and Asian Games champions Japan (18th).
Azlan Shah Cup organising secretary M. Selvakumaran thanked Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) CEO Datuk Tayyab Ikram for his help.
"Poland accepted our invitation to play even though the tournament is just around the corner and we are very grateful to them.
"This inclusion was made possible with help from AHF CEO Datuk Tayyab," said Selvakumaran.
Malaysia has only seen silver since the inception of the tournament, but with regulars Australia, New Zealand, England and Argentina missing due to their FIH Pro-League engagements, this is coach Roelant Oltman's best hour to guide his side to the top of the podium.